Life is like a book and every new chapter brings with it a mixed bag of feelings, emotions and experiences.
While some experiences give bring us joy and happiness, others make us anxious, sad and depressed. It’s like a roller-coaster ride with continuous ups and downs, but that’s what makes it interesting, isn’t it?
When life gets overwhelming, instead of facing everything with a positive attitude, we tend to stress over bad experiences, difficult situations and unfavorable circumstances. This creates panic and tension within, and suddenly we are no longer the person we used to be.
We forget our good habits, our natural style of living and start to embrace negativity. That’s where depression starts to set in. If not treated early we can end up stuck in a depression loop.
Yoga for Anxiety and Depression: 6 Poses to Boost Your Mood
Yoga, the age-old science of life is undoubtedly one of the best ways to overcome those miserable feelings and adopt a positive attitude towards life. The physical benefits of yoga are numerous and so are its mental rewards.
For those who are able to maintain a daily practice of yoga – depression, anxiety, stress and fatigue are only distant memories.
So, let’s look at 6 yoga asanas which should be practiced on a regular basis to ward off anxiety and depression.
1. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
Lie down your back.
The arms should rest by the side and the palms should be down.
Fold your legs from the knees, making sure that a few inches of gap is there between your feet.
Now lift your back from the mat and ensure that the thighs remain parallel to each other.
Stay in the position for as long as you can and gently release.
Apart from being a great reliever of pain from the back, Setu Bandhasana helps to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression.
2. Child Pose (Balasana)
Kneel down on your mat.
There should be a gap of a few inches between your knees.
Bend forward such that your forehead touches the mat.
Bring your arms stretched out in front.
Stay in the position for a couple of minutes and gently release.
Balasana is a well-known pose for relieving negative mental build-up. The asana also helps to stretch the hips and lower back helping the body to relax.
3. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Stand on all fours in such a manner that your body forms the structure of a table.
Let out your breath and slowly straighten your knees and elbows lifting your hips.
The idea is to create an inverted ‘V’ shape with your body.
Your feet should be in line with the hips whereas your shoulders should be in line with your hands.
Press firmly on the ground, tuck your tummy and look at your navel.
Stay in this position for as long as it is comfortable and gently release.
The benefit of this asana is that it promotes fresh blood flow in the body. The cervical spine and the neck are also stretched to a good extent which results in the release of stress from these areas. Thus, the entire body feels calm and anxiety is reduced.
4. Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Lie face down on your yoga mat.
Place your palms on either side close to your chest.
Straighten the arms; lift the legs and torso from the mat (a few inches).
Keep the top of your feet pressed firmly on the ground.
Head should be kept straight or upwards and the shoulders should be away from the ears.
Maintain the pose till the time you are comfortable and release slowly.
The asana is best-suited for milder cases of depression but is better at relieving fatigue. The physical stress that is captured in the back is easily released with the practice of this pose.
5. Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)
Stand in a straight position with hands by the side of your body.
Take your arms to your hips and bend forward.
Your chest and head should touch your thighs.
Now take your hands down and grab your ankles.
The thighs should be straight.
Maintain the position for a few breaths and release.
The tension from the neck, shoulders and back is removed with the practice of this pose. The functioning of the nervous system is also improved with its daily practice.
6. Plow Pose (Halasana)
Lie down flat on the back with the arms resting by the sides.
Lift the legs such that they make a 90 degree angle with the ground.
Now take your hands to your hip and lift the hips close to the chest by using the hands as support.
Now slowly take your legs over the head and place the toes above the head on the ground, firmly.
Thighs should be kept straight and remove the hands from the hips and keep them straight, stretched out forward with palms down.
Stay in the position for at least a minute and release.
Another pose great for reducing strain, felt in the back. Halasana is also good for calming the brain and keeping your mind relaxed.
Use this poses often to increase your health and mood, beat depression and get the most out of life.