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Yoga for Depression
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May 8, 2008 - 2:32 pm
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Yoga and depression

It is normal to feel temporary sadness or loneliness at certain points in our lives. This may be caused by certain experiences like divorce or the loss of someone you love. However, severe cases of Depression or what is called Major Depression greatly affects one's function in the society and at work.

This form of Depression is considered as a mental disorder wherein a person feels deep, unshakable sadness and loss of interest in almost all activities. Depression is often characterized by the feeling of despair, a sense of hopelessness or worthlessness, and sometimes thoughts of committing suicide.

Unfortunately most people who suffer from Depression do not seek professional or medical help, but treating Depression is highly relevant since the disorder affects your relationships, your work and yourself. Depression can be treated through either psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy.

The improved overall mental state that Yoga offers can prove to be great help for people who suffer from mild Depression. Therapy combined with Yoga will help a person pick himself up from his down state.

Yoga practices not only provides renewed strength but also reduces stress, calm the mind, and promotes a positive attitude towards one's self and life in general.

The Practice of Yoga can also be beneficial to achieve or retrieve one's mental health.

Yoga offers effective stress relief techniques which is crucial to promote good mental health. It also puts the person in touch with themselves in a deeper level, adding depth to self-realization and helps psychotherapy patients recover faster.

Practicing Yoga gives the patient an overall sense of your own power, leading the patient to feel hopeful about his condition. Yoga also deals with the improvement of the body, making the body's system work properly thus relieving the irregularities in the brain and the entire nervous system.

The following are the Yoga Poses that will help you cope with everyday stress and Depression:

 Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

 Sun Salutation (Suryanamaskara)

 Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana)

 Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

 Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

 Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

 Wind Relieving Pose (pavana muktasana)

 Kapalabhati Breathing

 Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Try the following tense-relax exercise as you lie in the Corpse Pose:

1. As you inhale through your nose, tighten the muscles in your knees, calves, ankles, feet, and ts. Hold the tension, then relax and exhale.

2. Inhale, tensing all of these parts as well as your abdomen, pelvis, hips, and thighs. Hold them taut, then relax and exhale.

3. Tense the muscles in your neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, waists, hands, fingers, chest as well as muscles in your trunk and legs. Hold the tension, then relax and exhale.

4. Finally, starting with your scalp, face, and head, tense all of your body muscles. Hold the tension, then relax and exhale. Feel how all of the tension has melted away from your body

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October 15, 2010 - 12:09 pm
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Yoga for Depression: Top 2 Positions

By Aaron Matthew Ang

Everyday, the number of people getting depressed, either mild or severe, increases due to the rapid changing times. As we progress and advance in technology, the demands also change and it is difficult to keep up with a very fast-paced environment. Depression is a combination of many negative feelings. Depressed people feel worthless; they have low self-esteem and often lack energy to work. Depression disrupts not only their lives but also the lives of those people who are around them. Yoga for depression is not an alternative to medication and medical care. Yoga will help a person balance his positive and negative energies. Yoga will help a person improve his physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. In this article, we will discuss the two top yoga poses or positions generally advised for those who are suffering depression.

Simhasana

This is the first pose for yoga for depression which is also called the Lion Pose. It helps a person gain courage and lighten the emotional load. It involves facial expressions that boosts the mood and makes the person feel lighter and elevated. To assume the position, kneel on the floor and keep the knees apart. The shoulders should also be aligned with the knees and the calves should be flat on the floor, with the thighs touching the calves. The back and shoulders should be straight to let you sit up straight. While inhaling, lean forward slightly but do not bend your spine. While leaning, stretch your mouth and jaw as wide as you can, pretending to be a yawning lion or cat. Cross your eyes by looking at the tip of your nose and let your tongue stick out. Tense and extend your fingers and toes apart. Go back to the basic position while exhaling.

Matsayana

The Matsayana pose is also called the Fish Pose. This is good exercise for breathing that releases tension. To get started, lie flat on your back, keeping the legs and feet together. Do not bend your knees. Slide your hands under your buttocks for support. With this position, your breast or chest should rise, with your back arching inward. The elbows should be on the floor, not lifted, and while arching your chest, the head should stay back with your chin pointing to the ceiling. Inhale and exhale while in this position until you have relaxed your chest. The relevance of this pose to depression is that it is a chest opener and help the depressed individual ease out on the pressure from his chest.

Depression has several symptoms and may lead to suicide. If you begin to feel an uncommon kind of sadness or if you begin to feel a lack of direction in your life, start using the two yoga for depression positions mentioned above. This will help eliminate the further possibility of developing the sadness into a full-blown depression. If you have a friend who seems lethargic everyday, feeling unworthy or sad, suggest the yoga training technique that we discussed. These positions will help ease the pain of sadness and will help keep a more positive outlook towards life.

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February 1, 2011 - 7:10 pm
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Yoga for Curing Depression

By Vikram R Deo

Yoga is an ancient technique of exercises of both, brain and brawn. The practice of yoga originated thousands of years ago in what is now known as India. Yoga has many advantages, if practiced in everyday life. A very important advantage of practicing yoga, assiduously, is that one can rid himself or herself of depression.

Depression is a growing disease these days. Depression is one of the diseases which is not natural. Depression can be said to be a recent disease. Depression was not known in the past. Due to the increasing demand for materials, the increase in the importance of money and material wealth has made our lives, very busy. We have made ourselves so busy that we forget to do the things that we really like. This world is changing and being busy is associated with a positive sense only. The 9-5 schedule often gets extended to 7 or 8. Till the time, a worker comes home, he/she is mentally tired and fatigued. This causes stress which ultimately leads to many diseases, both physical and mental. We always know that we are doing is wrong, what we are doing is against nature, but we cannot stop due to our increasing wants.

Our society is responsible for causing depression. The drive to achieve success in our country is very strong, perhaps stronger than many other countries. Yoga can help relieve you, off your stress. There are many exercises in yoga that are worth doing. You will be able to find that practicing these exercises actually make you feel better. Moreover, the workout from yoga ensures a better body and a sharper brain. Meditation, pranayam and gentle asanas are the three exercises recommended to the person who is suffering from depression and anxiety. You will be able to heal yourself mentally, physically and emotionally.

You need access to a good yoga teacher who can teach you the important positions and the ways in which yoga can be practiced. Breathing slowly and carefully will actually make us go back in time and allow us to think about all the happy things that have happened to us, all the happy things that make life, wonderful. Yoga also brings peace to the troubled mind. You will be able to manage your life, better, if you practice the art of meditation. You will be able to control the bombardment of thoughts and scattering of mind with disturbance. You can do simple things which give you happiness. Some of the best things to do to maintain a calm mind is gazing at a spiritual idol or simply staring at a candle. Another simple way in which you can calm yourself is if you breathe slowly keeping your eyes closed.

In order to achieve peace, you can sit on a comfortable chair, with your feet stretched. You should be focused on an object, which you should stare at, for a minute of so.

Depression can be avoided by using the divine power of yoga.

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December 3, 2011 - 12:09 am
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Fighting Depression With Yoga Meditation

Those who suffer from depression have needs that are different from others. They will require a special spiritual path that addresses the pervasive negativity that permeates their lives. Those fed up with living in the shadow of depression may fight it using meditation as their tool and ally, but only if they are willing to work hard in order to promote real, lasting change.

Occasional bouts of negativity are a natural and unavoidable part of life for most people. Usually these dark moods will pass on their own without any effort needed, but this is not the case for those suffering from depression. For them, a dark mood serves as a prelude to greater and greater states of sadness and pain. Intervention is needed at the first sign of depression taking hold in order to prevent a downward spiral. The intervening force should ideally be the person themselves rather than someone else.

The first step in fighting depression with Yoga meditation is to build up a solid foundation of daily meditation practice. Breath awareness meditation and mindfulness meditation are recommended; other forms of meditation may not be as effective and some may even serve to make depressive states worse, especially if they involve deep contemplation and thought. The depressed and fearful mind must be silenced in order to put a stop to these cycles and breath and mindfulness meditation aim to do exactly that.

The second step is to learn the cues that serve as warning signs of an impending depressive attack. In some this may be excessive irritation, in others it may be a headache, increased fatigue or an insatiable urge to do something to the point of excess such as eating or sleeping. When the cue is identified it serves as an early warning sign and action may be taken in order to stave off a downward spiral. At the first sign of trouble, try becoming intensely aware of the mind and watch the internal dialog. The tone of the mind will likely turn self defeating and destructive, and when this happens it is essential to keep from passing judgment. Those who know that they are suffering from depression tend to serve as their own greatest critic, criticizing themselves for failing to be happy and balanced. Becoming angry at yourself only leads to more sadness and depression, and is therefore useless.

Alternate between Yogic breath awareness and watching the mind impartially until the negativity passes. Observe that the mind will rant, rave and berate, but the you that is observing it is unaffected. Your true nature, who you really are deep down inside, is beyond the reach of that deeply depressed and sorrowful ego. When you reach a place where you know this to be true, depression will have no hold over you anymore and you will be free. Freedom from depression is a gift worth pursuing, not only for yourself but also for those around you. Meditation has the power to put you in control over your mind.

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April 19, 2012 - 6:05 am
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Amy Weintraub has a book about this subject. It's well worth your time to read her book.

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November 14, 2015 - 1:53 am
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What can yoga do for depression? Depression is the most commonly found psychological disorder especially in Western World. In this day and age around 10 times more people are diagnosed with this problem as compared to 70 years ago. According to a report in the year 2012, 40 million prescriptions were written for antidepressants only in England.

There are different methods for curing this psychological disorder such as counseling, medications and therapies but health experts recommended exercising as an enjoyable, low cost, easy and effective alternative treatment among all of them. Physical activities work as natural remedy to cure disorder and can benefit a person mentally. Numerous studies have shown that exercising is capable of boosting up chemicals in brain essential for acquiring good mental wellness.

Latest scientific investigations and researches revealed that ancient practice of yoga is extremely beneficial and aids as a wonder drug for beating depression by calming mind. A study was conducted to compare levels of amino acid GABA among those who practice yoga exercises regularly and those who perform equivalent amount of walking or strenuous exercises daily. The study concluded higher levels of amino acid GABA responsible for well functioning of brain, central nervous system and promoting feeling of calmness inside body in those who practice yoga as compared to those who do other physical activities. According to another study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital deep psychological state of rest persuaded by three yoga techniques controlled breathing, physical postures and meditation, produced instant positive transformation in immunity system, levels of energy, metabolism and insulin secretion.

People suffering from depression can efficiently benefitted by yoga techniques due to its gentle, calming and fluid nature. Medical expert Dr. Mason Turner psychiatric chief at Kaiser Peranente San Francisco stated that, “Yoga techniques when performed in coordination are helpful in combating depression as this therapy act like a powerful tool for treating the problem”. The therapy of yoga is suggested as best and effectual antidepressant remedy which has ability to promote mental health by increasing levels of healthy amino acid GABA. The control paranayama breathing pattern supply adequate amount of fresh oxygen to brain cells also. Here are some generally practiced yoga exercises helpful in easing levels of stress and depression.

  • Bal asana or Child’s Pose: This pose assists in reducing stress and fatigue by stretching lower back and hips.
  • Modified Cobra Pose: Helps in boosting energy and mood by strengthening back of the body.
  • Downward Facing Dog Pose: This classic sequence is a complete body stretch that reduces fatigue and develop mental focus.
  • Warrior one Pose: The posture is helpful in easing levels of stress and anxiety.
  • Forward Fold: If anyone experiences depression should hold this pose for twenty minutes or more to feel instant relief.
  • Head to Knee Forward Bend: This seated bend is highly effective in calming mind.
  • Bridge Pose: This backward bend is a nourishing restorative pose that strengthen entire body and stimulates nervous system.
  • Supported Headstand: The pose is also known as sirsasana, king of all poses. Performed under the guidance of a teacher, helps in supplying excess amount of blood in brain cells.
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May 26, 2016 - 9:10 pm
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Chair Yoga for Dealing With Depression 

Millions of people suffer from some sort of depression at one point in their lives. Most people look to therapy and/or prescription medications in order to relieve their symptoms. There are also many different natural ways to treat depression, including yoga. Chair yoga, specifically, is an adapted form of yoga meant for seniors, people with disabilities, or other restrictions that limit traditional yoga practice. But how can chair yoga help you deal with depression? Read on to find out! 

What is Chair Yoga? 

Chair yoga is a group of stretching and breathing exercises that utilize a chair or other sturdy item to assist with balance and support. Chair yoga is one of the least restrictive forms of yoga, and is much easier for some people to perform. There is no need to buy a special yoga chair - any one will do! People who participate in yoga often report having more flexibility and strength with less stress. 

How Does Chair Yoga Affect Mental Health? 

There is a strong correlation between the mind and the body, and if one isn't being treated properly, the other may follow suit. However, people who stay active and healthy are typically more likely to avoid depression and anxiety. Performing chair yoga gets the blood and oxygen pumping, and helps to release those "good feelings" chemicals in the brain. Some people have even been able to treat their depression by using diet and exercise alone but remember to always follow a doctor's orders and advice before beginning or stopping any treatment. 

Bottom Line 

The mind/body connection is a strong one; keeping the body physically active and in-shape will directly affect the brain. Chair yoga helps people to relax and de-stress by offering simple stretches and breathing exercises designed with overall wellness in mind. Nearly all chair yoga classes have professional physicians present, meaning students will always be safe and sound.

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