Yoga for Overcoming Depression

Depression is a state of mind when one feels low the person will not take any interest in his work and he feels difficulty in thinking, making decisions as he finds it difficult to focus.  It can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, motivation, feelings, and sense of well-being. It may feature a version to activity, sadness, and a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping. People experiencing depression may have feelings of dejection, hopelessness, and, sometimes, suicidal thoughts. It can either be short term or long term. Depression can be a symptom of, mood disorder, normal temporary reaction to life events, such as the loss of a loved one; and it is also a symptom of some physical diseases and a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments.

Sometimes simple mood disorders can be treated easily but sometimes the symptoms are so prominent that it can result in long term trouble which makes one dependent on medication, with no other option left. But there are many supporting therapies that help in treating depression without much dependence on medicines, and one such therapy is Yoga Therapy.

How does Yoga help in managing depression?

Yoga is a unique way created by our Rishis and Munis, that can be used to control your mind and thought process, as Depression is directly related to the functioning of the mind, yoga with its mind control techniques can be very beneficial during the depression. All the three main aspects of hath Yoga helps in treating depression.

  • Asans, which propagate the flow of blood to the brain is very helpful. A good supply of oxygenated blood to the brain helps in controlling the imbalance in the hormones of the endocrine system, resulting in relief from stress which later on results in depression. Inversion poses are highly beneficial for managing stress, anxiety, and depression. Poses like Bridge pose( Setubadhasan), wheel pose( chakra asan), Locust pose( Shalabhasan), Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana), Bound Angle Pose(BaddhaKonasana), Bow Pose( Dhanurasana), Camel Pose( Urshtasan), etc. help a lot in relaxing the nervous system and endocrine system thus helping in stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Pranayam or breathing techniques are very beneficial in managing and treating mental disorders. They are used to clean the systems internally with the help of breath. Breathing is enhanced by various pranayams and this enhanced breathing results into better diffusion of gases in the body. Thus maximum oxygenated blood is reached to the cells and maximum carbon dioxide is released from the body giving new energy and life to cells. This nourishes the cells of the nervous system and more of the happy hormones are released causing relaxation of the nervous system. Breathing techniques like NaadiShodhan or alternate nostril breathing technique helps bring the mind to the present, discarding unwanted thoughts of the past and future. It also helps purify the nadis – energy channels, ensuring smooth flow of prana i.e. vital force thus helps release accumulated stress and ward off depression. Similarly, Bhramri Pranayam or the humming bee breathing also helps in calming the mind and increasing the confidence of the patient. 
  • Meditation, the third important aspect of Hath yoga, is the most important tool of managing stress by improving focus and concentration. Mantra meditation has been practiced in India for thousands of years because people knew that it reduces stress, calms the mind, and increases inner peace. It has been established by various experiments, researches, and practices that during the practice of meditation the body gives a relaxation response, which gives the body deeper rest than the rest from sleep. With regular meditation that deep rest builds up in the body over time, and it reduces stress and results in freedom from anxiety and depression.

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