We all feel low at one point or the other which is natural. Having said this, when dreadful feelings such as bottomless sadness, constant fear, negativity and the voices in the head take a toll, you may be suffering from the life-threatening disease of ‘depression’. Depression makes it tough to live and enjoy a fulfilling life like once you did. Just trying to get through the day can get mind-boggling. It seems like you are covered with bleeding scars that no one can see, no one really understands the pain you are going through. It seems that hopelessness has engulfed you and there is no respite from it. When it feels like nothing can get you out of this, close your eyes and breathe because yoga can. Yes, you read it right. Yoga is a boon for people battling with depression.
Yoga is an ascetic discipline which involves breath regulation, meditation practices and performance of bodily postures (yoga asanas) that effectively ease depression and escalate the physical and mental health of a person. A committed practice of yoga strengthens the body, calms the mind, balances the emotions, and promotes internal well-being. The interlinking of yoga asanas with the breath and the practice of several breathing techniques such as Ujjayi, Kapalbhati, etc., is a key component in quieting the mind, releasing the GABA hormones, and resulting in a mind-body connection that yields far-reaching rewards.
Feeling low? Cheer up with the practice of these amazing yoga postures for depression.
1. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): Lie on your stomach with arms by your side. Keep your legs stretched behind you, 2-3 inches apart. Tuck your elbows to the sides and rest the palms on the floor directly under your shoulders. Inhale; lift your head and chest above the ground. Keep your lower ribs in contact with the yoga mat. Roll your shoulders blades back and relax your neck. Try to straighten your arms as much as possible and look in the forward direction. Remain in this pose for 15-30 seconds.
2. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana): Lie on your back with bent knees and feet on top of the yoga mat. Extend your arms alongside the floor. Press your feet and arms firmly into the ground. Upon exhalation; uplift your back and hips towards the ceiling. Draw your shoulder blades away from your ears. Stretch your arms as much as possible. Press your forearms into the floor and fold your hands underneath your lower back. Keep your thighs and feet parallel to the floor. Remain in this pose for 30 seconds or more.
3. Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana): Sit perpendicular on a yoga mat with your legs extended in front you and toes flexed towards you. Rest your hands on the floor next to your hips. Fold your right leg and place the right foot close to your perineum, just below the pubic bone. Bend forward at the hip over your left leg and hold your left foot with your right hand. Keep your left hand on the ground. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds.
4. Headstand (Sirsasana): Come on your fours. Interlace your fingers together and bring your forearms and elbows to the floor, shoulder-distance apart. Place the crown of the head into the palms. Raise your knees off the floor, elevate your heels and bring your feet closer to your elbows. Your body should form an inverted ‘V’ position. Slowly, lift your feet off the mat, raise your legs up towards the ceiling and gently extend them up. Make sure your legs are perpendicular to the floor. Remain in this posture for 15-20 seconds.
5. Downward facing dog pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana): Begin in a tabletop position. Make sure your wrists are parallel to the floor and knees are directly over the hips. Evenly distribute your weight across the hands. Breathe out; curl your toes inward and lift your knees off the floor. Straighten your legs behind and raise your hips toward the ceiling. Form an inverted ‘V’ with your body. Hold this pose for 5-20 gentle breaths and slowly release the posture.
6. Warrior One Pose (Virabhadrasana I): Begin in mountain pose. With an exhale, spread your feet 2-3 inches apart. Stretch your arms perpendicular to the floor. Twist your left foot inward at 45-degree and right foot to 90-degree angle. Align both heels with each other. Rotate your torso to your right. Bend your right knee so that the right shin is vertical to the floor. Keep your head in a forward direction and look over your thumbs. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
7. Corpse Pose (Savasana): Lie in a supine position. Keep your legs stretched in front of you and arms by your side. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Relax your whole body and stay in this pose for 5 minutes.
Dwell in the practice of yoga and say goodbye to depression while leading a truly content life.