You’re here because you want to be free of that comfort trap you’ve shut yourself in due to your depression.
And that’s a great first step.
But before you move further, focus on the heart of why you shut yourself out in the first place.
Yoga is a sort of exercise that provides you with that much-needed physical and mental relief.
They make you feel better, but that overall sense of relaxation makes you feel more vulnerable to the effects of your depression, something you desperately want to ignore.
But this is exactly why you should try yoga.
Yoga allows you to realign your mind and body. And while it is not a method of alternative medicine that can make your mental illness go away, it does center your mind and decreases the acute effects of depression.
This is especially if you pair it alongside effective therapy.
How Does Yoga Affect You?
There is a biological and mental connection that strengthens when a person does yoga.
Biologically speaking, yoga reduces stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and provides you with a relaxation response. This in turn, reduces the impact of stress on your muscles and nervous system, and works in a self-soothing way which helps decrease the effect of your anxiety and depression symptoms and helps improve energy.
Yoga also increases the heart rate variability, which is the change in time between your heart beats. A high HRV gives your body greater time to adapt, especially if you’re stressed.
And through this biological effect, all of its benefits transfer to your mental state.
5 Poses to Fight Your Depression
Follow these poses step-by-step as a routine.
1. Child’s Pose
Why? The child’s pose relieves the stress and fatigue as you stretch your lower back and hips.
- Sit back on your heels with your big toes touching one another, knees apart. Rest your hands on your thighs.
- Bring yourself forward, and rest your belly and chest between your knees. Touch your forehead to the floor.
- Bring your arms back. Rest them along your sides, wrists beside your shins, palm facing up.
- Inhale deeply, and soften your breath. Take 5-10 long breaths and relax your shoulders.
2. Cobra Pose, Modified
Why? The cobra pose boosts your mood and energy while strengthening the back muscles of your body while stretching your spine.
- From the child’s pose, slide your hands up past your head and push forward so you’re lying on your chest on the floor.
- Press your toes gently to the floor while resting your forehead down. Place your palms lightly on the floor on either side of your chest. Point your fingers forward and bend your elbows, bringing them in toward your ribcage.
- Take a deep breath and lift your chest up, pressing your palms gently against the floor. Use your back muscles to hold your shoulders and chest up.
- Soften up your shoulders and broaden your collarbones while taking deep breaths. Reach up through your shoulders.
- Take deep breaths and exhale, gently lowering your chest to the floor.
Note: Do not use your neck muscles when pushing up. Relax your neck muscles, pull them down gently so they’re not hooked around your ears and use your back muscles.
3. Downward Facing Dog Pose
Why? The downward dog pose focuses your mind and reduces fatigue while stretching and strengthening your body.
- With your hands beside your chest in the cobra pose, push up and come on all fours. Open your knees hip-width apart and move your wrists a bit forward than your shoulders.
- Curl your toes under so they’re braced.
- Exhale and spread your fingers a little for even stability through your palms.
- Lift your knees away from the floor and reach for the ceiling with your hips. Keep those knees slightly bent.
- Push the top of your thighs back so you’re in the shape of an inverted V.
- Slowly straighten your legs as much as you can. Do not try to straighten them completely as that may hurt your leg muscles.
- Gently, move your chest back towards your legs with the help of your fingertips until your head is between your upper arms.
- Slowly lift your hips up from your wrists and heels. Take deep breaths and feel your diaphragm open while you breathe.
Note: Your heels don’t need to touch the floor when you’re in the downward pose. Doing so depends on your body’s flexibility. Don’t push yourself if you can’t stretch your leg muscles enough.
Also, your back should be straight when pushing against your thighs.
4. Warrior One Pose
Why? This pose eases your anxiety and stress while it strengthens your core and muscles.
- From downward dog, ease your knees and bring your right foot forward in a partial lunge pose, lining your heel along with your back.
- Step your left foot back and keep it pointed forward.
- Inhale deeply but slowly, and lifting your arms over your head, move your shoulders back as bring them up, palms facing one another.
- Exhale and turn your hip to your right leg, bending your knee at 90 degrees. Don’t let the knee move ahead of your foot otherwise that can damage the knee tendon.
- Inhale again and reach your arms up more. Bring them slightly back so the pose is gentler on your upper muscles and spine. Hold this pose for 3-10 deep, slow breaths.
5. Reverse Warrior Pose
Why? This pose energizes your body and allows you to focus, while strengthening your legs and abs as you stretch.
- From Warrior One, turn your hips away from your right leg and keep it bent.
- Lower your left hand and rest it on your knee. Reach for the ceiling with your right palm and move back, aligning the side of your body with your knee. For balance, let your left hand down to rest beside your left ankle.
- Look up and stretch your neck but relax your neck muscles. Take 3-5 deep breaths.
What to Expect
Transition from the reverse warrior pose into child’s pose and repeat these steps if you have the energy.
For most people suffering from depression, yoga can be a great way for them to manage their symptoms accordingly. By categorizing your physical and mental health, you can not only reach out of your comfort zone, you can also recognize causes of your depression and hopefully, find a solution to improve your overall health.