Before practicing Yoga for around 6 years now, my life was consumed by an every day existence induced by various symptoms of depression and incredibly low self-esteem. Aggravated due to horrible acne and bothersome symptoms of asthma, not feeling any depression symptoms was a rather rare occurrence. Well, it was rare until I discovered the therapeutic attributes of Yoga and how it can serve as a treatment for depression.
It is no surprise that I was not the only person experiencing such things as research shows some form of depression treatment that offered to over 20 million Americans annually in form of medication. Nonetheless, what really should be a primary concern are in fact the many side effects that come common with these types of anti-depression drugs. As effective as they may be for some period of time, it’s been found that depression drugs come with many side effects that include but are not limited to fatigue, nausea, insomnia, and sexual dysfunctions.
Fortunately, just as practically any other human sickness, there are natural alternatives to treatment such ailments without the accompaniment of side effects. One alternative for the treatment of depression is something we’ve all heard of, Yoga.
How can Yoga possibly be a depression treatment? Well, primarily, the gentle movements and poses that Yoga encompasses, Theta waves (dreams, emotions, and unconscious memory), and Alpha wave (relaxation) have the tendency to increase by a significant amount after performing them. These studies were founded by a Scandinavian study conducted by Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., which measured the brain wave activity before and after two-hours of a Yoga class.
In result, one tends to increase contact with your emotions and your own subconscious. Furthermore, after use, increase in alpha waves are in the right temporal region of your brain, which other studies show that people who deal with depression tend to have more alpha activity in the frontal-temporal left region, while optimistic, extroverted people seemed to have more alpha activity on the right.
The practice of Yoga also has noted a reduction in the hormone cortisol and an increase in a hormone known as prolactin happens; this is believed by many experts to hold the key to producing anti-depressant effects of electroshock therapy.
If this sounds a bit took complicated, maybe these simple illustrations of how effective Yoga works for depression treatment my be that it can exercise the motor centers of your brain, which makes the blood flow away from your emotional activity center; as a result one becomes more prone and receptive to positive thinking.
This can be achieved through a variety of Yoga poses, however I’ll narrow these down to my top 3 simple yet highly effective poses.
Depression Treatment: The best Yoga Poses for depression therapy
1. The Sun Salutations:
This stimulated and balances all systems of your body. This includes the nervous systems and endocrine systems that have great impact on our emotions. They also induce deep breathing which aides in alleviating stressful situations. Perform these in rounds of 3.
2. The Shoulder- Stand
This pose is actually quite simple to execute despite its deterring name.
3. The Relaxation Pose:
This pose sort of speaks for itself and involves lying completely motionless on your back with very deep breathing and meditation. This is usually performed for several minutes and can be combined with positive affirmations to be repeated mentally while you’re relaxing.