Postures that Promote Mental Health
By Brodi Saatpha
When you're experiencing symptoms of depression, exercise may be the last thing you want to think about doing; however, it could be one of the most beneficial, particularly if the exercise you choose is yoga.
Well over a hundred million people worldwide are affected by depression, and in the U.S. alone the annual cost of medically treating depression is astronomical. That said, yoga isn't an instant cure or a replacement for the clinical treatment of severe depression. But at the same time, yoga practice may ease some of the symptoms of depression or even clear a path of sight through the gloom. It might also increase feelings of empowerment for sufferers, by showing them a way to treat themselves better.
If you're new to yoga, the hardest thing might be actually making it to the mat; but even if you start with just a few poses a day, you may find that you're soon ready to do more. The slow, deep breathing, the yoga postures and the meditation can each help you to become more in tune with yourself, by strengthening your sense of wholeness and balance in mind, body and spirit.
The benefits of yoga don't end there. Regular, slow and gentle practice can help reduce stress, contributing to a more peaceful state of mind and positive outlook. You might see the results in better mood control, improved concentration and energy levels, as well as in your general sense of well-being.
There's science behind the positive effects of yoga, as well. Practicing yoga can stimulate the nervous system and circulation, raising the levels of hormones that make us feel good and decreasing those that cause us to feel stressed. Yoga practice can also be beneficial to the immune system and can help flush toxins from the body.
If you're interested in trying yoga to soothe feelings of depression, you might want to join a class at a nearby yoga studio, fitness club or community center. A good certified instructor should be able to provide you with tips and poses that are particularly good for easing depression, but you can also turn to videos or the Internet for sites addressing this more specific use of the practice.
For a more in-depth examination of the relationship between yoga and mental health, you might want to read Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga, by yoga instructor and mentor Amy Weinstraub.
About the Author
Brodi Saatpha has been practicing Yoga for many years, and one day hopes to attain true enlightenment. When she is not teaching others how to discover inner peace, she writes for http://www.yoga-insight.com/ – a website educating people about home yoga workouts, yoga retreats and more.
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