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Yoga is a great way to help with depression and anxiety

Yoga is a great way to help with depression and anxiety

Yoga has been around for thousands of years and has been utilized to cure many illnesses, and to alleviate stress and anxiety. In recent years yoga has been heavily utilized, along with meditation to relieve the symptoms associated with depression and mental illness.


Do

Do make sure to listen to your body

Yoga and meditation are great for helping with depression and it’s related symptoms, but it’s always important to listen to your body, and mind your comfort zone. Yoga and meditation are very different than the average workout and do bring transformation so it’s important to begin slowly and progress as your body feels it is right.

Do use yoga as a mood elevator

Yoga has been proven to improve mood with just one practice, so when you find yourself feeling down in the dumps, use yoga! Going through a simple flow, or series of poses, will greatly elevate your mood and leave you feeling refreshed and new.

Do try Downward Dog pose

Downward Dog is a pose that can be performed by yoga’s newest students, and it’s great for mood boosting as well as giving the back and hamstrings a good stretch. To get into downward dog, From Extended Childs Pose, or starting on all-fours, with hands reaching towards the top of your mat, tuck under toes and lift sitting bones upwards to an inverted V. Establishing base through hands and balls of the feet, sliding your shoulders back and down, ensuring ears are between biceps and arms are fully extended, keep neck long and jaw relaxed. Eye gaze can fall at knees or towards toes. Keep knees soft or bent
as we continue to lift sitting bones to sky and heels sinking towards the floor. Feeling length and strength through your back and spine, while enjoying a great stretch down the backs of our legs.

Do try Reverse Warrior pose

Reverse Warrior is a pose of strength and confidence, and you’ll feel it while holding the pose. Reverse Warrior is energizing and will awaken your mind and body, allowing you to focus inward. To get into Reverse Warrior, face the long edge of your mat turning right toes toward the front and bending right knee to line up to second toe. Keep back leg straight with foot turned inwards, establishing base and dynamic tension. Turn the front palm up and lift into lateral flexion. Take your backhand to your back leg for support and resting it lightly on your back leg. Keeping hips squared to the side wall, stacking our forward wrist over your front shoulder. Repeat on opposite side.

Do make sure to include meditation

Regular meditation is the best supplement to yoga and working out that you can find. Regular meditation will help you to learn yourself from the inside out, and allows you to openly and candidly express your inner emotions and feelings. Meditation also provides for an excellent mood boost and when coupled with breathing exercises it can be as rewarding an experience as the yoga practice itself.


Don't

Do not underestimate the power of meditation and positive thought

editation and positive thought can carry you far, especially when it comes to depression and anxiety. Often those suffering from depression feel as though they can not get past the negative thoughts, or as if their trapped in their own heads-think of meditation as a vacation from this. Meditating on positive thoughts, or mantras can do a world of difference for changing your attitude and outlook. Trying starting each day with a positive mantra regarding something you’re struggling with

Do not worry about doing poses perfectly

The essence of yoga is found in its continued practice, and the idea is to grow each day. When you begin it can be challenging, but it’s important to keep at it. Yoga practice is a time for self improvement and self-awareness and each practice builds upon the last, and will work to improve self confidence as well as mood, and physical ability.

Do not forget to breathe

Breathing into and out of each movement is key in yoga. Good rhythmic, deep breathing can completely change a workout or meditation experience. Few things can help calm and ease better than breathing. Try a 3 part breath during meditation by placing your right hand on your diaphragm and left hand on your chest, breathe in making sure to fill lungs from the bottom up, and watch as your hands rise, as you exhale make sure to push air from the top of your lungs to the bottom, watching as your hands fall.

Do not forget-you can use yoga and meditation anywhere

Mood changes or anxiety can come out of the blue sometimes, so it’s important to be able to handle it no matter where you are. Using meditation and breathing in any situation is a possibility. Simply close your eyes, focus on taking deep cleansing breaths, and you can even try repeating a mantra to yourself, which can be very soothing.

Do not forget to make note of your feelings before and after

You’ll want to be able to gauge what is working and what’s not when it comes to depression. Try journaling on a regular basis to observe how you feel before and after your yoga or meditation. You’ll find that specific poses may improve your mood, and different mantras or breathing exercises may be particularly soothing, make sure to take note of that so you can build yourself a routine of positive mood boosters.


Summary
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Yoga and meditation can be great tools for helping with depression and anxiety. Yoga is an instant mood lifter and when combined with meditation and breathing few things are better at creating calm. Use meditation or yoga when you feel stressed, or need an instant mood-lifter.


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Photo Credits: reverse warrior by Flickr: Elsie Escobar; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Beth ShawFounder

As the President and founder of YogaFit©, Inc. the largest Yoga School in the world; Beth is recognized, as one of the leading experts in the fields of “mind body fitness", health and nutrition, and is a recognized anger management specialist. S...

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