When you practice yoga for depression, you realize that you're certainly bigger than your sadness, pain, and fears. The moment you realize you connect with yourself, is the moment you start connecting with everything and everyone around you. And the only way to do it, is to sit down with all your scattered emotions, painful memories or experiences with the minutest details that make you sad, see them eye-to-eye, and realize that the only way out is through. In Sanskrit, it's called svadhyaya, which means 'self-study', and the same is done in yoga asanas.
Living in a world of too many facades, sometimes feeling mercilessly pushed into situations and having to cope with the rut of a mixture of daily situations of work, family relations, and the constant expectations that come with it, puts you in a tough position where you try frantically hard to balance yourself emotionally. Sometimes, you lose trust in your own capacities and are afraid to venture forth and face your fears. There is sanctity in learning from facing sadness. But we are desperate to flee from the pain that it throws upon us like an overpowering burden. We start looking outside for things or people to make us happy, forgetting that the real healing that we're so desperately seeking comes from within. Devoured by fears and the discomfort of thinking that we cannot connect any more with the world outside, leads us into dingy and confusing alleys of hollow loneliness.
Yoga asanas for depression help us get deeply in tune with our being as we learn to focus on our breathing, postures of our body, and the slow deep-moving interconnectedness of it all with our mind and spirit. A lot of anxiety we feel, usually ends up in tense muscles in the back, shoulders and the neck. This art calms breath, relaxes the nervous system, and when the nervous system is calm, your mind is too.
Here are some easy postures to get rid of depression. You just have to pick those that work for you and practice regularly, with complete focus.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
- Go onto your hands and knees with your palms right in front of your shoulders, stretched elbows, relaxed upper back between the shoulder blades.
- Exhale and lift your knees, stretching your back up from the pelvis, where your arms and back are in a line.
- Stretch your legs in a way that you feel like your hips and legs are being pulled backward, and let your head hang down, relaxed
- When your legs and back are in the right position, stretch your arms out. Now you can feel the stretch in both - your arms and back. Breathe deeply, slowly, and from your stomach. The chest shouldn't hang downward, and your back should be straight. Feel the entire length of your back, stretched. Focus on your breathing and the position, feeling the stretch in every inch.
Adho Mukha Virasana (Handstand)
- Start this pose with Adho Mukha Svanasana.
- Bend your knees, drawing them closer to your arms.
- Support yourself mainly on your hands and hop inward, until your back is straight.
- Swing one leg up and your lower back follows the movement, then the pelvis, and afterwards, move your other leg upward.
- Bring both feet together in the air and find a point to focus, so you can balance.
Virabhadrasana (Warrior II)
- Stand with your back straight and both feet together, where both your heels and toes touch.
- Tighten or flex the muscles of your stomach, thigh and buttocks, whilst maintaining a firm posture. Balance your weight evenly on your feet.
- Inhale deeply, and thrust your stomach forward, arching your back, and tilt your head as far back as possible.
- Come back to the original position, and then, jump to put your feet about 4 feet away from each other.
- Raise your arms until they're parallel to the ground.
- Turn your left foot to the left (about 90 degrees), bending your left knee in that direction. Let your hips stay at the same angle (180 degrees). Stay in this position for over 30 seconds.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
- Sit down with your knees bent and soles of your feet touching, facing each other.
- Don't bend your back but, sit upright, pressing the outer edges of the feet together.
- Now lean backward slowly so that the elbows, touch the floor at the side of your body.
- Let your back rest on the floor, and stay in that position for several minutes with your eyes shut.
Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)
- Lie on the ground, and slowly lift your legs from the floor in such a way that they stand perpendicular to your body.
- Don't bend them in your knees. (This pose can also be done with your legs up against the wall)
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
- Lie down on the ground, face up.
- Place your arms at the side and a little away from your body, palms turned upward.
- Keep your feet at a distance of about 3 feet from each other.
- Breathe slowly and deeply with your eyes closed and without hanging on to any thought in particular. Observe your thoughts and let them pass. Don't involve yourself too much in them, and relax yourself.
If you're a beginner, the best postures are ones that aren't too complicated and physically strenuous, as you might lose your self-confidence too easily, feel worse, and give up. But if you feel like you are up to the challenge of trying them out, that is nice too. Kundalini yoga involves dynamic and repetitive movements that lift the energy and spirit, stimulating the pituitary and pineal glands, and giving you a sense of well-being.
These asanas are a very effective way to deal with the trauma of sadness and the slow panic of pain. Depression is not really a medical condition that can be solved by medicine as doctors so blatantly label it; it is a reality of life. Depression is capable of creating a stinging illusion of a permanence of the downward spiral it drags you in. But then it's always up to us, where we want to stop and head back up. Yoga asanas stimulate the chakras and nadis (channels through which energy flows). They have proved to be great for treating depression without medication, as they help you with getting rid of your emotional blockages.
Disclaimer: This PsycholoGenie article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.