At Lots of Yoga, we believe that yoga is integral to help alleviate and manage depression. Yoga can be a very useful tool for anyone who suffers from depression. The dual focus on mind and body in yoga can help you acquire balance, self awareness and healing with regular practice.
Yoga for Depression: 11 yoga poses to help with depression
Here are 11 yoga poses that can help alleviate the doom and gloom of depression and make you feel better at your own pace.
1. Balasana (Child's Pose)
Child's Pose relieves stress and fatigue as you stretch your spine, lower back and hips.
2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Cobra Pose boosts your mood and energy levels while strengthening your back and arms.
3. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Downward Facing Dog Pose helps with fatigue and focuses the mind while stretching and strengthening the entire body.
4. Virabhadrasana (Warrior I Pose)
Warrior I Pose eases stress and anxiety while strengthening the legs and core.
5. Viparita Virabhadrasana (Reverse Warrior Pose)
Reverse Warrior Pose helps focus the mind, energises the body while strengthening the legs and core.
6. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Bridge Pose boosts your mood, reduces anxiety and strengthens the spine.
7. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)
Wide-legged Forward Bend provides relief from headaches, fatigue and mild depression while stretching the legs and the spine.
8. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Standing Forward Bend calms the mind, helps relieve stress, depression, fatigue and anxiety, and strengthens the legs and spine.
9. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Reclining Bound Angle Pose stimulates the heart and improves blood circulation. This pose can provide relief from stress and depression while stretching the inner thighs and hips.
10. Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)
Legs-up-the-Wall Pose helps with anxiety, depression, headache and insomnia while gently stretching the legs and torso.
11. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Who doesn't love a good Savasana? Corpse Pose relaxes all physical and mental tension while it rejuvenates the mind and body.
The Benefits of Yoga for Depression
Depression affects approximately 350 million people in the world and is now considered one of the most common illnesses. The good news is that yoga's unique approach of combining mind and body can be a way of handling depression and we've got the latest scientific studies to back this up!
One recent study looked at measuring how effective group conscious yoga would be on anxiety, depression and stress in infertile women. Out of a group of 24 women, half were chosen to be part of the yoga and mindfulness course while the remaining 12 weren't. The researchers were able to demonstrate a marked reduction in stress and depression among the women who participated in the course.
In addition, two recent studies looked at yoga as an effective intervention for depression in pregnant women. In one study, a 10-week course of prenatal yoga was taught to 34 participants in the study. The study concluded that on average the severity of the womens' depression decreased after the course and that prenatal yoga proved to be a viable option to manage antenatal depression. In the second study, 46 pregnant women with symptoms of depression and anxiety were randomly assigned to an 8-week yoga intervention or asked to continue treatment as usual in order to examine how effective yoga was. The study showed that there was a significant reduction in negative effects of the women in the yoga group as compared to the women who were in treatment.
A study conducted recently in India looked at the effects that yoga had on depression in women who had stage II or stage III breast cancer. The results from 69 women were compiled (33 women who did yoga and 36 who were control participants). The study found a positive correlation between yoga and the decrease in depression scores of the participants. The study concluded that there were possible antidepressant effects in practicing yoga.
Depression is associated with low serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and elevated levels of serum cortisol. An interesting study published recently looked at whether yoga could possibly elevate serum BDNF levels and reduce serum cortisol in patients with depression. The study saw a significant improvement in serum levels of patients who underwent a course in yoga.
If you would like a more guided way to try yoga for depression but don't know where to start, here's a 30-minute yoga session by PsycheTruth.
You can also take a look at our array of hand picked yoga videos from the yoga community; we're sure you'll find something right up your alley. Incorporating yoga into your life on a daily basis can greatly help with depression, as well as the multitude of other benefits it can have on your inner and outer body and mind.
Do you have any yoga poses, sequences or practices that have helped with depression? We would love to hear your experiences! Be sure to get in touch.