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Yoga for Depression: Overview

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Written by Kshithij karan

Yoga is practiced by millions of people around the world and provides relaxation, health benefits, self-awareness, and various other benefits. While Yoga has always been seen as a calming activity that soothes the senses and provides clarity, its application in treating mental health conditions, especially under the guidance of a qualified therapist, is a relatively recent phenomenon. The stigma surrounding mental health continues to undergo significant challenges, and as individuals become increasingly aware of their own mental health concerns, such as depression, a variety of holistic therapeutic approaches incorporating yoga have emerged to address these contemporary issues. Yoga, by facilitating conscious body movement, breathing techniques, and other methods, has been proven to relieve symptoms of depression by elevating the mood, lightening your senses, and promoting enthusiasm and peace. 

Introduction to Yoga for Depression

Depression is a complex mental condition that is expressed differently in different people and has diverse consequences on personal and professional life. Thus, using Yoga as a means to reduce the effects of depression comes with its nuances. While Yoga is used for its general relaxing benefits, it is often adjusted and modified based on the energy and motivation of a person. One can engage with one's body, mind, and breath in different ways through Yoga, and what best suits an individual is something that is often discussed between a person and a mental health professional. It could be gentle or challenging, mild or intense, and focus on different parts of the body and mind. While you can enroll for yoga classes at gyms or fitness studios, healthcare centers, or even local community centers, you can also perform it alone at home with the advice of an expert.

How Does Yoga Affect Depression?

Studies show that Yoga has various benefits that help treat symptoms of depression. It has proven to be a great way to reduce the impact of stress on an individual. While stress is often unavoidable and comes from external factors, Yoga can be effective at balancing out our emotional state. It has also been shown to help with conditions such as anxiety and depression. Since Yoga is a well-developed self-soothing technique, it enables a person to take their mind off negative or anxiety-inducing thoughts by connecting with themselves. 

Another important aspect of Yoga is its ability to increase energy and enthusiasm in a person. A person struggling with depression often finds it difficult to engage in their own interests or passions, and a feeling of rejuvenation can go a long way in providing that positive push. A good body can also contribute to forming a fit mind, as Yoga comes with health benefits such as improved breathing and better body mechanics. It can help with concentration and self-awareness as well. 

How Yoga Therapy Works

The key aspect of yoga is its ability to guide a person in connecting with themselves and truly engage with the present moment. Through the process, it helps a person gain clarity and calm. When it comes to Yoga for treating depression, it is best conducted in a controlled environment with specific, focused goals and exercise techniques.

In order to improve the mood and attain relaxation, yoga aims to trigger the production of serotonin in the body. Performing techniques that focus on flowing and flexible body movements kick-starts this biological process. While engaging in smooth movements, there is also a focus on concentration. Yoga is also a great technique to manage the heart rate, something that is often challenging for people with depression. Through specific movements, an expert can help you achieve the ideal heart rate variance, providing a person more control over their reaction to stress-inducing scenarios.

Apart from exercises that encourage bodily movements, it can also focus on deep, controlled breathing or meditative methods to ease stress

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Styles of Yoga

Yoga presents a flexible and adaptive form of therapeutic exercise that fulfills the diverse requirements of a person coping with depression. With multiple styles and types, its diverse scope enables people to take advantage of it in their own unique way. 

Styles such as Hatha or Restorative Yoga focus on slow and gentle movements focusing on relaxation, while Vinsaya focuses on incorporating breathing with slow movements before picking up the pace. Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga are conducted in a hot room with the specific goal of regulating blood flow. Practices like Ashtanga and Kundalini use quick, sequenced exercises often combined with breathing techniques to get the body active and energized. Yin Yoga aims to bring flexibility and movement to your body, allowing a person to feel energized. 

Yoga Poses for Depression Relief

It is important to remember that going into therapy, there is no specific pose that will immediately lead to reduced depression symptoms. Once the therapist recognizes your challenges and provides a plan, you can then look to perform specific poses that help you tackle your issues as recommended by the expert. What is essential is that you feel relaxed, aware, and connected to your body and mind. When you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, you could either perform calming breathing exercises or go for the Vinyasa technique to provide flow. Remember, the best poses are the ones that work for you. Thus, it is normal for you to go through an initial trial period where you explore how your body and mind respond to different poses. 

Pros and Cons of Yoga Therapy

While Yoga has proven to be a great stress reliever and has the ability to help you balance your emotional state, it is important to note that Yoga for depression is often one part of a larger therapy program. Yoga’s soothing capabilities and energy-building approach are best experienced when used in conjunction with regular therapy modes, including one-to-one counseling and/or other forms of therapy, including family therapy, music therapy, etc. Also, while Yoga has various physical benefits, such as increased blood flow and muscle stability, performing Yoga without expert guidance can potentially cause injuries. It is imperative that you engage in different Yoga styles with the recommendations and advice of your mental health professional. 

Seeking Professional Guidance

Expert Yoga is available in multiple centers around us. However, in order to tackle concerns such as depression, a well-trained psychology expert is key to providing the right direction for treatment. A mental health professional is the most qualified individual to comprehend your concerns and tailor a therapy plan according to your unique challenges and interests. At Cadabams, we have several licensed professionals who are trained to facilitate the use of Yoga and other physical therapies to promote mental wellbeing and tackle depression

If you are searching for a solution to your problem, Cadabam’s Rehabilitation Centre can help you with its team of specialized experts. We have been helping thousands of people live healthier and happier lives for 30+ years. We leverage evidence-based approaches and holistic treatment methods to help individuals effectively manage their Depression. Get in touch with us today. You can call us at +91 96111 94949. 


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1. How does yoga help with depression?

Yoga helps alleviate symptoms of depression by helping a person relax, reducing stress, and improving mindfulness through the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

2. Are there specific yoga poses or sequences recommended for depression?

The specific Yoga poses that would help with depression depend on the specific challenges and symptoms that a person is going through. However, styles of Yoga such as Hatha, restorative yoga, Vinsaya, Ashtanga, and Kundalini are some examples of effective yoga styles against depression.

3. Can yoga be used as a standalone treatment for depression?

Yoga is most effective when utilized as a supportive and complementary approach to managing depression. As a treatment for depression, experts recommend integrating it with other treatments, like therapy and medication, for comprehensive care.

4. Is yoga suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels?

Yes, yoga can be adapted to accommodate various ages and fitness levels. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable type of yoga based on an individual's specific concerns and needs.

5. Are there any scientific studies supporting the effectiveness of yoga for depression?

Yes, numerous scientific studies have shown the effectiveness of yoga when used as a complementary approach along with typical therapy methods for managing depression.

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