yoga and depression | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

Can yoga help you with depression?

Yoga and depression are an excellent treatment regime. Yoga can be a powerful aid to help you deal with depression, because yoga involves stretching muscles, controlled breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques like meditation. Yoga creates a mind-body connection that has far-reaching health benefits.

Yoga helps realign energies in your body.

Yoga can help you deal with body pains associated with depression. Yoga is part physical exercise which stretches your muscles through various body poses. Stretching muscles relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation.

Yoga postures condition your body to move energy up and down the spine. Yoga mudra is a yoga movement that holds energy or concentrates awareness on particular parts of the body. This is great with depression because muscles tend to cramp up or feel weak. Energy movement often feels conflicted or blocked in the body. When the body feels weak, or lacking energy, gentle stretching of muscles is an easy way to shift energies of the body and bring back a feeling of energy. 

Yoga breathing soothes anxiety.

Yoga is also about controlled breathing. When you’re anxious, stressed, or depressed, breathing becomes short, sharp, and shallow. Yoga breathing involves taking deep breaths, and being aware of one’s breathing. Deep breaths mean more oxygen to the lungs, and thus more oxygen and energy to muscles and deep tissues.

Concentrating on how one breathing helps soothe anxiety. Yoga induces a soothing state of calm that reduces the body’s stress response system. By being mindful of thoughts, a person can sharpen attention and concentration. This calms the mind and centres the nervous system. When a person is less anxious, blood pressure is reduced and heart rate lowered.

How many times should you do yoga?

You don’t have to do yoga too much to get benefits. If all you can do are 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or an hour it all benefits you. Even if you practice yoga for one hour a week, you’ll get the full benefits. Practicing yoga breathing for 10 minutes every day can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and improve relaxation. Stretching each day makes your muscles flexible which makes your body less prone to injury. This is great with depression and anxiety because the body is experiencing physical stress. Pulled muscles, sore backs, aches and pains are not uncommon. Yoga stretching helps prevent some of these muscle pains.

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