In this blog, we will try and answer the following questions about yoga for fighting depression:
- An understanding of what is depression
- An understanding of the symptoms of depression and the role of Yoga for depression battling
- The various yoga poses which can help in fighting depression
- A note on the benefits of meditation for helping with depression
The lives that we live today have pushed us into the black hole of stress and anxiety. When either of these becomes too much to handle, a person starts showing early signs of symptoms. It will be surprising to realise but depression is pretty common these days.
Even the most normal person around shows signs of mild clinical depression. It will not be an exaggeration to say that depression is the new normal for us. We are so used to having it that we do not realise that we need help.
It is for this reason that most of the times, mental health as a concern is put on a backburner. We usually end up thinking that we are just sad or maybe that is nothing but a part of who we are. However, the approach is wrong. We need attention. And while all of us may not be as comfortable with going to a therapist for help, yoga for depression is a good alternative to turn to!
Understanding Depression & Role of Yoga for Depression
Depression may be defined as a persistent feeling of severe despondency & dejection. It is a major disorder that negatively affects the way one feels, acts, thinks, and perceives life. According to psychology, depression resonates with a mood or emotional state marked by feelings of low-self worth or guilt and a reduced ability to enjoy life. The term “depression” is often confused with sadness or melancholy, which is disturbing given how these things are very different. Grief or sadness is often characterized by intermixed feelings of positive memories, unlike depression which embodies worthlessness and self-loathing.
We have found that through constant practice of Yoga poses for depression and meditation, one can significantly control this emotional upheaval and counter the signs of depression. We shall be discussing three really beneficial yoga poses for depression in this blog and also talk about the impact that meditation has on depression.
However, before that, let us look at some of the major symptoms of Depression.
Symptoms of Depression
- A feeling of emptiness or hopelessness tearfulness :
People suffering from depression consistently feel a void of emptiness in their hearts. They are secluded from the outside world and have a sense of dejection for life. Their life seems to be sinking in the middle of an ocean, with no anchor to save their ship. (thereader.com) Hopelessness is a constant companion for them.
- Angry outbursts, irritability, frustration:
Depression is often characterized by mood swings, fluctuations of emotions, angry outbursts, and so on. The basic emotional stability of a healthy human mind is missing in a depressed mind. A constant state of restlessness and irritability, coupled with frustration and anger, can also be witnessed in some cases.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most normal activities
People suffering from depression lose their natural reflex of pleasure and enthusiasm in life. Normal activities, which they must have been coveting all their live, suddenly turns mundane and they lose interest in most of such things.
- Tiredness and lack of energy
This is one of the most common symptoms of depression and anxiety. A persistent restless and tired mind witnesses fatigue and lack of energy all the time. In most cases, insomnia and disruptions in sleeping patterns are also seen. These factors cumulatively contribute to tiredness.
- Reduce appetite & weight loss
Aversion to food and loss of appetite is also a pervasive symptom of depression. Feeling low and depressed does not necessarily excite the body to follow a normal lifestyle, including eating habits, which leads to weight loss. A depressed person is usually emaciated and down all the time.
- The downgrading of Cognitive ability:
Depression usually induces the patient to repel positivity and natural thought process. Cognitive abilities are badly impacted by the same, resulting in the depletion of mental and emotional stability. Inability to concentrate, the difficulty of completing tasks, delayed responses, etc, are some of the symptoms of a depressed mind
- Changes in sleep pattern:
As mentioned earlier, depression truly deranges the entire sleep pattern. Due to the apprehensions and negative thoughts haunting the mind constantly, people suffer from severe insomnia because of this emotional instability.
3 Important Yoga Poses for Fighting depression
Yoga and meditation have proven to be impeccably effective in calming down the restless mind and providing a sense of self, to live in the moment, irrespective of any judgments or preconceived notions. Some of the notable Yoga Asanas for depression are as under :
Half Moon Pose( Ardha Chandrasana)
The moon has a rich symbolic significance in yoga mythology, which is considered as an embodiment of serenity and calmness. Ardha Chandrasana has proven to be effective in cooling down the distressed and unstable mind, bringing in a sense of rejuvenation and energy. It exhibits calm and soothing energies which help in improving Co-ordination and sense of balance. It opens up the body, encouraging better posture and improved self-esteem.
Legs-up-the-wall-pose (Viparita Karani):
This Yoga pose for depression calms a busy mind and brings in a sense of peace and tranquillity in the body. as powerful as this pose. It has two different types of viz,
Classic–up-the-wall-pose: calms the anxious mind in a stressful day by making it an ideal pose for anxious people.
Legs up the wall with bolster pose: demands for a completely relaxed lower back and is supported by the bolster. It is said that 20 mins of this affect the nervous system the same as a nap.
Halasana Pose( Plow Pose)
This yoga pose for depression has proven to be very effective to calm the nervous system reducing stress & fatigue and thus helping in relieving stress and relaxation of mind. It is also said to stimulate the thyroid gland improving mood & energy levels. It is highly recommendable for people who are suffering from the symptoms of depression.
Note on Meditation for Depression
We have mentioned in one of our earlier blogs about what are the different kinds of meditation and the kind of impact that these can have on a person’s overall mindfulness. Since mindfulness has a lot to do with dealing with depression, stress and anxiety, we felt that it was pertinent to include a note here as well. Let us look at how meditation is good for those battling depression or negative thoughts in general.
- Meditation helps in altering your response to negative thinking. It gives a new prism of thought to every aspect of life and brings in a ray of hope and positivity. It helps in paying attention to thoughts and feelings without passing judgments and also encourages to live in the moment, devoid of any worries about the future
- Meditation provides for a life manual as to how to manage depression effectively and teaches to live in the moment with a view of the future in mind. It equips a person to notice the warning signs in the initial stages so that it can be cured at its germination. It also promotes the values of self-care and self-love
- Meditation helps to deactivate the anxiety and depression centre of the brain. It envisages the properties of defusing depressive thoughts and inducing happiness and positivity in the mind and body.
- Yoga poses for depression are specifically targeted at releasing the endorphins for boosting the mood in general. Coupled with meditation, the overall impact of the same can be made more effective.