Yoga for Depression

Most of us come to a point in our lives asking ourselves, “Why do I even exist?” or “What am I even doing with my life?” Moreover, we do not have any clue what the possible answers could be. We lose our way. We lose ourselves. We lose track of our purpose. This can be caused by certain factors that negatively affect our emotions in very significant ways such as the death of a loved one or rejection. Hormonal changes can also play a role especially to teenagers who often times suffer from an existential crisis. It could also be triggered by skyrocketing stress levels.

The brain is mainly affected when depression hits an individual. It is best to tackle heavy emotions before they manifest in a negative way and get out of hand. Opening up to a family, friends, or councilors can help release the heavyweight of negative emotions. Anti-depressants are given to patients to counter the condition. But once the effect has worn off, emotions go heavier than before. Another way to naturally and effectively fight depression is through Yoga.

Inhale Good Thoughts!
The brain can be stimulated with good thoughts and composure through awareness of breathing. Our mind and breathing are codependent. A change in one will directly affect the other. The mind is a complex paradox and intangible, but our breathing can be easily accessible.

Conscious breathing relaxes our fight or flight reflex. It allows the mind to ease out and the body will follow. Combining this with Yoga postures, which allows better blood circulation to the body and the brain, will surely kill those infesting thoughts and feelings. Here are some Yoga poses that can effectively boost your mood with positive energies!

Downward-Facing Dog/Adho Mukha Svanasana. This pose stretches the cervical spine and neck, releasing tensions both on your back and mind. It also stretches the back of the legs and develops core strength. Down-Dog is also very effective in boosting metabolism. This is the easiest form of inversion. Therefore, it sends freshly oxygenated blood to the brain.

How: Start with your hands and knees planted on the ground. Hands are shoulder-width apart, and knees are hip-width apart. Inhale as you lift your hips up by straightening your legs, forming an inverted V. Imagine that your hips are tied to a loop and being pulled up. Push through the shoulders while keeping your gaze at your toes or navel. Stay in this position for 3-5 breaths. Exhale as you bring your knees back to the ground to release.

Upward-Facing Dog/Urdhva Mukha Savansana. This pose is a very good chest opener. It stretches the whole front of the body, from head to toe. It decompresses tensed muscles and allows your back to relax.
How: Lie on your stomach and plant your hands beside your ribcage. Keep in mind that your toes should face against the floor. Slide your body forward and up by pushing against the floor and straightening your arms as you inhale. Remember to push your shoulders away from your ears and keep your gaze up or forward. Hold this position for 3-5 breaths and lay down on your stomach as you exhale to release.

Child Pose/ Balasana. This is the most calming and comforting pose in Yoga. It stretches the lower back, arms and quads.
How: Start by sitting on your heels and spreading your knees hip-width apart. Place your hands on the ground and inhale as you reach forward, allowing your torso to rest between your thighs. Rest your forehead on the ground and stay in this position as much as you desire.

Allow this simple practice to aid you in your healing process. There is no harm in trying these poses along with conscious and deep breathing. Yoga’s magnificent benefits are given to those who practice with good intentions and an open heart. Let composure wash your worries away. Create your own sacred space of healing and growth!

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