Depression is a lack of energy, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Yoga and depression help balance you by relieving painful muscles, balancing your hormone levels, and bringing you back into the present moment. Yoga lets you clear your mind for a little while. Controlled, focused body movements create mindfulness. Mindfulness relieves anxiety and depression. Breathing exercises help bring oxygen levels back up in your body, which help heal aching muscles.

How does yoga help depression?

Yoga increases serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is one of your body’s happiness chemicals. Depressed people have low serotonin levels. Gentle movement or exercise is one way to increase serotonin.

There are many types of yoga. Some are more vigorous than others. Gentle yoga exercises reduce stress and anxiety in a person by slowly stretching muscles and releasing more serotonin. The different body poses, breathing techniques, and mediation help with depression and lack of concentration. Yoga has been used for people with long-term pain to help lessen their depression and increase pain tolerance.

Yoga and your heart

Yoga changes your heart rate and blood pressure. Depressed people tend to have high blood pressure and fast heart rate, putting them at risk for stroke and heart attack. If a depressed person is taking antidepressant medications, then the risk of heart attack and stroke increases because many antidepressants are hard on the heart.

“The heart is a vulnerable space,” says Kimberly Wilson, author of Hip, Tranquil Chick: A Guide to Life On and Off the Yoga Mat. “Back bends help expand the heart center and help you exude confidence and grace.” Back bends ease breathing and improve posture. Back bends reduce stress by releasing the tension held in the tissues of the whole chest and lung region of the body.

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