Yoga For Depression: 7 Best Yoga Asanas To Help Cure Depression
I’ve heard, and I suspect you’ve heard too if you’re struggling with depression, that doing meditation, some self-reflection, and practicing yoga can cure depression. I’ve had my reservations regarding these statements because how are you supposed to practice yoga when you don’t have enough energy to get out of bed.
Yoga and depression are something that I never believed can go hand in hand until I tried them myself. In this blog, I’ll help you discover how you can practice yoga to cure depression and explore some easy, beginner yoga asanas for depression you can practice.
But, before we get to the asanas, let’s relearn some important facts about depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression is one of the serious mental health disorders that can cause you to feel intense feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and worthlessness, among other feelings. If not diagnosed and treated in time, the symptoms of depression can grow worse and lead to serious health conditions.
Common signs of depression you need to look for can be:
- You feel worthless and dejected
- You are not able to focus on your daily tasks
- You face trouble in making smart decisions
- You feel indifferent towards activities that you once enjoyed
- You are having suicidal thoughts
- You feel dull and sad almost daily
- You are experiencing a significant change in your sleep pattern and diet
Some common causes of depression can be:
- Having a family history of mental health disorders
- Chemical imbalance or hormonal imbalance in the brain
- High-stress levels in your daily life
- Not being able to cope with major life changes – workwise and personally
Yoga And Depression: What’s The Link?
Yoga is an activity that requires you to move your body to enable the production of endorphins, the hormones that are responsible for reducing the feelings of pain.
Yoga is one of the best ways to boost your mood and reduce feelings of depression and sadness. When you perform an asana it not only increases the circulation of blood to your brain but also produces hormones that make you feel happy, calm, and relaxed.
The practice of yoga is centuries old and most of the time does not have any adverse effects on a person’s body and mind. One of the natural cures for depression, yoga can help increase your life force energy and alleviate symptoms of depression. While yoga may take more time than other treatment options, it can have long-term healing effects on people with depression.
Yoga Asanas For Depression
I have listed here 7 yoga poses that you can practice for depression. These yoga asanas can also help beginners to yoga for anxiety and depression.
1. Balasana: The Child Pose
Balasana or the child pose can help calm your nerves and release the pent-up stress and anxiety from your body. The asana stretches your lower back, hips and helps your body relax. One of the most relaxing and comfortable poses, balasana can be done by following these steps:
Step 1: Kneel while sitting on your heels. Make sure that your toes touch each other.
Step 2: While keeping your hands on your knees, spread your knees hip-width apart.
Step 3: Slowly bend your torso forward with your forehead touching the floor or mat.
Step 4: Bringing your arms forward, place them on either side of your head, palms facing downwards.
Step 5: Stay like this for a few minutes until your body starts feeling relaxed.
2. Sethu Bandhasana: The Bridge Pose
Sethu bandhasana or the bridge pose can help you strengthen your back muscles and back. It can also help you relax and relieve stress, anxiety, and alleviate symptoms of depression. To practice this pose, you need to:
Step 1: Lie back on the mat or floor while keeping your arms on either side, facing down.
Step 2: Lift your legs, fold them at the knees. Make sure that your ankles and knees are aligned to each other.
Step 3: Gently lift your back off the mat and stay like that for a few seconds.
Step 4: Make sure your thighs are parallel to each other and your chin can touch your chest. Do not bend your chin.
3. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: The Upward-Facing Dog Pose
Urdhava mukha svanasana or the upward-facing dog pose can help you fight fatigue as well as depression. This asana can have a relaxing and re-energizing effect on your body and release stress and anxiety from the body.
This pose can help strengthen your upper body and to practice this pose, you need to:
Step 1: Lie on the mat with your face down while your toes facing downwards and kept a few inches apart.
Step 2: Placing your palms near your chest, facing down, gently lift your torso off the mat. Straighten your arms and legs until you’re a few inches off the mat.
Step 3: Pressing your feet on the mat, keeping your head facing skywards, shoulders away from your ears, let your torso rise.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana: The Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Adho mukha svanasana or the downward-facing dog pose is a helpful yoga asana that activates your blood circulation. It can help you stretch your neck and spine all the while releasing stress and calming you.
The pose can strengthen your abdominal muscles and can also help improve your digestion. To practice this pose, you need to:
Step 1: Get on your hands and knees, making a table posture with your body.
Step 2: Straightening your elbows and knees, push your hips upward until you form an inverted V with your body.
Step 3: Your hands should be shoulder-width apart with your legs hip-width apart.
Step 4: Pressing your hands firmly on the mat, straighten your neck while making sure your ears touch your arms.
5. Halasana: The Plow Pose
One of the difficult poses to do, the halasana or the plow pose helps reduce the pain and aches in your back, stretches your back, calms your mind, and reduces stress. It can also help keep insomnia and headaches away.
To practice the pose, you need to:
Step 1: Lie back on the mat with your arms on either side of your body.
Step 2: Slowly lift your legs off the mat. Placing your hands on your hips and using your hands as support, lift your hips towards your chest.
Step 3: Gradually, bring your legs over your head while keeping them straight until your toes touch the mat.
Step 4: After getting a good footing with the pose, remove your hands from your hips and straighten them back on either side of your body, palms facing downwards.
6. Uttanasana: The Standing Forward Fold Pose
Uttanasana or the standing forward fold pose helps in relaxing your tensed muscles of your back, shoulders, and neck. It also helps in improving the function of the nervous system and reducing stress and anxiety.
This pose is also helpful in improving blood circulation. To do the pose, you need to:
Step 1: Stand straight on the mat with your arms on either side of your body, your feet shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Placing your arms on your hips, bend forward until your head and chest touch your thighs.
Step 3: Slowly bring your hands until you can touch your feet or hold your ankles from behind.
Step 4: Make sure that you don’t bend your knees or your thighs.
7. Savasana: The Corpse Pose
Savasana is a relaxing yoga pose and is also referred to as a corpse pose. This pose can help relax your body, reduce blood pressure, and calms your body enough to feel the effects of the previous poses sink in.
After all the invigorating poses, savasana can give you the rest and time you need to relax your stretched muscles. To do this pose, you need to:
Step 1: Lie on your back on the mat, keeping your feet a few inches apart.
Step 2: Relax your body completely. Let your feet fall sideways and your arms lie lax alongside your body, palms facing upwards.
Step 3: Close your eyes and let yourself relax.
At this moment you can also practice deep breathing exercises such as Bhramari Pranayama (Humming Bee Breathing technique) or Naadhi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril breathing technique).
Yoga is a practice that can help improve your blood circulation, relax nerves, release muscle tension, alleviate stress, among other health benefits. Yet, when all is said and done, it isn’t a substitute for therapy.
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, practicing yoga can help you relax and feel better but you shouldn’t skip therapy. It is recommended you speak with a therapist before practicing the above-mentioned yoga poses.
I hope this article helped you understand the link between yoga and depression and helped you understand the benefits of yoga asanas for depression. For more information on yoga and its benefits, you can always write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us on our social media pages.
Take care and stay safe!