When you’re depressed, you’re left feeling sad, overwhelmed, and lethargic. It’s estimated that more than 16 million Americans have dealt with depression at least one time in a given year.
There are many different ways to battle depression, with yoga being one of them. Some people opt for medication which can lead to damaging side effects, while others may binge or starve themselves because of their depression. None of these are good for the mind or body.
Yoga is believed to help people fight depression naturally because it regulates how the body deals with stress. The deep breathing required in yoga triggers the autonomic nervous system. When that’s in check, it helps your brain and body function better. Plus, when you practice yoga regularly you can get benefits like lowered blood pressure and a better night’s sleep.
If you’re struggling with depression, try these four yoga poses.
Child’s pose is a peaceful pose that calms your mind and body. Your hips and lower back get a good stretch which helps you to relax and deal with depression better.
Kneel and sit on your heels with your big toes touching. Spread your knees hip-width apart, hands resting on top. Bend your torso forward and let your face touch the ground. Bring your arms forward, palms down, and put them on either side of your head. Stay here and breathe for a few minutes.
Shoulder stands help treat depression because they revitalize the entire body, making you feel good from head to toe. It’s definitely more difficult than child’s pose, but well worth it.
Lie on your back. Inhale and slowing raise your legs so they are at a 90-degree angle. As you exhale, raise your body as straight as you can while keeping your legs together. Bring your hands to your waist for support. Rest your body weight on your shoulders as you point your legs to the ceiling. Stay here for 30 seconds before gently releasing.
If you're feeling down and sluggish, try Reverse Warrior to get energized and focused.
Start in Warrior I pose with your right leg at 90-degrees and your left pivoted at 45-degrees. Turn your hips to face the side, still keeping the right leg bent. Rest your left hand on your left leg as you raise your right arm up with your palm facing the ceiling. Slide your left arm toward your left ankle if you can. Look up at the ceiling and stay here for 3-5 deep breaths.
The techniques used in Cobra increase energy and focus, helping to concentrate on the positives in life.
Lie on the floor, face-down with your legs spread a few inches apart. Put your hands under your shoulders. Press the tops of your feet down as you inhale and gently lift your head and chest off the floor. Keep your shoulders back and your heart forward. Hold for 30 seconds. Gently release.
Trying these yoga poses can help to get you back on track as you battle depression. Always consult your doctor if your depression symptoms get too difficult to handle, and continue to use yoga as treatment if you feel relief when you try it.