Can Yoga Help Depression? - Aura Wellness Center

Can Yoga Help Depression?

teaching yoga for depressionBy Kimaya Singh

How can yoga help depression? There are many different ways that yoga can help to ease the symptoms of depression. For one, the practice can help increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical known to play a role in mood and emotion. By increasing levels of serotonin, yoga can help to lift someone’s mood and improve their overall emotional state.


Health Maintenance System

Yoga is a complete health maintenance system that reduces stress and anxiety, two common symptoms of depression. The deep breathing and relaxation techniques learned in yoga can help calm the mind and body, relieving the negative thoughts and feelings associated with depression. Finally, yoga can promote positive thinking and a positive outlook on life.


Positive Thinking

The focus on positive thinking in yoga can help shift someone’s focus away from negative thoughts and towards more positive ones. This change in perspective can be very beneficial for those struggling with depression. When you’re depressed, it’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts and start believing that there’s nothing good in your life.


If you can start thinking more positively, it can help break the cycle of negativity and give you a more hopeful outlook. There’s no guarantee that positive thinking will cure your depression, but it can certainly help. If you’re not sure how to get started, try some of these tips:

1. Focus on the good things in your life, no matter how small they may seem.

2. Write down your positive thoughts in a journal or notebook.

3. Talk to a friend or therapist about your positive thoughts and feelings.

4. Visualize yourself achieving your goals and living a happy life.


Coping with Depression

Depression is a serious mental illness that can have a profound effect on every aspect of a person’s life. It is characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from social interactions, and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for depression, many people find that incorporating yoga into their lives can help manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

Effective Treatment

Yoga involves physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for several mental and physical health conditions, including depression. Yoga may help depression by improving mood, increasing self-esteem, reducing stress, and promoting relaxation.


How it Works

The physical postures and breathing exercises can help to relieve tension in the body and calm the mind. The meditation component of yoga can also help to clear the mind and promote a sense of peace and well-being. If you are considering using yoga to help with your depression, it is important to consult with your mental health professional first. They can help you determine if yoga is right for you and provide guidance on how to get started.

Understanding Depression

Feeling under the weather or down in the dumps does not indicate depression. Depression exists entirely on another level and causes symptoms of extreme sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and endless fatigue. In severe cases, people with clinical depression no longer want to live, thus resulting in suicide. Doctors prescribe drugs, group therapy, and psychotherapy, but depression does not let go of the mind so quickly.


Yoga for Depression

Yoga benefits people in various ways, from alleviating stress and tension to calming the mind. The brain works overtime during the depression, always thinking and causing a disconnected state with the body. Yoga quiets the mind, creates an inner calm, and puts people in touch with their inner selves and purposes in life.


About GABA

Chris Streeter, an MD and an associate professor at Boston University School of Medicine, talked about the benefits of hatha yoga for depression at a meeting with the American Psychiatric Association in 2010. A 12-week study showed an increase in GABA levels in people who participated in hatha yoga for one hour three times a week. People with depression have decreased levels of GABA, the brain chemical that puts the brakes on anxiety.

How Yoga Helps

Hatha yoga focuses on building physical and mental strength through slow-paced movement and breathing exercises (pranayama). This yogic practice differs from vinyasa, which flows from pose to pose. Due to Hatha Yoga’s nature, it gives a student time to hold a pose, and meditation take place around the end of the class. Depending on the type, teacher, and style, some sessions involve more meditation, seated postures, and breath awareness exercises. With complete focus on the mind and breath, a student can learn to reduce stress and achieve states of inner calm.


Breathing During the Day

People with anxiety and depression do not often take deep breaths. Most people who are experiencing mental and emotional stress do not breathe correctly at all. Yoga ensures proper breathing through standing, seated, resting, and balancing poses. Concentration on posture or movement helps give one’s mind the power to tackle one thing at a time, and focused breathing delivers vital oxygen to the body and the brain.

Yogic Methods

Yoga poses, mantra, meditation, and other yogic practices improve the symptoms of depression. Vinyasa stimulates the nervous system and helps burn off anxious and nervous energy. Hatha combines both stretching and breathing exercises to calm and strengthen the mind. No matter the yogic activity, it improves a person’s ability to focus, breathe, and relax. Therefore, yoga can help people dealing with depression, but there is no room for error here. Those at risk should not be self-prescribing, and professional counseling with an expert should be sought without delay.


Side Notes for Teachers

Unless you are a psychiatrist or psychologist, you should not be in the position of a consultant. Some new students may arrive due to referrals from professional counselors, but what do you do if one of your established students is suddenly dealing with a state of depression? The logical course of action is to advise anyone suffering from depression to seek counseling from a professional first.

Adjunct Therapy

Yoga is an excellent adjunct therapy for emotional and mental health, but our field as Yoga teachers is not about counseling patients. No one knows precisely how many lives are saved by proper counseling, but it is a fact that counseling prevents suicide. The last thing any of us wants is to aid anyone at risk with excuses, denial, or procrastination.


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2 thoughts on “Can Yoga Help Depression?”

  1. I have been suffering from depression, sometimes when i got home after a hard day of work and this yoga routine is really helping me calm down and relax. Thank you for sharing your blog.

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