Yoga is a great form of exercise that helps us deal with depression and anxiety. Yoga teacher training uses different body posture or poses, breathing exercises and meditation to stretch, strengthen and bring balance to your body and mind which provides a sense of inner harmony. Yoga teaching is not a replacement for psychiatric or psychological treatment. Many forms of depression and anxiety will need more treatment and medication, but yoga can become a tool to help.
Yoga has specific poses which aid in the relief of depression and anxiety symptoms. Some yoga teaching will show how some poses make you feel good by stimulating the nervous system and with a more holistic approach, moves the prana or life energy back into balance with your mind and body. It is proven that all forms of physical activity will help reduce stress and it also produces endorphins in your body.
Styles of Yoga
There are different styles of yoga and a normal class will include a variety of poses that are all designed to twist, fold, restore, balance and strengthen your body. Yoga teacher training focuses on some styles like Ashtanga yoga where you challenge your body by linking some of the poses together with your breath and you are pushed through these complex poses. Restorative yoga will use props such as blankets and pillows that will help support your in a gentle stretching poses for a few minutes at a time. People that suffer from anxiety could benefit from gentler yoga style where people that suffer from depression may have better reactions to a faster paced style of yoga that includes inverting and twisting poses. The best way to find out what style of yoga teaching works best for you is to try out different style to see what feels best.
Yoga poses may help your body in more than just one way. There are some poses that are more beneficial and they energize your body by relieving fatigue and also calming you. Some of those poses are listed here:
Back bending Pose/Bridge- will energize the body with relieving fatigue and leaving you feeling calm. This is a good pose if you also suffer from head or backaches. You begin by rolling onto your back with your feet on the floor just a few inches from your hips. Your knees and feet should be parallel during the posture. Slowly raise your hips toward the ceiling and clasp your hands together under your back. Make sure to avoid pushing your neck and head into the floor. You can use a block or blanket under your hips for more support.
Dolphin Pose-the pose looks like an inverted V. You begin with your elbows on the floor under your shoulders and simultaneously it will relieve depression and fatigue.
Handstands/Inversions- are a great pose for those battling depression. Any kind of pose where you are upside down will stimulate the brain and build confidence in your which helps find a new perspective.
Standing Forward Bend- this pose is great and can be a deep tension releaser if you allow your knees to soften to accommodate tight hamstrings. Begin from a standing position and reach your hands slowly toward your feet. Let your upper body hang down; relax your head, neck, shoulders back and chest. You can stand in a forward bend for up to a minute. Slowly rise out of the pose and back to standing as a neutral position.
Some of the yoga poses you can practice with your yoga teaching will be calming and are more suited for relieving anxiety.
Bow Pose- begin this pose by grabbing ankles from behind with your belly on the floor.
Child’s Pose- begin this pose seated on claves and ankles with your head and face down and arms stretched out straight in front of you.
Cow/Cat pose- begin on your hands and knees and simply shift your belly down for cow pose and with an inhale and shifting your back to the ceiling up with an exhale into cat pose.
People that suffer from anxiety and depression should consider trying yogic meditation and breathing exercises. Physical activity combined with meditation for stress release can be a wonderful combination for you. Yoga teacher training has students focus on smoothing out their breath through inhales and exhales. The act of concentrating on your breath will help you become more present which is part of the meditation.