Yoga for Depression
Depression roots from your mind and though patterns, with a result of negative thinking. Negative thinking puts us under constant stress, tension, sadness, discouragement and puts us in a bad mood. Being depressed for too long can cause loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, sleep disturbances and thought of death or suicide. This can affect the people around you and the quality of your life.
Adding yoga into your life can bring true balance within yourself that will combat depression. Yoga postures put pressure on hormonal glands and organs. This helps them to produce the healing and soothing chemical balance that is needed to feel happy and full of life. Yoga exercises improve circulation throughout the body, sending fresh oxygen to your brain and all your muscles.
This is important, especially for people who are inactive. The movements in yoga flush toxins from the body as well, through stretching and strengthening.
Depression can happen gradually, as breathing patterns change. This can be from a combination of life changing events, such as: a new job, a change of residence, stress, age, illness or a loss of a loved one.
The invigorating breathing techniques of Yoga bring large amounts of fresh oxygen to the brain and to other parts of the body. Like a breath of fresh air, it blows through the system and brings new light and strength to the unused parts of the body and mind where depression hides.
Brain scans were taken from yoga practitioners, and from non-practitioners to compare after an hour of yoga practice. The study revealed that the practitioners who took a one hour yoga class showed a healthy boost in levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) immediately after. This was compared to the non-practitioners who didn't attend the class.
Having low brain levels of GABA are associated with anxiety and depression, according to the study.
Taking St. John's Wort can help relieve mild symptoms of depression by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Lavender is another option that has wonderful relaxing and calming effects, which can be taken as a tea.
Yoga is definitely on the horizon to lift up your spirits emotionally, physically and mentally.
Here are 3 Yoga postures to combat depression:
This pose contracts the muscles at the front of the neck, with gentle pressure on the chin on chest, which regulated the thyroid gland. An under active thyroid gland can be linked with depression. This gland can also become overactive, and symptoms of this can be sweating, shaking and anxiety. Shoulder Stand also stimulates the digestive and nervous systems of the body.
Steps for shoulder Stand
- Lie on your back with legs straight.
- Bring one knee into the chest, then the other.
- Straighten and raise one leg at a time to point your feet upwards.
- Exhale and kick backwards with both feet at once, to bring your hips off the floor. Support your hips with your hands.
- Slowly move one hand at a time towards your upper back until your body is vertical. Your chin should touch your chest.
- Hold this posture as long as you can to gain the most benefits and breath regularly.
- To come out of the pose, slowly lower your body vertebra by vertebra starting with your upper back, to the floor. Bend your knees and stretch your body and rest.
This pose stretches the entire spine and shoulders.
It enhances circulation of the spinal cord, and improves function of the internal organs supplied by the nerves.
It balances the thyroid and para-thyroid glands, (which help with depression) and helps activate and balance the throat chakra.
Plough Pose also helps to improve the respiratory, circulatory and immune systems.
Steps for plough pose
- Lie on your back with your legs stretched out and your arms by your sides.
- Bring one knee into your chest at a time.
- Straighten and raise one leg at a time and point your feet upwards.
- Exhale and kick your legs upwards reaching behind your head. Do not let your hips pass your shoulders.
- When your comfortable in the pose, hold for 5 seconds. (Can be held up to 5 minutes if advanced).
- To come out of the pose, slowly roll your back onto the mat vertebra by vertebra, from top to bottom. Bend your knees and stretch out your legs and rest.
This pose relieves pressure on the nerves branching off the spine helps with spinal flexibility and circulation. It affects the adrenal glands, sending them a rich supply of blood.
Cobra Pose also balances the thyroid and para thyroid glands (which help with depression).
Steps for cobra pose
- Lie on your belly with your arms relaxed beside you.
- Turn your head to the centre and bend your arms so that your hands are placed beneath your shoulders. Keep your arms close to your body.
- Inhale as you start to slowly arch your back. Lift up with you chest. Do not lift your pelvis.
- Hold this posture for about 5 seconds.
- To come out of the pose, slowly lower your abdomen, chest, shim and head to the floor.
- Relax your arms and body, and rest.
- 5 Yoga Poses for Depression Video
- VIDEO - The physical effort and focus on breathing and relaxation in yoga poses can help with depression symptoms. Here are 5 yoga poses that can improve your mood and beat depression.
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