How Yoga Helps You Win The War On Depression
For years now, studies have shown that yoga is a great way to overcome anxiety and treat depression. Everyone from medical staff to professional yoga teachers, even our own family, and friends, recommends yoga for improving mental health. With this being said, it’s obvious that there’s something here worth investigating.
How Yoga Helps Fight Off Depression
There are a variety of ways in which yoga helps treat anxiety and depression. To begin with, regular yoga practice teaches you how to remain calm and relaxed each day. This is because each type of yoga is infused with breathing techniques and body movements that help you control any uncomfortable feelings you may experience.
Yoga is an exercise that strengthens your mind, emotions, body, and spirit. Therefore, when you feel yourself becoming anxious or depressed you’ll have the strength, breathing techniques and tools you need to be able to calm yourself down. Instead of continuing to breathe shallow, constricted, rapid breaths that cause your nervous system to spike, even more, you’ll know how to maintain a calm, steady breath regardless of what’s going on around you. This will bring your anxiety and depression back under control.
In fact, by maintaining you’re breathing you’ll be able to keep these things at bay, which will put you in a better place since your anxiety and depression are naturally decreased.
Yoga’s Many Benefits
The Art of Living says that when you start doing yoga, you also learn to apply its philosophy to your whole life, which will help you be happier so you can enjoy every moment you’re alive.
For instance, the Santosha principle (niyama) teaches us the value of contentment while the Aprigraha principle helps us overcome greediness, which is the root of our stress and anxiety. Yoga’s yamas and niyamas also help us eat better and live a healthier lifestyle – two things that will really help us overcome our feelings of anxiety and stress.
It’s also important to see meditation as a gift to yourself as it provides you with a relaxed mind. When you meditate daily, you become aware of how your mind works so you can avoid getting distracted by small, petty things around you.
Meditation also helps you not to worry so much about the unknown future. In fact, scientific research shows that regular meditation helps significantly reduce our body’s ‘adrenaline rush’ (what happens when we get too anxious about a potential threat). This is because yoga teaches us how to breathe right, which is an important part of relieving anxiety. When you pay attention to how you’re breathing, you free your mind of the unnecessary thoughts that cause you to feel anxious in the first place.
Some of the breathing exercises you may wish to try include:
- Kapal Bhati Pranayama
- Bhastrika Pranayama
- Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
- Bhramari Pranayama
Of course, yoga asanas (postures) are also known to relieve your stress of mind so you can achieve a happier, healthier life. These asanas help release tension and negativity from your body:
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
- Janu Shirsasana (One-Legged Forward Bend)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
- Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)
- Paschimottanasana (Two-Legged Forward Bend)
- Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
- Sirsasana (Headstand)
- Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Once you’ve done these asanas make sure you lie down and give your mind and body a few minutes to thoroughly enjoy this relaxation. In doing so, you’re flushing out any toxins from your body. These are a primary cause of the stress you feel in your life.
Anxiety Gone says the self-soothing techniques involved in yoga offer the following great benefits:
- Calms your body’s stress response and nervous system
- Improves your mood so you can function better
- Lowers tension
- Promotes relaxation
- Helps with PTSD by teaching you how to control your breathing
- Stops you from worrying
- Strengthens your self-awareness
- Allows you to manage stress better
How Yoga is Similar to Motivation
Goal Cast says that physical exercise, like yoga, also motivates us to try harder. While yoga may look easy in the beginning, you’ll be surprised to learn how it challenges you to push yourself a bit further each time. By remaining committed to practicing yoga on a regular basis, you’ll go deeper and deeper into your asanas each day. In a few months, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much stronger your body is and how beautiful you look as you maintain each pose you’ve been working on.
So, while it’s difficult for you to do certain poses today, once your body is used to these practices, you’ll make so much progress that you’ll find you have something to be proud of about yourself. As you notice this steady progress forward, you’ll find that it also motivates you to want to continue practicing yoga instead of giving up.
This isn’t the only thing that will change. Your body structure will also change. Yoga makes you leaner and stronger – something that will also motivate you to practice yoga daily. You’ll also reap additional motivational benefits from the physical practice of yoga. These come from you finding yourself being more disciplined – something that is reflected in everything you do.
Of course, these results require effort and consistency. You need to take small steps each day towards your goal. You can’t take anything for granted. This is probably one of the biggest lessons that you will learn from practicing yoga. As you make this realization, the way you look at the entire world around you will also change. Now you’ll respect your journey towards your results and be willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Beyond doing yoga, it’s also important to surround yourself with positive people. This will help you start thinking similar thoughts – something that will also be reflected in your overall attitude towards life. You can also get advice from motivational speakers to further help you in this area of your life. The bottom line though is that yoga and positive people will help you feel much more joyful, peaceful and relaxed.
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