Balance of the Body
Depression not only brings feelings of lethargy, but it often comes with various physical aches and pains throughout the body.
Yoga helps to relax the muscles and increase blood flow, which should help to ease some of the body pain. As your body loosens, your balance in day-to-day life should increase. When your body is more evenly balanced and the muscles are looser there is less tension in the neck, shoulders, and back making injury and stiffness less likely.
Balance of the Mind
As mentioned above, yoga is a form of moving meditation. This means that while the body is moving from pose to pose, the mind is focused solely on the inflow and outflow of the breath, bringing our thoughts inward.
Symptoms of depression can often include a wide range of strong emotions, whether it's sadness, anger, frustration, or guilt. By focusing on the breath, you are given an opportunity to be away from those feelings.
Being present in the moment with the endorphins running through your system is a chance at a few moments of calm and serenity.
Stress and anxiety often cause an increased heart rate and faster breathing. Learning to focus on deep, proper breathing will help to ease feelings of stress and anxiety as it lowers the heart rate and brings your mind inward. It's also a simple way to ease these feelings in daily life.
Once you've decided you want to try yoga for your depression, the next step would be to find a type of yoga that is best suited for you. There are several different kinds of yoga to meet a wide range of skill levels and needs.
It may be beneficial to try a variety of classes so you know for sure which style is best for you. These range from calm and relaxing practices to more intensive workouts.
Gaiam has broken it down into 8 categories:
- Anusara: this type of yoga is fairly new to the yoga industry and combines both body and mind for a rigorous workout.
- Ashtanga: this version is derived from the original yoga teachings, which follows a specific sequence of poses while linking every movement to a breath making for an intense session.
- Bikram: this form of yoga is practiced in a heated room. It's different from Hot Yoga in that its developer Bikram Choudhury trademarked the precise sequence of poses.
- Hot Yoga: Generally the same as Bikram yoga because it's practiced in a heated room but follows a different sequence of poses. Many studios will offer a variety of hot yoga classes ranging from a deep relaxation to a very sweaty workout.