When a person experiences serious depression, it can seem like a dark cloud hovers over every move they make. Negative feelings can take hold of the body and inhibit a person’s way of life for weeks at a time. If mental health conditions like depression go untreated, it can cause a person to completely shut down.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and there are many lifestyle changes that benefit various conditions. In the case of depression, one management option is yoga. In recent years, yoga has demonstrated an ability to reduce anxiety and improve overall mood in people with depression. Random yoga poses will not do the trick, though. There are specific yoga poses that focus on alignment, building strength, and improving harmony in life. Awareness is everything and doing the following poses every day may help people who suffer from depression.
This is one of the best yoga poses that you can do for your hips. Many yogis say that people hold a lot of emotions in the hips, so opening them may help release emotional tension. Start on all fours in a tabletop position, ensuring your hands are directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Bend your right knee, bring it between your hands, and lay the outside of your shin on the ground. Extend your left leg back so that the top of the foot is on the ground. Remain in this position and look up or lower yourself down to your elbows to deepen the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Holding this position works to enhance stability. Because it can be challenging, Downward Dog requires your full focus, drawing it away from any depressive thoughts. Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Spread your fingers wide to evenly distribute your weight between your hands. Slowly sink back and raise your knees off the ground, extending your buttocks toward the sky. If you can, drop your heels to the floor, but this is not required. You have the option to remain on the balls of your feet, bending the knees slightly. You can hold this position for 10 deep breaths.
According to yogis, inverted poses promote empowerment and balance. It takes a lot of self-confidence to execute these poses, so learning to do them can spread that confidence to other areas of your life. Start on the hands and knees and bring your head down onto the mat. Interlace your fingers behind your head and angle your elbows away from your body, creating a triangle between your head and elbows. Keep your head and forearms heavy on the ground as you kick your legs up. Squeeze your core and glutes, maintaining a firm body as you straighten your legs toward the ceiling. You can hold this pose for up to 10 minutes before lowering your legs. Practice next to a wall for more support in case you lose your balance.
Warrior II Pose:
Warrior II aims to empower the self and build confidence, just like the headstand pose. Depression can cause feelings of powerlessness, which Warrior 2 combats. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot back so it is three to four feet from your left foot. Keep your left foot facing forward and turn your right foot out to the side. Bend your front knee, but make sure it doesn’t go beyond your toes. Raise your arms so that they are parallel to the ground and direct your gaze to your left fingertips out in front of you. You should feel a stretch in your left hamstring and right inner thigh. Hold this pose for 10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other leg.
Achieving wheel pose unlocks a doorway to a whole new book of yoga poses. It can take time to work up to this position, but that gives you a goal. Start with bridge pose and then start working on wheel pose. When you accomplish this goal and execute the pose, it will inspire confidence and resilience! Lie on your back with your knees bent. Plant your feet firmly on the ground so that your ankles are directly underneath you knees. Keep your feet hip-distance apart. Place your hands on the mat next to your hears, facing you fingers toward your feet. Engage your glutes, core, and shoulder muscles as you roll up and extend into full wheel position. Lift your chest and you extend your arms and hold this position for five deep breaths, lowering down slowly when finished.