What yoga poses help in treating depression?

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Yoga Poses Do Help in Treating Depression

“What yoga poses help in treating depression?” is a question that will occur naturally to you if you believe that depression is not just in your head. Fortunately, mind-body medicine and the emerging field of psychoneuroimmunology are bringing the issue of the unity of the mind and the body to the forefront of modern science. Doing yoga poses (called yoga asanas in Sanskrit) accomplishes more than improving our flexibility. Yoga poses serve to invigorate the physiology. They promote the generation and free flow of our life force.

Yoga poses promote neuromuscular integration. Through this highly refined type of movement, we affect the state of our nervous system, and this, in turn, affects us at the level of the mind. Yoga integrates the mind and the body. While strengthening our physical core, yoga poses invigorate us from the inside out. They improve the flexibility of both the body and the mind. Other exercise techniques may come and go, but yoga postures have withstood the test of time.

Woman doing Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Woman doing Downward-Facing Dog Pose

This article lists out several yoga poses that can relieve depression to a great extent. Under each yoga pose, we have provided a link to a YouTube video, each ranging from 2-6 minutes in duration, which can teach you the nitty-gritty of how to do that pose. Then we list out the contraindications and benefits of each yoga pose. If you find that you have one of the conditions that are a contraindication for that particular pose, then you can consult a yoga expert and in most cases they can give you tips on how to get around that problem with a few modifications to the way you go about attaining and maintaining the yoga pose.

A Note of Caution

Before we dive into the actual yoga poses, it is important to note that these yoga poses are not meant to be a substitute for whatever medication and/or therapy you may be taking/undergoing for your depression. The yoga poses are best seen as boosters to your treatment, which will help you get that extra added benefit that can make the difference between having a good mood and a great mood. In some cases, where the medication and/or therapy is not helping fully, these yoga poses can give that extra edge to start feeling better.

Also, do not attempt to attain the perfect pose as depicted in the YouTube videos, especially if you are a beginner, otherwise you risk injuring yourself because your body will not be that flexible to begin with. It suffices if you try to attain as much of the pose as you comfortably can in its general direction. It goes without saying that it will be even better if you learn these poses under the guidance of a yoga instructor.

Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 4:40-min YouTube video –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ep5VzGqDRU

Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply.

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Pregnancy, especially late stages
  • Slipped disc
  • Vertigo

Benefits

  • Stretches the neck and cervical spine, releasing the stress in them; calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Energizes the body enabling fresh blood flow into your body
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Strengthens your abdominal muscles, stimulates abdominal organs and improves digestion
  • Relieves sleeplessness, back pain, and fatigue
  • Therapeutic for asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 4-min YouTube video –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQtfujS-BhY

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Slipped disc
  • Weak elbows and wrists
  • Spondylosis

Benefits

  • Energizes and rejuvenates the body, providing relief from fatigue and mild depression
  • Stretches the chest and spine, while strengthening the wrists, arms, and shoulders
  • Improves blood circulation to the entire body
  • Improves posture and can be therapeutic for asthma
  • Creates suppleness in the back and abdomen, which stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion
  • Tones the lower part of the body, helping to relieve sciatica

Upward-Facing Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 2:50-min YouTube video –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGxrBGWAesA

Hold for 5 to 10 seconds if you can. If not, come in and out of it two or three times. To come out, bend your knees and elbows and slowly lower your body to the floor.

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Back injury
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Heart problems
  • High or low blood pressure

Benefits

  • Increases energy and counteracts depression
  • Stretches the chest and lungs
  • Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine
  • Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
  • Therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis

Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 4:13-min YouTube video –

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmxK1hEWfHE

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Pregnant or menstruating women
  • Hernia
  • Back injury

Benefits

  • Calms you and reduces anxiety, fatigue, and depression
  • Allows fresh oxygen-rich blood to flow easily to your brain
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Helps in toning abdominal muscles
  • Strengthens and stretches hamstrings
  • Increases flexibility of hip and knee
  • Helps with infertility, headaches, and insomnia

Bridge Pose (Sethu Bandhasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 3:02-min YouTube video on it –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZyBkVBUlG4

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Disc injuries
  • Spondylitis
  • Injured or sore back
  • Knee replacement
  • Osteoporosis, severe
  • Migraine
  • Pregnancy

Benefits

  • Gives calmness to the brain, reduce the level of anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Opens up your lungs and reduces thyroid problems and improves digestion
  • Strength to your back muscles
  • Relieves the tired back instantly
  • Stretches chest, neck, and spine

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 2:44-min YouTube video on it –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MJGg-dUKh0

Be in this position for a few minutes.

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Injuries to knees or ankles
  • Spondylitis
  • Vertigo
  • Slipped disc
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Full stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Pregnancy

Benefits

  • More blood flows into the brain, creating a calming and soothing effect on the mind, and thus relieves anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Stretches the ankles, feet, quads, and hips, as well as the entire back, shoulders, and neck
  • Relieves back and neck pain
  • Massages the abdominal muscles and internal organs, especially the digestive system, and thus aids digestion and stimulates excretion

Shoulder Stand Pose (Sarvangasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 1:45-min YouTube video –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qgWm_rw7BE

Stay in this pose for several minutes.

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Menstruation
  • Neck injury
  • Pregnancy

Benefits

  • Balances the emotions by quieting and nourishing the nervous system and relieving stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Stimulates the thyroid and prostate glands and abdominal organs
  • Improves blood circulation in the spine, brain, pelvic area and is beneficial during menstrual cramps and urinary disorders
  • Massages the visceral organs and strengthens the abdomen – thus, prevents sagging of the abdomen, improves digestion and facilitates excretion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 1:44-min YouTube video –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hZPbqFbCU4

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Chronic constipation
  • Heart ailments
  • Back problems
  • Spondylosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Pregnant or menstruating
  • Abdominal ulcer
  • Asthma
  • Sciatica
  • Slipped disc

Benefits

  • Energizes you, making you feel more alive and less depressed
  • Makes the spine flexible, strengthens the thighs
  • Stimulates the spinal nerves and back muscles
  • Reduces girth and slims down the waist and abdomen
  • Helps to develop appetite
  • The massage of the abdominal organs improves digestion and prevents constipation and flatulence
  • Good for digestive, gastric and intestinal problems, seminal weaknesses, piles and dyspepsia
  • Good for kidney, liver, spleen and adrenal glands

Plow Pose (Halasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 6:12-min YouTube video –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojJdwFQdw8A

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Chronic constipation
  • Heart ailments
  • Back problems
  • Spondylosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Pregnant or menstruating

Benefits

  • One of the most quieting poses for the nervous system; relieves irritability, stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Reduces the strain on your back and enhances your posture
  • Relieves headache
  • Relieves sleeplessness
  • Useful for asthma, bronchitis
  • Stimulates the reproductive organs
  • Helps women during menopause
  • Good for dyspepsia
  • The overall function of the endocrine system is improved

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

How to Do

To see how it is done, watch and learn from this 5:03-min YouTube video –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh8z3FHjdW4

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Those with back issues can do the pose with a bolster under their knees.
  • Those with a reverse curve in their necks should place a small rolled blanket under the neck.
  • The body should be warm in Savasana. If the environment is cold, cover the body with a blanket.
  • Keep the room dark or cover the eyes with an eye bag or bandage.

Benefits

  • Relaxes the mind completely and relieves anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Relaxes the body
  • Reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia

Sources

https://www.siddhiyoga.com/

https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/yoga-poses-that-will-help-you-fight-depression/#gref

https://www.yogajournal.com

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/feel-happier

Liebler, N., & Moss, S., 2009. Healing depression the mind-body way: creating happiness through meditation, yoga, and, Ayurveda. 1st ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

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What yoga poses help in treating depression?
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What yoga poses help in treating depression?
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“What yoga poses help in treating depression?” is a question that you will sometimes ask. Yoga poses serve to invigorate the physiology by promoting our life force.
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DepressionPedia.org
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3 COMMENTS

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