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How Yoga Can Help You With Overcoming Depression

Nowadays, more and more people are stressed out, feeling down or having a loss of interest in daily activities until they eventually reach a breaking point and sink into depression. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They estimate that 350 million people are affected by depression, globally. If you are also feeling empty inside your body and dread facing the world for a longer period of time, then you should definitely start fighting against that hopelessness inside of you. But how? - The answer to this could be YOGA.
So first of all, what is yoga? And why is it good for you, your body and your soul? Yoga is a physical exercise that involves different body poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. Studies have illustrated its ability to combat depression through balancing brain chemistry and stress hormone levels. Through a regular yoga routine, you can pull yourself out of the pit of depression and rise once more to enjoy vitality and inspiration in your day-to-day life.Yoga is also especially helpful because of its gentle, calming, and fluid nature. Each pose is flexible, so people of all levels can practice. A Yoga Teacher Training in India can be a transformational step towards a happier and positive life. Let’s see some simple asanas which will help you lifting up your mood:
1. Balasana (Child Pose)Benefits: This pose helps calm your brain and relieves stress and anxiety. It gently stretches your lower back and hips, enabling your body to relax. Peace and calm prevail over your entire being, helping you deal with your depression better.
How to perform it: All you have to do is kneel and sit on your heels. Make sure your big toes touch each other. Keep your hands on your knees and spread your knees hip-width apart. Then, bend your torso forward, in between your divided thighs, with your face touching the ground. Bring your arms forward and place them on either side of your head, with the palms facing down.
2. SethuBandhasana (Bridge Pose) Benefits: This asana strengthens the back muscles and relieves a tired back. Plus it helps you relax and opens your heart, making you feel light and at ease.
How to perform it: To do the pose, lie down on the floor on your back. Keep your arms on the floor on either side with the palms facing down. Lift your legs by folding them at the knees. Make sure the ankles and knees are in a straight line, and the feet are a few inches apart. Then, gently lift your entire back off the floor and stay there for a few seconds. While doing this, your thighs should be parallel to each other, and your chest should touch your chin. Make sure you do not bend your chin.
3. UrdhvaMukhaSvanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose) Benefits: This pose strengthens and awakens your upper body. It has an overall rejuvenating effect on your body and all the stress trapped in your back will vanish.
How to perform it: To do the asana, lie on the floor with your face down and legs following the same with the toes facing downward and a few inches apart. Place your palms near the chest on both sides, facing down. Keep your palms close to your ribs. Lift your torso and straighten your arms and legs a few inches off the floor. Press the top part of your feet firmly into the ground. Keep your head straight or facing upwards and your shoulders away from your ears and let your chest rise.
4. AdhoMukhaSvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) Benefits: This asana enables fresh blood to flow into your body. It stretches the neck and cervical spine, releasing the stress in them, thereby reducing anxiety and calming your being.
How to perform it: To do the pose, make a posture of a table with your body. Use your legs and hands to make the legs of the table and your back as the table top. Now, straighten your elbows and knees, pushing your hip upward and forming an inverted V-shape with your body. The hands should be shoulder-width apart, legs hips-width apart, and the toes pointing straight. Firmly press your hands to the ground and straighten your neck. Your ear should touch your inner arms. Keep your eye gaze at your navel.
5. Savasana (Corpse Pose) Benefits: Savasana rejuvenates you and helps your body relax. It reduces blood pressure and lets the effects of the previous poses sink in better.
How to perform it: Finally, after all the mind and body invigorating poses, Savasana will give you all the rest and scope to heal. To do the Savasana, lie on the floor on your back. Keep your feet a few inches apart and let them fall sideways. Let your arms lie alongside your body with your palms facing upwards. Now, gently close your eyes and let your whole body relax, slowly and gently. Take deep breaths, and stay in the moment.
Before finishing off with this topic, I’d like to share with you two types of pranayama that are particularly useful in treating depression and anxiety with yoga:
Alternate breathing (or Anuloma-Viloma) is a type of pranayama that is excellent for neurological and respiratory cleansing plus detoxification and a great compliment to yoga for depression and anxiety. Also the effect of Bumble Bee Breathing (or Bhramari pranayama) has a calming effect on the mind and is a good pairing to do alongside the yoga practice.
Of course it’s difficult to only read these lines and practise perfectly. I would definitely recommend joining a Yoga Teacher Trainig in India to really dive into yoga and gain a broad understanding of the healing effects. It will be the best and most enriching experience!
About the Author:
Elisabeth Meyer grew up in Germany and works as a communication manager. She completed her Yoga Teacher Training in India in 2018. She decided to do something for herself and gain more peace to live life to the fullest. Her time at the Yoga India Foundation inspired her, motivated her and enriched her life and being completely. She recommends to anyone to complete a Yoga Teacher Training in India in order to gain joy and happiness.

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Tags: Depression, asana, yoga

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