Yoga is a great mental enhancer and it does it naturally. Any kind of exercise releases hormones that help ease the stress that often leads to low spirits, blues, or outright depression.
Activity keeps your mind far from negative thoughts and allows you to gain insight on dilemmas in your life. People who are depressed or down often lack the stimulus to exercise. It doesn't take near as much effort to do a Yoga routine as it does to work out to a video or drive to the gym.
A word of warning; if you experience more than just the occasional bout of the blues and feel down for more than two weeks at a time, you should seek professional help. They may feel that you need treatment or therapy, and proper exercise.
Very often people especially those of color who are depressed frequently lack the concentration to stop and try to disconnect themselves from their thoughts.
Have you heard any of these misconceptions about depression in the black community:
“Why are you depressed?
If our people could make it through slavery, we can make it through anything.”
“When a black woman suffers from a mental disorder, the opinion is that she is weak. And weakness in black women is intolerable.”
“You should take your troubles to Jesus, not some stranger/psychiatrist.”
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The truth is that getting help is a sign of strength. It is time as a community we come together and help each other heal.
There is still a lot of dogma surrounding yoga within the black community. However, with blogs like “BlackGirlYoga” and Instagram profiles such as @Blackgirlyoga we are shedding light yoga through our representation and knowledge.
Yoga is meditation in movement so it is easier to move your mind away from depressing thoughts. Yoga's focus on balance can also help you bring back your mental strength.
Yoga has a clear-cut connection between mind, body, and spirit that no other form of exercise or meditation can attain on its own. Research suggests that this practice modulates the stress response as stated in this article from Harvard Medical school.
Negative thoughts can keep us from experiencing our vital inner nature. Some of the signs are
Lack of interest
Sleeping too much or not enough are all signs of depression.
Yoga is designed to bring you closer to your inner self; it then is only natural that it can help with some of the symptoms of depression.
As stated in Time Magazine, lead author Dr. Chris Streeter, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, says that yoga practice has far fewer side effects and potential drug interactions than mood-altering medications.
Certain postures such as Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward facing dog, Balasana or Child’s pose, Savasana or Corpse Pose as shown below can influence your mood and allow depression to end.
Even though one special Asana can't cure depression or the blues but it can help you release the right hormones.
Practicing a sequence of asanas can assist in increasing your lung capacity allowing more oxygen to reach all the affected parts of your body including your mood. Asana postures can help depleted energy levels and sluggishness.
You should ask your Yoga instructor to help you and suggest postures that would best assist you to balance your moods.
The practice of yoga calms the nervous system and allows you to comprehend the link between your mind and emotions. They can both be used to help each other. As breathing is an important part of Yoga, it can also help you to limit anxiety, calm your thoughts, and help you concentrate on positive energy rather than negative.
Any style of Yoga can help you exile the blues.
It may not be physically demanding but you will feel so much better at the end of your session.
Remember, if you have a severe depressive episode; seek advice from with a professional. Consult with your Doctor before starting to practice yoga to be sure there is no conflict with any treatment you may be undergoing.
If you want to try a Yoga routine specifically for depression, find a teacher who can create a personal routine for you.
Yoga teachers have been extensively trained for this purpose and know which positions are the most suitable for remedial purposes.
About the Author:
Kenya Marsh is the founder of SimplyFitandCurvyYoga and Author of several books including Yoga for Beginners: A Great Way to Start. As a wife, stay-at-home mom of two, and Certified Yoga Teacher. Kenya knows how challenging and beneficial a steady yoga practice can be. She understands it can be hard to start a new yoga journey alone. She created her website, along with courses, books, and more materials to help provide support to busy yogis with their practice. You can follow her practice on Instagram @SimplyFitandCurvyYoga