Yoga for Coping with Depression

Yoga for Coping with Depression

Depression and anxiety affect millions of people around the world. They’re not just sadness, they are often debilitating physical, mental, and emotional changes that can negatively impact people’s day-to-day lives. While there are many different treatment options for depression and anxiety, there are numerous ways that yoga can help you recover from them.

To help our community heal from depression and anxiety, we’ve put together a list of the 5 best ways to recover from depression using yoga. You’ll learn the most powerful ways our bodies achieve balance and find true wellness through this guided meditation, deep breathing, and stretching routine.

Open up the blockages with yoga poses

Asana practice helps begin the process of becoming more comfortable in your body, one of the most important prerequisites for calming your nervous system and creating emotional balance. Take your physical baseline: How relaxed or tense do you feel? Do you have areas of chronic physical tension? If so, where are they? The neck, shoulders, back, and abdomen are typical places where physical tension or tightness occurs. However, with regular practice of yoga asana, you connect more with your body, and you feel the difference between physical tension and relaxation.

Balance the energies with pranayama

Emotional imbalance can show up in many ways, such as low self-esteem, constant worrying, insomnia, persistent body-image issues, chronic pain disorders, or a general sense of malaise. It can stem from things like difficult family issues, abusive relationships, stressed-out parents, financial or social strain, and spiritual alienation. The mind has earned a reputation as a major contributor to anxiety and depression and remains a focus of most modes of psychotherapy.

The good news is that yoga has the answer to every modern problem, to tackle the problems in mind, yoga has pranayama. Pranayama and breathing practices help us develop an awareness of the subtle force within the body, and direct the mind to become aware of the subtle activities which ultimately enhances our capacity to handle any situation with ease.

Let’s take some time to explore the four types of emotional imbalance in greater depth.

Emotional Type 1: Anxious Body/Anxious Mind

The Anxious Body/Anxious Mind form of emotional imbalance means that you have anxiety in both your body and your mind.

Emotional Type 2: Depressed Body/Depressed Mind

The Depressed Body/Depressed Mind form of emotional imbalance means that you feel depressed in both your body and your mind.

Emotional Type 3: Depressed Body/Anxious Mind

Depressed Body/Anxious Mind, is more common than the second. This first form of mixed emotional imbalance, which means that you have physical symptoms of depression but mental signs of anxiety.

Emotional Type 4: Anxious Body/Depressed Mind

The Anxious Body/Depressed Mind type of emotional imbalance involves the physical symptoms of anxiety but the mental characteristics of depression.

Before every practice, Bali Yoga Ashram recommends you take a few moments in a quiet space to tune in to your body and mind. If required, review the four types of emotional imbalance mentioned above so you can tailor your practice to how you’re feeling at the moment.

Checking your emotional state also helps you identify physical discomfort, which can turn on your sympathetic system. If you feel uncomfortable during a yoga pose, consider the possible sources of your discomfort. Your discomfort could be emotional, because strong emotions have surfaced during the practice or it could purely be physical, either because you’re not supporting yourself fully, or because the yoga pose itself is not right for you.

Find the anxiety-balancing posture sequence at the end of this blog before that check out more ways yoga helps cure depression.

Learn how to access your senses with Pratyahara

Learning the processes of changing our breathing can have a very positive impact on the underlying emotions. Patanjali then offers the practice of pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), which is the fifth limb. The practice of pratyahara begins when a human moves beyond instinctual response and sense memory to more mindfulness-based living. This allows them to better respond to what is happening in the present instead of always basing their judgments on past experiences alone. Pratyahara begins the process of addressing our primal human fear in the realm of the manomayakosha (mind) and works on vrittis (latent tendencies). As senses are trained inward, we can more clearly address the source of our fears—sometimes even those that have evolved over lifetimes.

Meditate your way out!

Meditation is any technique that brings us to a one-pointed focus and meditation doesn’t erase difficulty but instead illuminates it. When the body stays in one place, our baggage comes flying out of storage. This happens almost before we begin meditation and in meditation, we learn to observe each one of them without getting affected by it. If you look at each and every thought and accept it, 90% of depression-causing thoughts will be gone. Hence, learning meditation from a good meditation yoga teacher can help you come out of depression.

Knowledge of the true self reprograms the neural pathway

Depression and anxiety are the results of repeated thought patterns which don’t serve us right and reprogramming these neural pathways of the mind help us reach fearless fulfillment. All the difficult situations in our life happen for us; it happens through us, and it requires a good deal of surrender.

One of the easiest ways to deal with depression is to not create any other thoughts and surrender oneself completely by dispelling the avidya. What the Yoga Sutras refer to as Ishwara Pranidhana. In that surrender comes the remembering of who we are: spiritual beings having a human journey.

Anxiety-Balancing Posture Sequence

  1. Child’s Pose
  2. Reclining Twist
  3. Inversion Pose
  4. Side-Lying Pose
  5. Legs-up-the-Wall Pose
  6. Face-Down Relaxation Pose

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