Yoga For Depression

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is one of the most common medical illness that doesn’t just affect an individual’s feelings, but also the way they think and their actions in their everyday life. It may cause a person’s sadness and usually, it manifests together with a loss of interest in activities a person once enjoyed. This type of mental illness can also cause different problems such as emotional and physical problems for an individual suffering from it. It also can greatly affect a person’s drive whether in the work setting or at home.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Sadness, loss of interest in different hobbies or activities previously enjoyed by an individual, appetite suddenly changes, weight gain or loss, difficulty in sleeping or sleeping too much, decreased energy or sudden fatigue, increased meaningless activities or slow movements and way of speaking, feeling of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty in making decisions and in worst cases suicidal thoughts or killing oneself. Depression symptoms are usually considered when it lasts for more than 2 weeks.

Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate help. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

What are the factors that cause depression?

Depression can happen to anyone considering the different factors affecting an individual.

  • Biochemistry: Imbalance in different chemicals in the brain can cause symptoms of depression.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to different factors in the environment like violence, and different types of abuse.
  • Genes: Depression is genetic, there is a big possibility for individuals who suffer from depression may have acquired it from their family members as they share genes.
  • The personality of the individual: An individual who suffers from low self-esteem can be easily affected by different stresses in his/her life.

How Is Depression Treated?

Depression is considered as one of the most treatable mental illnesses. According to a recent study done, 80-90% of individuals who suffer from depression have been observed to respond well to the treatment given to them. A very high percentage of patients were able to get some sort of relief from all the symptoms they experience.

Before an individual is being diagnosed or treated for depression, a medical professional should perform a complete assessment using a diagnostic tool for proper evaluation; it usually includes a physical examination and a one on one interview. Blood tests are done to make sure the symptoms of depressions is not just due to different medical problems like thyroid problems, brain tumor or deficiency in different vitamins or minerals in the body. Overall evaluation is done to make sure the specific symptoms and the other factors that affect the individual will help in diagnosis and help with creating a plan of treatment.

  • Medication – One of the most common factors that cause depression can be brain chemistry, medications like antidepressants are usually prescribed by medical practitioners to help an individual’s brain chemistry. Treatments usually last weeks or months depending on the severity of the individual’s depression. There is a possibility of a long-term treatment that will help decrease the recurring of the illness.
  • Psychotherapy – Psychotherapy is also known as “talk therapy”, it is often used to manage an individual’s depression together with medications, depending on the severity of depression. One of the therapies used for treating depression is Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy helps an individual’s way of thinking and dealing with distorted thinking properly. By addressing present issues and helping the individual with problem-solving, this type of therapy is found to be effective in managing depression.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy – Electroconvulsive Therapy is a type of treatment that is commonly used for medically treating severe depression that is not responsive to other treatments available. Its process involves mild electrical stimulation of an individual’s brain while under the influence of anesthesia. This type of treatment has been used since the beginning of the 1940s and it is properly done with a medical team consisting of an anesthesiologist, a psychiatrist, and a medical assistant.
  • Self-Help and Coping – As mentioned above, depression is treatable and there are different types of ways on how to treat it, different studies found out that yoga therapy is a great way of managing an individual’s depression.

Does Yoga Work To Help With Depression?

Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years by yogis around the world, with its origin traced back to India and it’s gaining a lot of popularity in other cultures recently. Yoga has been used to alleviate different types of illnesses. One of the known benefits of regularly practicing yoga is an improvement in an individual’s mental health. It could be a direct correlation wherein yoga can greatly affect and help improve a person suffering from depression. Can yoga be an effective way to deal with depression?

According to Dr. Mason Turner of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, depression can be treated with the help of regular practicing yoga. Yoga is known to affect not just the body but it also affects the individual’s spirit and mind. Different people use yoga to manage different issues, like stress, anxiety or depression. There are plenty of yoga classes available and it is advisable to check it out before enrolling in them.

According to recent studies about mental health, practicing yoga regularly offers different benefits which can help improve an individual’s energy. By performing yoga daily, stress can be greatly reduced. It can also help individuals who suffer from anxiety and depression. Yoga therapy can be powerful in treating depression as it complements the traditional ways of managing it like medication and psychotherapy.

How does yoga affect a person with depression?

When practiced correctly and consistently, yoga provides a lot of benefits. Many forms of yoga are done by properly performing a combination of poses and proper breathing techniques while being in a meditative state – which can greatly help reduce an individual’s depression. By being under the state of meditation, a person is able to clear their mind from all the clutter and results in reducing the stress they are currently experiencing. By performing different styles of poses, it also helps an individual improve and strengthen his/her body and mind state. According to recent studies, breathing exercises have been able to greatly reduce an individual’s depression symptoms. Deep controlled breathing helps an individual meditate and enter a calm state that results in the reduction of stress.

One study has noted that individuals who suffer from depression usually have low serotonin levels in the body. Seratonin, aka the feel-good hormone, helps to create feelings of happiness. Since yoga can help greatly with the body’s ability to increase its production of serotonin, it could help with the treatment of an individual’s depression.

Yoga can be a great way to manage a person’s depression because of its calming effect and it allows a person to relax. The poses and styles are flexible and there is always a style that works according to a person’s level, even a beginner can perform it on a regular basis. The yoga instructors will help an individual properly execute different poses by simultaneously performing proper breathing techniques and entering a deep concentration of the body, mind, and spirit. The individuals focus on positive images and the background music helps the person be calm and enter a state of relaxation.

Yoga For Depression

Why it might be a good choice:

  • Safe – When properly done, the general population can perform it without negative side effects.
  • Beneficial – It is beneficial to the individual. It affects the person’s holistic state.
  • Natural – It’s a 100% natural strategy to practice.

Why it might be a challenging choice:

  • Costly – Yoga studios are a bit costly, especially if a person may need regular yoga therapy.
  • Challenging – Beginners who have a limited knowledge and no background with yoga might find practicing the poses a bit difficult unless they have an experienced teacher.
  • Uncomfortable – Different styles and poses might be uncomfortable for an individual, so it is best to go around and check different classes to find what suits an individual’s preference.

Effective yoga poses for helping manage depression

Yoga greatly improves the circulation of endorphins in the body by properly executing different poses.

  • Downward-Facing Dog Pose – This pose is also known Adho Mukha Svanasana. It enhances blood circulation in the body. It helps reduce stress and results in decreasing anxiety levels while calming the body and the mind.
  • Child Pose – This pose is known as Balasana. This pose helps a person calm their mental state, therefore, relieving stress and anxiety levels accordingly.
  • Bound Angle Pose – This pose is also known as Baddha Konasana, by performing this pose, it helps improve an individual’s respiratory and circulatory system. It can also relieve mild depression.
  • Bridge Pose – This pose is also known as Sethu Bandhasana. Performing this pose helps strengthen an individual’s back muscles. It also helps reduce a person’s difficulty of sleeping and relieves the individual’s headache and backache.
  • Plow Pose – This pose is also known as Halasana. Known as one of the most calming poses for the nervous system, Halasana is perfect for decreasing strain on the back and it can help with an individual’s posture. By performing this pose, it helps calm the brain and help it reach a calm and relaxed state therefore greatly reducing one’s stress. It is also known for managing headaches and insomnia or difficulty of sleeping.
  • Corpse Pose – This pose is also known as Savasana, this pose is helpful in rejuvenating an individual’s body and helping a person relax. It is known to reduce blood pressure and it is effective in letting other poses integrate.
  • Upward-Facing Dog Pose – This pose is also known as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, this pose can help cure fatigue and mild depression. It affects an overall rejuvenating on an individual’s body. Stress formed in the back can be greatly reduced.
  • Standing Forward Fold Pose – This pose is also known as Uttanasana, this pose helps relieve neck, back, and shoulder tension. It is also known to improve different body systems such as the nervous system. It greatly reduces the anxiety levels of an individual and it also calms a person.

Depression is not just a feeling of being lonely or sad state of an individual, it is a real and serious illness that needs to be properly addressed and treated. Proper diagnosis and management are highly recommended. Individuals who suffer from depression may overcome it if it will be treated and managed accordingly. If a person is experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, it is advisable to consult a medical practitioner or psychiatrist. By being able to open up and voice out your concerns, it is a great start of addressing mental health issues.

As recent studies continue finding that yoga therapy is one of the effective ways to properly manage the symptoms a person suffering from depression is experiencing. It is a known, gentle activity that perfectly combines physical movements, breathing exercises and meditation. It usually helps a person to feel focused, relaxed, and less stressed. By being able to meditate and de-clutter your mind from all the stresses in life, yoga therapy greatly helps with relieving different symptoms of depression like loss of drive and energy, the difficulty of sleeping or insomnia, and feelings of sadness.

Any yoga style can be pursued depending on a person’s interest or preference, as long as it suits an individual’s level, it will be easier to perform on a regular basis. One thing to keep in mind, yoga can be a bit expensive, there is great content online, like videos, apps, and tutorials that are easy to follow and do. Before performing yoga or enrolling in different yoga classes, always make sure to consult a medical practitioner to ensure safe yoga practice.

If an individual prefers doing yoga in a private setting, a one-on-one session with an instructor or can be done at home while watching videos or following tutorials or apps.