Meditation and other stress reduction techniques have been used as a possible treatment to combat the symptoms of depression and anxiety for decades now as many studies have proved the benefits. If you go to your conventional doctor struggling with depression and its debilitating symptoms that often leave you a prisoner in your own home, it is quite rare that the doctor would suggest yoga as a form of therapy to help treat the symptoms.
Yoga is something that is so readily assessable to anyone - you can do it from the comfort of your own home following the many YouTube videos or you can simply join a gym or yoga studio class. Yoga has gained so much popularity in the years that you will never struggle to find a regular class where ever you are in the world.
The choice of yoga people choose to do usually depends on their physical ability and personal preferences. For example yin yoga is very relaxed, Kundelini yoga involves lots of breathing techniques based around the abdominal area and yoga Nidra is a meditative form of yoga.
When I was working at The Lifeco detox centre people came for many reasons not just to lose weight, this was often just an added benefit. Many of the guests that struggled with depression and anxiety were shocked at how different they felt mentally after committing themselves to daily yoga for a few weeks.
Some of the benefits they all mentioned were clarity, feeling lighter emotionally, feeling more connected with themselves, less anxious and worried, better mood in the morning upon waking (not even having to set an alarm clock to wake up) and overall their mental health always improved. Overall when you add the nutrition and exercise elements combined with mental wellbeing – taking control of what you feed your body and how much you move (exercise) – will of course be beneficial to how you feel mentally.
The reason so many people find yoga so beneficial when struggling with anxiety and depression is because yoga modulates the stress response system which in turn decreases physiological arousal. By stress response systems this refers to lowering blood pressure, reducing heart rate and easing respiration. In this respect, yoga functions like other self soothing techniques, such as meditation, relaxation, exercise, or even socialising with friends.
For the many people struggling with depression, anxiety, or stress which sadly now days effects most of us at some point in our lives - yoga may be an appealing way to manage the difficult symptoms that most of these conditions sadly come with.
The scientific studies that have been carried out on yoga practice demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just aligned but equivalent to each and come hand in hand – then you can add into the mix nutrition which no conventional doctor will question when treating people with depression or anxiety.