How Yoga Can Help You Manage Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

July 20, 2017

 When we feel stressed, anxious, or depressed sometimes the last thing we want to do is move. Chances are we would rather crawl back under the bed covers and sleep the day away. Paradoxically, sometimes a bit of movement is exactly what we need when we are feeling down.

 

But, don’t worry, you don’t need to do an hour-long exercise class and work up a sweat to start feeling better. A gentle beginner class, in a studio or in the comfort of your own home, can help you connect to your breath and get your blood flowing. You can even find short classes specifically for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression for free on YouTube.

 

Not feeling a flow? Here are a few easy poses that you can try to help you stimulate the body and lift your mood:

 

1. Child’s Pose

 

 

Child’s pose is great for releasing stress and feeling more grounded. Sit with your knees and feet together on the floor or knees hip width apart and toes touching. Fold forward and bring your forehead to the ground if your flexibility allows it. Reach your arms out in front of you with your palms on the floor and breathe.

 

2. Easy Pose

 

 

Easy pose is basically sitting in a comfortable spot with your legs crossed. Place your hands on your knees with your palms facing up and your eyes closed or open. Try to sit up with a long, straight spine and focus your attention on your breath.

 

When your mind starts to wander don’t judge it, just gently bring your focus back to your breath and physical sensations like smell, sound, and the feeling of your body on the floor.

 

3. Tree Pose

 

 

This simple balancing pose can help you relieve stress and anxiety because it takes focus, calm and steady breathing to stay balanced. Stand tall, feeling both feet pressing evenly on the floor beneath you.

 

Slowly start to shift your weight into your right foot and place your left foot against your shin or thigh. Bring your hands into prayer or reach for the sky with your arms spread out like tree branches. Breathe here for a few moments before switching to the other side. 

 

4. Cat/Cow Pose

 

 

Cat/Cow is actually two poses that feel great when you flow them together. Start in a tabletop position on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

 

Take a slow, deep breath in as you lower your belly and bring your chest forward, chin up. Exhaling slowly, reverse the movement by rounding your back and tucking your chin. These poses help to warm up the spine, massage your internal organs, and bring about a sense of emotional balance.

 

Want to know how to safely get into this pose? Check out this simple guide.

 

Yoga is an excellent way to increase mind-body awareness and reduce the symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. Even 20 minutes of yoga daily or a few times a week is enough to start seeing improvements in your mood and energy levels.

 

While yoga can be very helpful, it is not a cure for mental health problems. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, reach out for a free consultation with us to see how we can help.

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