Can Yoga help with depression? The practice of yoga is not new and is carried out from ancient time for healthy body and mind. This is not just to lose weight or get fit but also have good mental health and wellbeing. Be it any mild to severe mental conditions like anger, depression, anxiety, tiredness and frustration, these mood disorders can be quickly treated and ended by yoga for depression. In this article, we will discuss how magical is yoga for depression and also teach various poses which have been proven scientifically to have a positive effect on mood disorders and have helped in getting rid of the same.
The alarming rate of mental disorders and illness in recent times has got quite an attention, and this guide on yoga and depression will help several of us to take care of mental health and to cure conditions naturally and in the beginning stages.
What is Depression?
Depression is a common yet serious medical condition that seriously impacts how you feel, what you think, and how you react to a particular situation. It makes you feel low and lose interest in the activities you once enjoyed. It can greatly reduce a person’s capacity to work in an office as well as at home, but thankfully, this condition is curable and that too, without medication simply by doing proper yoga asanas.
Symptoms of Depression:
The symptoms of depression might vary from mild to severe and includes the following:
- Feeling low or sad always
- Loss of interest in the activities once enjoyed
- Facing trouble in getting sleep or sleeping too much
- Feeling tired
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Thoughts like suicide or showing suicidal tendencies
- Facing difficulty in concentrating or making decisions.
[Read More: Depression Symptoms]
What Causes Depression?
Depression is a very complex disease. No one knows the exact cause of depression. However, there are several factors that may cause depression; a few of them are illustrated below:
- Prolonged medical illness
- Certain medications that contain isotretinoin, corticosteroids and interferon-alpha can increase the risk of a person going into depression
- Abuses in the past can make one vulnerable to depression in the future
- Genetics or family history of depression
[Read More: Depression Causes]
Yoga as a Cure for Depression:
Research shows that yoga helps in depression. It is a very powerful treatment for depression. Coupling yoga with medication can escalate the recovery process and relieve a person of depression. While the medication helps to bring the person to the present moment, the controlled and focused movements in yoga help in strengthening the body-mind connection and thereby curing the depression. Hence try out these yoga exercises for depression for best results.
To know in detail which type and how yoga helps depression read further. A few yoga poses for depression have been mentioned below. These are among good yoga to cure depression.
How to Boost Your Mood with Yoga for Depression:
Know more about yoga asanas for depression and step by step how to do process here.
1. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward facing dog pose):
This is a powerful asana that can quickly cure fatigue and depression. This asana has an overall rejuvenating effect on the body as all the stress that is trapped in your back vanishes in no time. In UrdhvaMukhaSvanasana, our upper body is awakened and strengthened and hence is considered as one of the best yoga for depression.
- Lie down flat on your belly with your toes facing downwards with a few inches distance between the two.
- Place your palms near your chest and lift your upper body.
- Straighten your arms and legs pressing the top part of your toes against the floor.
- Look straight or upwards, and your shoulders should be away from your ears while your chest should be rising.
2. Adho Mukho Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose):
By doing this yoga exercise for depression, the body is flooded with fresh blood in mind and throughout the body and thereby helping in calming the person and reducing depression and anxiety. Besides, it also strengthens the abdominal muscles and thereby improves the digestion. This is among most sought after yoga for anxiety and depression and Bikram yoga depression.
- Make a table with your body where your hands and legs are the legs of the table, and your back is the tabletop.
- Now straighten your legs from your knees and arms from your elbows by pushing your hips upwards. The final posture will look like an inverted V.
- Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart, and the legs are hips-width apart with the toes pointing straight.
- Straighten your neck with ears touching your inner arm and your eyes gazing at the navel.
To know more about the asana, click here: Adho Mukha Svanasana
3. Halasana (Plow Pose):
By doing halasana, one can experience calmness in the brain. It corrects the body posture and reduces the strain on the back. Insomnia and headache, which are a common symptom of depression, can be kept at bay by doing this asana as there is increased blood flow to the brain. It is considered as one of the best anti-depression yoga, which can calm down the nervous system. This is also suggested baba ramdev yoga for depression.
- Lie down straight on your back, keeping your arms alongside your body.
- Now lift your legs making a 90-degree angle with the ground.
- Taking the support of your hand lift your body from your hips and pushing it towards your chest.
- Slowly bring down the legs and take them over your head and try touching them to the ground beyond your head while keeping the knees straight.
- Release the support from hands and straighten your arms and place them on the ground with palms facing downwards.
To know more about the asana, click here: Halasana
4. Uttanasana (Standing forward fold pose):
This yoga for anxiety and depression is easy to do and makes you flexible too. By doing Uttanasana, the tension in the back, neck, and shoulder is relieved, and thereby, the functioning of the nervous system is improved. Besides, it also reduces anxiety, thereby calming you down. The blood circulation in the body, especially in the brain is improved, and thus, one must practice this yoga to reduce depression.
- Stand straight with your arms along the body and feet at shoulder distance.
- Placing the arms on your hips bend forward from the hips.
- Moving down further, try touching your chest to your thighs and head to your knees while keeping your knees straight.
- Bring down your hands beside the toes or hold them at the back of your ankles.
To know more about the asana, click here: Uttanasana
5. Salabhasana: (Locust Pose):
This simple backbend pose strengthens the entire back and has a healing effect on a wide range of problems such as backache, postural problem, weakness, etc. It helps in energizing the body when you are low on energy, especially in the case of depression. Try this yoga to fight depression by carrying out the following steps.
- Lie on the belly and keep the hands on the sides and forehead on the floor.
- Lift both the hands and legs.
- This helps the body to take in oxygen and frees it from depression, gas, bladder, and back pains.
- This is also a good yoga for stress and depression.
To know more about the asana, click here: Salabhasana
6. Balasana: (Child Pose):
When stressed out completely or feeling too low, doing balasana can relieve you from depression very quickly and rejuvenate the soul. It is a restful asana which can be sequenced between more complicated asanas. It is one of the best yoga poses for depression treatment.
- Kneel on the floor with your toes touching each other and knees as wide as the hips
- Exhale and bend forward to place your torso between your thighs and head touching on the floor.
- Lay your hands alongside your head with your palms facing downwards.
To know more about the asana, click here: Balasana
7. Setu Bandhasana: (Bridge Pose):
This is a great asana that strengthens the back muscles and relieves the stress that is trapped in the back. It is considered as one of the best yoga exercises for stress and depression. By practicing Setu Bandhasana, one can calm down the brain and thereby reducing stress anxiety and depression. It also aids in improving the digestion of the body. This is how you can do this yoga therapy for depression.
- Lie down flat on your back with your knees bent and foot on the floor hip-apart. Make sure that the ankles and knees are in one straight line.
- With the support of your arms, that is placed by the body and palms facing downwards, lift your back off the floor.
- Roll in your shoulders so that the chin touches the chest. Let your shoulders, arms, and feet support the weight of your body.
To know more about the asana, click here: Setu Bandhasana
8. Viparita Karani: (Inverted Lake Pose):
Yoga helps depression, and this is the other pose to try out. This pose is also called the legs up the wall pose. Apart from a host of benefits such as relief from stress and anxiety, this pose also has an anti-aging effect. You can use a prop such as a blanket, pillow, bolsters for support while doing this asana. It is one of the best anti depression yoga.
- Sit next to the wall in a manner that your feet are on the floor, and the left side of your body is touching the wall.
- Lie on your back such that the legs press against the wall and the soles of the feet face upwards.
- Press your buttocks against the wall and legs touching the wall so that your body makes a 90-degree angle.
- Now slowly lift your buttocks and slide the prop under them. Alternatively, you can use your hands to form that curve in your lower body.
To know more about the asana, click here: Viparita Karani
9. Savasana (Corpse Pose):
Savasana helps you normalize your breathing, relax your body, and thus rejuvenates you. It reduces the blood pressure and thereby helps the effect of all the previous poses sink in better. Savasana is thus required to be done in the end, which will accelerate the healing process. This asana is also considered as depression yoga meditation.
- Lie down on your back with your feet a few inches apart.
- Let the arms lie alongside the body with the palms facing upwards.
- Do a few sets of abdominal breathing.
- Close your eyes, relax, and let your body rejuvenate.
To know more about the asana, click here: Savasana
All you need is yoga for depression techniques, and these itself are good for anyone to help relieve from stress and anxiety disorders. Get healthy, physically and mentally fit with these yoga asanas. Follow them regularly without fail as these asanas are powerful enough to release the emotional scars and trauma deeply ingrained in the physical, as well as the psychological body. However, one has to be positive of all the techniques and follow them regularly for best results.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers:
Q1. How does yoga help with depression?
Ans: The following are the various benefits of yoga for depression:
- Yoga reduces the stress on your mind and body.
- It is a self-soothing technique similar to meditation and improves the energy in the body
- It also helps in relieving the anxiety from the body.
Q2. Can yoga cure depression?
Ans: According to the neuroscience research report, the yoga exercises can switch on the genes to increase the production of a neurochemical in the body called galanin that helps in toning down the brain/body stress response. Simple yoga poses with stretching for 15-20 minutes can reduce the depression by 30%, and with regular practice, you can even come out of the depression condition.
Q3. What is the impact of Kundalini Yoga for depression?
Ans: Kundalini yoga is also known as the depression yoga treatment. Kundalini means the spiritual energy that is located at the base of the spine. By practising Kundalini yoga, one can awaken the Kundalini Shakti from the base chakra passing through the 6 chakras and penetrating the Crown Chakra. Kundalini yoga for depression is a combination of devotion, power, and mental control, and thus by awakening, the Kundalini Shakti, one can experience immense peace and thus come out of the depression rapidly.
Q4. Is yoga good for depression?
Ans: Doing regular yoga increases the prana in the body and thus makes one feel relaxed and energetic. Even the recent research in medical science has validated that yoga can cure depression, and thus, yoga and depression cannot go hand in hand. A regular practitioner of yoga cannot be a depression patient, and a depression patient who starts practising yoga will definitely come out of his depression condition.
Q5. What is yoga Nidra for depression?
Ans: Meditation and yoga is a boon for those who suffer from depression, pain, anxiety, fear, and other psychosomatic problems. When the depression becomes acute, our body needs something that will tell them, everything is going to be okay, and you can relax. Here is where the role of Yoga Nidra for depression comes in, Yoga Nidra is a systematic, multistage relaxation technique that helps in shifting the concentration of breathing and takes the person into a deep meditative stage. It is thus a mind and body balancing technique that can help one come out of his condition rapidly.