Yoga for Anxiety and Depression

Last Updated on

Why Yoga is Increasing Becoming the Favorite Remedy for Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety affects millions of people worldwide. In the US, over 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders; this translates to roughly 18 percent of Americans aged 18 and above.

 Not to mention, even people who haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety medically suffer from occasional stress, anxiety, and tension. On the other hand, depression affects over 260 million people globally. It’s the leading cause of suicides each year. 

It’s normal for a person suffering from an anxiety disorder to be depressed and vice versa. Nearly 50 percent of the people diagnosed with depression also suffer from anxiety disorders.

While there are plenty of remedies for treating depression and anxiety symptoms, very few are as effective as yoga.

Yoga is undoubtedly one of the top remedies for treating anxiety and depression. By design, yoga allows you to direct your focus and attention to your body and breath. The practice helps reduce physical and mental tensions resulting from being depressed or anxious.

Yoga can help your body and mind slow down. Our bodies are designed to heal naturally; unfortunately, all that is stopped by the daily stressors of life. Yoga can dissolve all the stressors you face each day, and the effects can last several hours after.

Why Use Yoga as a treatment for Anxiety And Depression?

Anxiety and depression can be treated using a host of methods. However, most remedies that are supposed to deal with the problem aren’t effective. And this is where yoga fills the gap.

When most people hear about yoga, they think about the physical aspects of the practice, but yoga is much deeper than that. Yoga incorporates breathing exercises and is known to be as effective as meditation.

Most research shows that yoga can affect stress response, your reaction to fear and can calm centers of the brain are key to busting depression and anxiety. Also, slow breathing has been found to affect brain cells that control calm behaviour. All these  points show the growing body of evidence that yoga and meditation can treat specific mental health problems.

Using medication to deal with the symptoms of depression and anxiety is the first port of call for most patients. Unfortunately, the side effects produced are uncomfortable and undesirable to most patients. Moreover, over 30 percent of patients using medication become resistant to prescribed drugs after some time. 

As a result, most people living with anxiety or depression prefer alternative treatments over conventional medicine. Yoga is one of the reliable alternatives for treating these disorders. 

In short, yoga therapy is safe, inexpensive, and a long term solution for treating anxiety and depression symptoms. Most yoga practices contain many elements used in treating anxiety, such as cognitive reframing, relaxation techniques emphasizing breathing, mindfulness of sensory input, concentration, and dealing with distress, etc.

Benefits of yoga as a treatment for anxiety and depression

Many yoga practices are safe and effective remedies for dealing with anxiety and depression. However, some are strenuous and may not be appropriate, especially for the elderly or people with mobility issues. That’s why consulting a doctor before choosing yoga is highly advised.

All in all, many people prefer yoga when it comes to dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. Yoga enhances both your physical and mental health, and this is one of the reasons why it appeals to so many patients around the world. Here are some of the main reasons why yoga is the best remedy for treating stress, anxiety, and depression

1. It teaches you ways for breathing

Yoga helps you become aware of your breathing. When you are in control of your breath, you can deal with panic attacks, which limit your ability to breathe freely. Any time you notice signs of anxiety or you are feeling depressed, pay attention to your breathing using yoga. In short, enhanced breathing reduces anxiety and the impact of panic attacks. Any time you are anxious, try breathing in and out to feel better.

2. It helps you to become present at the moment

Yoga is a demanding practice. You have to be present in terms of concentration; otherwise, you can lose your position or balance. As a result, you need to concentrate on your body, and this helps treat anxiety or depression symptoms. Concentrating on the actual pose helps focus less on what’s on your mind and makes you live in the present moment. This is the key to freeing your mind from anxious thoughts.

3. It empowers to be in control

Your instructor plays a vital role in making you pose correctly. However, practicing yoga and experiencing yoga is all on you. You control every moment when practicing yoga. If you are depressed or anxious, you lack control, but with yoga, you can regain it. Yoga essentially empowers you to retake charge of your life.

4. It enhances your self-confidence

Some of the yoga poses will naturally improve your self-confidence. Postures such as the crow or headstand can improve your confidence if you can perform them unaided. Performing these poses can undoubtedly increase your self-esteem and help you deal with anxiety and depression.

5. Releases tension

When you are anxious or depressed, it’s only natural to be tensed up in your shoulders, back, and neck. Yoga aids you to let go of the tensions, making you become more open and feel freer.

6. Aids insomnia

Depressed and anxious people have insomnia. Yoga makes you aware of your breathing and helps calm your mind. When you practice yoga, you’ll feel more relaxed, and your body will be ready for sleep.

7. Improves digestion

Lots of yoga poses directly stimulate the abdominal area, helping digestion. Stress, tension, and anxiety can have a negative influence on your metabolism. Stimulating the stomach region yoga is known to improve your digestion

8. Stimulates blood flow

Upside down poses enhance blood flow to your head, helping detoxify your adrenals. Stimulating your adrenals is critical in decreasing depression symptoms. These glands are vital to your well being because the produce hormones needed to fight stress

9. peace and calm

Practicing yoga can bring about feelings of calmness and peace. The combination of deep movements, calm environment, gentle instructions, and incredible music, work in tandem to promote ultimate tranquility. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, all you need is to practice yoga and be tranquil again.

Yoga poses for calming Anxiety

Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

The eagle pose helps shift your focus from mind toward the body’s healing and recalibration. The pose helps in quieting your mind and bringing focus to your body. Try the eagle pose for 30 to 60 seconds on both your sides.

Headstand pose

Headstand pose helps reduce anxiety by reversing your blood flow and compelling you to focus on your body and breathing in the present. Though the headstand looks challenging, beginner yogis can try it out with the help of an instructor. The pose is flexible and accessible. For instance, you can perform it against the wall to start.

Child Pose

Child poes is one of the first resting poses for yoga. The pose involves sitting on your knees and bending forward, stretching your arms forward, or on your side. The pose is known to be very self-soothing and comforting. Lying on your belly can help ease anxiety besides slowing your mind down.

Corpse pose

Any time you are feeling stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed, lie down flat and ensure your arms are on your side. Focus on your breath for several minutes and watch yourself relax to the fullest. This method empowers you to focus on your breath as you watch your belly go up and down.

Half-moon pose

Inorder to promote focused awareness and a calm mind, the half-moon is all you need. With this pose, you sit in a balanced posture with one leg raised at 90 degrees and one hand touching the floor. This pose removes your attention from your mind to the body thereby easing anxiety and depression

Tree pose

Before delving into half mood and eagle poses, beginner yogis are advised to start with the tree poise. Mainly, the posture involves standing in a balanced manner, and it helps pose concentration and calm a racing mind. Whenever you are in a tree pose, and your mind is racing, you’ll likely fall over

Leg up the wall pose

This a simple yet effective anxiety stopping method for beginners that can aid you in escaping the trappings of the thinking mind. You don’t have to be reliable or flexible to perform this pose. The pose is very calming and relaxing, especially to your nervous system.

Forward bend pose

Forward bend pose is an active posture for calming your nervous system. The position soothes the mind and offers the upper body a channel for tension release.

Fish pose

The fish pose is a highly recommended therapy for busting anxiety and fatigue. This pose also helps you stretch your shoulder and back. If you’re a beginner, place a thick blanket beneath your head to support your neck to avoid discomfort.

More info about yoga poses.

Yoga poses for depression.

Forward fold (Uttanasana).

This pose removes any depression in your mind of you hold it for at least two minutes or more

Head -to knee forward bend (Janu Sirsasana). 

The seated forward fold is excellent for calming your mind. It stretches your hamstrings and groin besides stimulating your liver and kidneys.

Cobra (Bhujangasana)

The backbend pose can be executed in stages. It helps expand your chest and provides elasticity to your lungs.

Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) 

The bridge pose involves bending backward. It helps open your chest, strengthen your legs and stimulates your lung thyroid and abdominal organs, 

Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)

Sirsaana is usually referred to as the king of all asana. The inversion turns your body upside down and provides your brain cells with fresh blood flow. You have to focus and be attentive when doing this pose, which means it’s a great opportunity to pause your thoughts and have a fresh perspective,

Takeaway

There’s plenty of scientific literature supporting the use of yoga as an effective cure for anxiety and depression symptoms.Studies show that yoga can help deal with anxiety, stress, and depression. Yoga incorporates both mediation and controls physical movements designed to stimulate both your mind and body. It fosters deep breathing and body stretching, which are vital elements in fighting symptoms of anxiety and depression. Whether you have insomnia, you are dealing with pain, or you have lost your zest for life, yoga can help you regain your life back.

No matter the style of yoga you select, you can tweak the poses to match your level. You can find yoga classes in plenty of places like studios, community centers, hospitals, etc. If you can’t access such facilities, then you can rely on instructional videos on youtube and other apps. Ultimately, practicing yoga can be your key to getting rid of depression and anxiety from your life for good. If you would like to take things a step further and train to be a yoga teacher with us here in Costa Rica, we have you covered.