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Yoga For Anxiety And Depression

It Helps You To Become Present At The Moment

Yoga for anxiety and depression: Yoga With Nerry

Yoga is a demanding practice. You have to be present in terms of concentration otherwise, you can lose your position or balance. As a result, you need to concentrate on your body, and this helps treat anxiety or depression symptoms. Concentrating on the actual pose helps focus less on whats on your mind and makes you live in the present moment. This is the key to freeing your mind from anxious thoughts.

The Science Of Yoga For Anxiety And Depression

Being a science nerd, I wouldnt have been able to identify with these kinds of practices unless there was some sort of evidence to confirm the results. And believe me, there is a TON of it: I spent my worst days hidden under a duvet pouring through it all!

Others have explained it much better than I ever could this article by Harvard Health presents an overview of the research, great for anyone non-medical like me.

The science of meditation image from Headspace

This article talks about the specific research results of a Harvard neuroscientist who studied how the volume of certain areas in the brain are affected by a yoga and meditation practice.

Spoiler alert: the useful parts of your brain that deal with memory/learning/ emotional regulation ACTUALLY GET BIGGER when you meditate. The part of your brain responsible for the flight or flight response ACTUALLY GETS SMALLER when you meditate regularly.

How cool is that?! Its like youre doing a physical workout on your brain and shedding unwanted fat and building useful muscle .

Headspace have also done a fabulous summary of scientific research on meditation on their website.

So there you have it friends. First-hand evidence, my very own account of how yoga and meditation helped me to manage my anxiety and depression. PLUS all the scientific evidence you need to support it. If thats not enough to convince you that you should at least give it a try, then I dont know what will be!

Nat x x x

Setu Bandhasana / Bridge Pose

People suffering from symptoms like panic attack, sweaty hands or heart palpitation Yoga and anxiety is the perfect natural cure.

Practicing this asana gives calmness to the mind, reduces the symptoms of anxiety and stress effectively.


  • Start by lying down on your on a mat.
  • Then place your feet hip width apart on the mat and bend your knees.
  • Ensure your knees are aligned in a straight line.
  • Then place your arms besides your body with palms facing downwards.
  • Inhale and slowly raise your back off the mat.
  • Now slowly roll your shoulder and try to touch your chest with your chin.
  • In this posture your bodys weight should be supported by your shoulders, arms and your feet.
  • You can interlace your fingers under your back to raise your back further upwards.
  • Maintain a normal breathing and hold in this posture for 40 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Then exhale, release your arms and lower your back gently to the floor to come back to the starting position.
  • This yoga for anxiety can be practised for 1 minute to 3 minutes daily for relieving the symptoms of anxiety and stress.
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    How To Start Yoga When You Have Anxiety

    Starting a new exercise regimen when you struggle with anxiety can feel overwhelming. However, there are a few things to help you feel motivated to start a yoga program, regardless of your experience or fitness level.

    The following tips can help you start using yoga for anxiety:

    • Start slow and go at a pace that feels manageable for you
    • Remember that theres no right or wrong way to do yoga
    • You can always rest in childs pose or lie down on your back if you need a break
    • You dont need to a certain flexibility or fitness level to practice yoga
    • Consider watching videos at home to learn the foundations before joining an in-person class
    • Talk to the instructor before class to make sure its the right practice for you

    Lastly, the most important thing to remember is that Hathayoga has been clinically proven to help alleviate many symptoms of depression and anxiety.

    If you keep this in mind, you might feel motivated to persevere even when the practice feels challenging.

    Meditate To Enjoy The Gift Of A Relaxed Mind

    yoga for anxiety and depression Archives

    Meditation can be an excellent technique to relax a distracted mind, give you a sense of calm and peace, and also observe with daily practice how your mind works to keep you involved in small, petty things around. It can also help you not worry too much or get anxious of the unknown future.

    You might have often heard the term adrenalin rush. This happens when we get too anxious about a potential threat. For instance, while taking an adventure ride. At such a time, the level of adrenalin hormone goes higher, leading our heart to beat faster, making the muscles tense and our body sweat profusely. Scientific research has shown that regular meditation practice can help significantly reduce the level of this stress hormone.

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    Additional Approaches And Techniques Recommended For Reducing Depression

    Along with recommendations for reducing both depression and anxiety, there was general consensus on recommendation of the following approaches and techniques for reducing depression.

  • a.

    Regulation of breathing: A focus on inhalation, comfortable holding after inhalation, and right nostril breathing, especially on inhalation, were considered somewhat or very important, but less essential. Cooling breath and rapid breathing techniques were considered as less or not important.

  • b.

    Postures: Moving repetition of postures, rather than longer holding chest and heart opening, backward bending postures and movements, that also focus on inhalation dynamic sequences of postures, including sun salutations doing a range of different postures to keep it interesting were each considered somewhat or very important, but less essential.

  • c.

    Relaxation: Active focus on the physical body to shift focus of attention away from mind and thoughts visualisations that are positive and energising were considered very important or essential and guided relaxation techniques, rather than self-directed, were somewhat or very important, but less essential.

  • d.

    Meditation: Giving a specific concept, idea or value to focus on, that is positive, energising, or confidence building for the person was considered very important or essential.

  • e.

    Other components of yoga practice: There were no additional components of yoga practice recommended for reducing depression.

  • To Improve Mood And Relaxation

    As exercise, yoga is a natural way to increase serotonin production. According to the study also suggests people with depression have lower serotonin levels.

    Yoga is also especially helpful because of its gentle, calming, and fluid nature. Each pose is flexible, so people of all levels can practice. Your instructor will emphasize breathing, concentration, and smooth movement. Theyll also encourage you to focus on positive images to calm the body and mind.

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    Relief For Depression Anxiety And Stress

    Several studies looking at yoga as a treatment for depression and anxiety offer convincing evidence of the practices efficacy. Some of these studies look exclusively at how consistent yoga affects women, while others take a broad look at the field of study to offer the most comprehensive picture possible.

    In every case, participants reported reduced levels of stress, elevated mood, and calmed nerves. But how does yoga affect the body and the mind so profoundly?

    Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog Pose

    Yoga For Depression – Yoga With Adriene

    Adho mukha svanasan is one of the most effective yoga for depression and anxiety.

    This yoga asana improves the blood flow to the brain which provides relief from depression by improving the brain function and relieves stress as well.

    Adho mukha svanasan is even good for increasing your self confidence.


  • Start by lying down on your stomach on a mat.
  • Then place your palms under your shoulders and extend your knees, maintaining your feet straight so that your toes are touching the floor.
  • Make sure to keep your knees apart and align your knees behind your hips, palms ahead of your shoulders.
  • Then slowly raise your knees and bend the knees slightly so that your heels are lifted from the floor.
  • Later raise your upper body by lengthening your tailbone, lift your buttocks further upwards.
  • Stretch your thighs further and engage your hamstrings so that your knees are straight.
  • Then straighten your elbows and pull your shoulder blades towards your upper back.
  • Ensure to keep your head is between your straightened arms.
  • Hold in this posture for 40 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Then slowly bend your knees and return to the starting position.
  • This adho mukha svanasan yoga for depression can be practised for 1 minute to 3 minutes for effective results.
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    Yoga For Anxiety And Depression: 6 Poses To Boost Your Mood

    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. Its like a roller-coaster ride with continuous ups and downs, but thats what makes it interesting, isnt 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. Thats where depression starts to set in. If not treated early we can end up stuck in a depression loop.

    Viparita Karani / Upside Down Seal Pose

    Yoga for anxiety is one of the most recommended remedies worldwide as it cures the symptoms of anxiety naturally without any medication and side effects.

    The viparita karani yoga asana is an easy pose for calming the anxiety, mild depression and insomnia related to stress.


  • Begin by sitting sideways either left or right side against a wall or stable back support.
  • Then slowly lift your legs upwards by twisting your legs towards the wall.
  • In step 2 your torso and head are also twisting towards the wall.
  • Ensure that your heels and buttocks are supported by the wall.
  • Then rest your back, shoulders and head on the mat and relax.
  • Place your arms besides your body straight with palms facing skywards.
  • Close your eyes, relax and maintain in this position for 4 to 5 minutes or until comfortable.
  • Then slowly twist your torso back to the floor and come back to the starting position.
  • This yoga anxiety asana can be performed once or twice a day for instant relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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    Yoga For Anxiety And Depression

    A specialty wellness workshop designed to awaken and lift your spirit.

    Lead by Ashlee Moll, RYT”As someone who has spend years living with anxiety and depression, I know how hard it can be to move through life on a daily basis. These conditions skewed my view and disabled me from removing the obstacles that stood in the way of seeing myself and the world around me as whole.In order to acknowledge and let go of the stigma we attach to anxiety and depression, we require a state of self-reflection, vulnerability and an understanding of where you feel it in your body as you allow yourself to move through it. Yoga became a fundamental tool in managing my mental wellness and this 3-week series was developed to share the tools that I have learned to help guide me through.”In this workshop, we will explore topics and practice mindful techniques to awaken and lift your spirit.Topics:

    Limitations Of The Interventions

    Yoga for Anxiety and Depression

    There were some limitations of the interventions. Majority of the studies utilized a small sample, which limits the power of statistical analysis. Many of the studies were randomized controlled trials however, there were also other designs used. Next, majority of the studies examined the short-term effects of yoga to treat depression. Studies examining the long-term effectiveness of yoga for depression are limited and more studies in this area are warranted. While the literature reports findings on various population and study area, it limits the variety of literature of the effect of yoga on depression regarding other populations and study areas. These findings support Mehta and Sharmas suggestion for more studies that examine the effect of yoga on depression within youth and among various ethnicity groups, cultures, sex, and occupation. Finally, none of the interventions utilized any behavioral theory to help participants adhere to the practice of yoga. The use of cognitive and behavioral theories and strategies are suggested because they are used as a form of treatment for reducing depression in patients with depressive disorder.

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    Why Use Yoga As An Adjunct Treatment For Anxiety

    Yoga leads to a cessation of the fluctuations of the mind


    The impact of anxiety can be severe, and there are times that people feel dissatisfied with the solutions they are currently presented. While medication is often a vital part of any treatment plan, patients can sometimes be uncomfortable with side-effects or the thought of a difficult withdrawal. According to Baldwin and Polkinghorn , 50% of people prescribed pharmacological intervention reported an improvement in symptoms, and a US-based study concluded that up to 30% of patients may be treatment resistant finding front-line interventions ineffective.

    This goes some way to explain why 56% of those living with anxiety disorders seek complementary and alternative medicine hinting at a widespread desire for further support outside of traditional treatment plans. With a growing body of scientific literature to guide clinical practice in applying yoga as a treatment of anxiety, yoga therapy can step into this gap and provide additional support helping people regulate their stress response, increase their resiliency and manage their anxiety.

    Some postures are challenging, but you are learning to relax under physical duress and this can help you handle long-term anxiety.

    Heather Mason

    Not Recommended Not Important Somewhat Important Very Important Essential

    Responses were collated as frequency per response category. Level of consensus is measured as the number ratings given in each response category. We define general consensus as more than 75% of participants rating in a particular response category. Results are reported as a summary of consensus from both rounds of questionnaires.

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    Uttana Shishosana / Extended Puppy Pose

    Uttana shishosana or the extended puppy pose is an easy and effective yoga for anxiety and depression.

    Beginners at yoga too can comfortably practice this pose and benefit from this asana. This asana relieves the symptoms of tension, stress, helps in calming the mind and even energizes the body.


  • Starting by getting on hands and knees on a mat or a carpet.
  • Stack your hips directly over your knees.
  • Then gently slide your arms forwards and lower your chest towards the mat.
  • Ensure that your elbows do not touch the mat.
  • Then lower your head and rest it on the floor, keep your neck relaxed.
  • Breathe deeply and stretch your shoulders, elongate your spine for relieving the tension.
  • Hold in this posture for 1 to 2 minutes or until comfortable.
  • Now slowly slide back your arms to the starting position and relax.
  • This yoga for depression can be repeated once or twice daily for easing the symptoms of depression.
  • Recommended Approaches And Techniques For Reducing Both Depression And Anxiety

    Yoga for Depression – Stress & Anxiety Relief Flow for Beginners

    There was general consensus that the following approaches and techniques would be recommended for reducing both depression and anxiety.

  • a.

    Regulation of breathing: Relaxed abdominal-diaphragmatic breathing is very important or essential.

  • b.

    Postures: Coordinated flow of breath with movements in postures is very important or essential.

  • c.

    Relaxation: There was no particular approach to relaxation techniques that was considered very important or essential for reducing both depression and anxiety.

  • d.

    Meditation: Even though meditation in general was considered less essential for reducing depression, mindfulness techniques was considered very important or essential for reducing both depression and anxiety. Active meditation techniques that give the mind something to do or focus on visualisation image or symbol candle gazing or smiling heart), or other active meditation techniques , were also considered very important or essential for reducing depression, and somewhat or very important, but less essential for reducing anxiety.

  • General consensus was also achieved on recommendations for other components of yoga practice and yogic lifestyle for reducing both depression and anxiety.

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    The Nervous System And Stress

    We can approach stress in two ways. Firstly, by pausing to notice the relevant signs of unhealthy stress we experience. We can learn about the nervous system and how to tap into the part of our nervous system that brings us calm and gets us into rest and digest ” mode. Secondly, we can utilize self-care and self-growth practices to tap into the power of resilience.

    The structure of the nervous system

    So first, lets look at the nervous system. In the case of stress, it is important that we gain a rudimentary understanding of our nervous system. Why? Well, because your nervous system is your very own command center. It receives, interprets, and responds to the stimuli in the world. The nervous system is responsible for our stress responses. Stress is the way in which the brain and body respond to physical, mental, or emotional demands. If there is a challenge, your brain and body then respond to it. This could be deadlifting a heavier weight than usual, dealing with a death in the family, or personally battling an illness. If we are exposed to stress without the tools to manage it healthily, we find ourselves caught up in chronic stress which contributes to burnout.

    The nervous system is made up of two parts, the central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system.

    The autonomic nervous system has two branches:

  • The sympathetic nervous system
  • The parasympathetic nervous system
  • The Best Type Of Yoga For Anxiety

    Additional research sheds light on certain types of hatha yoga that are best for anxiety and depression. For example, Iyengar yoga has been proven as an effective treatment for clinical depression and major depressive disorder.

    Iyengar yoga is a practice focused on alignment and often relies on the use of props, such as blocks and straps, to achieve a well-aligned physical posture. Unlike vinyasa yoga, which is a more cardiovascular-intensive, flow-based yoga style, Iyengar yoga focuses on longer holds.

    As a result, students of Iyengar spend more time focusing on breath and mental awareness, which helps cultivate peace and calm.

    In a study on 30 people with clinical depression, three months of high frequency and low frequency yoga significantly improved the major symptoms of anxiety. Areas improved included tranquility, positivity and physical exhaustion, all of which greatly improved sleep quality. General symptoms of depression also improved.

    This study suggests that Iyengar yoga is a promising treatment for anxiety symptoms, including depression especially when prescribed by a physician and used in combination with other proven therapies.

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