Yoga for Anxiety and Depression

Yoga for Anxiety and Depression
Yoga for Anxiety and Depression

Depression and Anxiety are two of the most commonly known metal health conditions diagnosed in people these days. Persistently sad feeling, dejected or loss of interest in daily activities are a few signs which are identified as mental illness which can lead to depression and anxiety. One should know that these symptoms don’t just affect the mental health but in longer span of time it can even affect the physical health as well.

To understand the signs of depression and anxiety better we have listed out a few common symptoms of depression and anxiety here –

Depression Symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Frustrated and Disappointment
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Loss of Interest
  • Fatigue
  • Disturbed Sleeping Pattern
  • Appetite Changes
  • Uncontrollable Emotions

Anxiety Symptoms 

  • Excessively Worrying
  • Cold or Sweaty Palms and Feet
  • Heart Palpitation
  • Dry Mouth
  • Disturbed Sleeping Pattern
  • Panic Attack
  • Muscle Tension
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Dizziness
  • Self Consciousness or Self Doubt

 Many people believe that these symptoms of depression and anxiety are inevitable and cannot be cured. However medical science has proven that simple asanas of yoga for depression and anxiety have provided positive results in treating these symptoms.

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise which encourages relaxation and is great for improving the mental health. Practicing yoga regularly is even beneficial for managing stress levels better as yoga helps in lowering the level of cortisol a stress hormone in the body.

Yoga for Anxiety and Depression

So, here are a few effective and easy yoga exercises for treating the symptoms of depression and anxiety –

1. Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Facing Dog Pose

 Adho mukha svanasan is one of the most effective yoga for depression and anxiety.  This yoga asana improves the blood flow to the brain which provides relief from depression by improving the brain function and relieves stress as well.

Adho mukha svanasan is even good for increasing your self confidence.

Direction: 

  1. Start by lying down on your stomach on a mat.
  2. Then place your palms under your shoulders and extend your knees, maintaining your feet straight so that your toes are touching the floor.
  3. Make sure to keep your knees apart and align your knees behind your hips, palms ahead of your shoulders.
  4. Then slowly raise your knees and bend the knees slightly so that your heels are lifted from the floor.
  5. Later raise your upper body by lengthening your tailbone, lift your buttocks further upwards.
  6. Stretch your thighs further and engage your hamstrings so that your knees are straight.
  7. Then straighten your elbows and pull your shoulder blades towards your upper back.
  8. Ensure to keep your head is between your straightened arms.
  9. Hold in this posture for 40 seconds to 1 minute.
  10. Then slowly bend your knees and return to the starting position.
  11. This adho mukha svanasan yoga for depression can be practised for 1 minute to 3 minutes for effective results.

2. Dhanurasana / Bow Pose

 If you think yoga and depression is a mismatch then you are definitely wrong.

Yoga is the ultimate and the fastest cure for depression. The yoga dhanurasana is a great asana for treating the signs of depression and also relieves stress.

Direction:

  1. Start by lying down on your abdomen on a mat.
  2. Then slowly lift your chest from the floor and lift your legs backwards towards the buttocks.
  3. Grasp your feet with your hands and pull your legs backwards so that your chest and thighs are in air.
  4. Inhale in this bow posture and hold this posture for 50 seconds to 1 minute or till comfortable.
  5. Then exhale and slowly leave your feet and lower your chest and thighs to the floor.
  6. Relax and repeat this yoga depression asana daily 4 to 5 times for treating the symptoms of depression easily.

3. Matsyasana / Fish Pose 

 Matsyasana or fish pose is an effective yoga for anxiety.

People experiencing with anxiety often complain of tightness in the chest and neck area. This asana stretches the muscles in the chest, throat and ribs to relieve the tightness and tension in chest, neck and shoulder area effectively.

Matsyasana even improves the blood circulation for calming the brain.

Direction:

  1. Start by lying down on your back on a mat.
  2. Straighten your legs and keep your feet together.
  3. Then place your palms straight facing the mat under your thighs.
  4. Later bend your elbows and raise your upper arms to lift your chest so that your chest is arch upwards as possible.
  5. Then bend your neck backwards and rest the top of your head on the mat.
  6. Ensure that your chin is pointing towards the sky.
  7. Take a few deep breathes and hold in this position.
  8. Later slowly roll back your chest to the floor and relax your neck on the mat.
  9. This yoga for anxiety and depression asana can be daily practiced for 3 minutes to 5 minutes to releasing the tension and treating anxiety symptoms.

4. Prasarita Padottanasana / Wide Angle Standing Forward Bend

 Many people don’t believe that yoga and anxiety can work together. But yoga is one such therapy which provides fast respite for anxiety sufferers than any medication or side effects.

One such yoga asana is the prasarita padottanasana which relieves the symptoms of anxiety, fatigue and revitalizes the whole body.

Direction:

  1. Start by standing straight and place your arms on your waist.
  2. Inhale and keep your feet 4 to 5 feet apart.
  3. Then exhale and lean your torso forward from the hips slowly and place your fingertips on the floor.
  4. Ensure to place your fingertips shoulder width apart and your chest is parallel to the floor.
  5. Lengthen your spine and arch your back so that it’s slightly concave from the tailbone.
  6. Hold in this position for 8 to 10 seconds.
  7. Then exhale and bend your elbows and torso from the hips.
  8. By bending forward try to rest your crown of the head on a mat or support in front of you.
  9. Stabilize in this position by pressing your arms on the floor.
  10. Then pull your shoulders backwards and breathe deeply.
  11. Hold in this posture for 40 seconds to a minute.
  12. Then slowly straighten your elbows and your torso, and then return to the starting position by placing your feet together.
  13. This yoga for anxiety can be repeated once of twice a day for treating anxiety easily.

5. Janu Sirasana / Head to Knee Forward Bend

 Janu sirasana is an easy and effective yoga for depression. This yoga asana is beneficial for calming the mind, relieves headache and treats fatigue.

People suffering from sleep disturbance due to anxiety or depression can even benefit from this pose janu sirasana.

Direction:

  1. Start by sitting on a mat with legs stretched out.
  2. Then bend your right knee and rest your right feet’s sole against your inner thigh of left leg.
  3. Later raise your arms above the head and extend it towards the straightened left leg, hold your feet’s sole.
  4. Then hold your one wrist with the other hand.
  5. Later lengthen and twist your spine towards the extended leg.
  6. Breathe deeply and elongate your torso as much as possible towards the extended leg and rest your chin on the knee.
  7. Ensure that you don’t bend your extended leg’s knee.
  8. Hold in this stretch for 30 to 40 seconds.
  9. Then slowly release your hands from the feet and raise your torso upwards.
  10. Straighten your leg and relax.
  11. Then repeat this yoga depression asana on the other side for relief from the symptoms of depression.

6. Uttana Shishosana / Extended Puppy Pose

 Uttana shishosana or the extended puppy pose is an easy and effective yoga for anxiety and depression.

Beginners at yoga too can comfortably practice this pose and benefit from this asana. This asana relieves the symptoms of tension, stress, helps in calming the mind and even energizes the body.

Direction: 

  1. Starting by getting on hands and knees on a mat or a carpet.
  2. Stack your hips directly over your knees.
  3. Then gently slide your arms forwards and lower your chest towards the mat.
  4.  Ensure that your elbows do not touch the mat.
  5. Then lower your head and rest it on the floor, keep your neck relaxed.
  6. Breathe deeply and stretch your shoulders, elongate your spine for relieving the tension.
  7. Hold in this posture for 1 to 2 minutes or until comfortable.
  8. Now slowly slide back your arms to the starting position and relax.
  9. This yoga for depression can be repeated once or twice daily for easing the symptoms of depression.

7. Viparita Karani / Upside down Seal Pose

Yoga for anxiety is one of the most recommended remedies worldwide as it cures the symptoms of anxiety naturally without any medication and side effects. The viparita karani yoga asana is an easy pose for calming the anxiety, mild depression and insomnia related to stress.

Direction:

  1. Begin by sitting sideways either left or right side against a wall or stable back support.
  2. Then slowly lift your legs upwards by twisting your legs towards the wall.
  3. In step 2 your torso and head are also twisting towards the wall.
  4. Ensure that your heels and buttocks are supported by the wall.
  5. Then rest your back, shoulders and head on the mat and relax.
  6. Place your arms besides your body straight with palms facing skywards.
  7. Close your eyes, relax and maintain in this position for 4 to 5 minutes or until comfortable.
  8. Then slowly twist your torso back to the floor and come back to the starting position.
  9. This yoga anxiety asana can be performed once or twice a day for instant relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

8. Salamba Sirsasana / Supported Headstand

 Salamba sirsasana or the supported headstand is an excellent yoga for anxiety and depression. This asana is considered as the best asana for boosting the brain power, calming the mind, relieves stress and treats mild depression, headache and insomnia as well.

Direction:

  1. Take a yoga mat or a thick blanket for supporting the head.
  2. Then start the asana by getting on your fours, hands under your shoulders and hips above your knees.
  3. Then lower your elbows on to the mat and place them shoulder width apart.
  4. Lace your fingers together and place your palms on the floor.
  5. Then rest your head on the mat in between your elbows.
  6. Roll your upper arms outwards by pressing your inner palms on the mat.
  7. Then slowly raise your knees from the mat closer to the elbows.
  8. Raise your thighs like mountain pose then slowly lift both your feet off the mat at the same time.
  9. Use your arms and shoulders for support to come in a headstand.
  10. Try to keep your body weight balanced between your arms.
  11. If your knees are bent during coming into headstand straighten your legs slowly.
  12. Hold in this position for 10 to 15 seconds initially.
  13. Then slowly lower your legs and make sure to keep your shoulders firm while coming down.
  14. Touch both the feet to the mat at the same time.
  15. This yoga depression asana can be practiced by beginners for 10 seconds and then they can gradually increase to hold in this position for 5 minutes.

9. Vrikasana / Tree Pose

In yoga for depression and anxiety vrikasana or the tree pose is extremely helpful in calming the mind and for easing the anxiety effectively. This is an easy asana for promoting concentration and developing self confidence.

Direction:

  1. Start by standing straight and place your feet hip width apart.
  2. Then bend your left leg and rest it on the top of right leg so that your left leg’s toes are pointing downwards.
  3. Straighten your arms above your head and hold your palms in a namaskar pose.
  4. Then balance your body’s weight on your right leg.
  5. Ensure to keep your spine straight by stretching your body from feet to fingers.
  6. Breathe deeply and hold in this position for 50 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Then slowly lower your leg and arms, relax repeat on other side.
  8. This yoga for depression must be repeated 4 to 5 times on each side for curing the symptoms of depression easily.

10. Setu Bandhasana / Bridge Pose

 People suffering from symptoms like panic attack, sweaty hands or heart palpitation Yoga and anxiety is the perfect natural cure. Practicing this asana gives calmness to the mind, reduces the symptoms of anxiety and stress effectively.

Direction: 

  1. Start by lying down on your on a mat.
  2. Then place your feet hip width apart on the mat and bend your knees.
  3. Ensure your knees are aligned in a straight line.
  4. Then place your arms besides your body with palms facing downwards.
  5. Inhale and slowly raise your back off the mat.
  6. Now slowly roll your shoulder and try to touch your chest with your chin.
  7. In this posture your body’s weight should be supported by your shoulders, arms and your feet.
  8. You can interlace your fingers under your back to raise your back further upwards.
  9. Maintain a normal breathing and hold in this posture for 40 seconds to 1 minute.
  10. Then exhale, release your arms and lower your back gently to the floor to come back to the starting position.
  11. This yoga for anxiety can be practised for 1 minute to 3 minutes daily for relieving the symptoms of anxiety and stress.

11. Balasana / Child Pose

 Balasana or the child pose is one of the most popular yoga for depression and anxiety. This asana instantly makes the energy flowing again to make one feel positive and relaxed.

Balasana opens the chest muscles to relieve the tightness in chest caused by anxiety for reducing stress and fatigue as well.

Direction:

  1. Start by kneeling on a mat and sit onto your heels and place your hands on the thighs.
  2. Then bend forwards from your hips to lower your chest in between your thighs.
  3. Ensure that your buttocks are touching your heels.
  4. Then rest your forehead on the mat.
  5. Later straighten out your arms and place it on the sides of your head.
  6. Elongate your arms further to feel a good stretch in your entire body.
  7. Breathe deeply and hold in this position for 1 to 3 minute.
  8. Later slide back your arms and raise your torso to the starting position.
  9. This yoga and depression asana can be performed any time of the day for relief from the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

12. Marjariasana / Cat Pose

 Marjariasana or the cat pose is the ideal yoga for depression as it cures ailments including anger management, lethargy, emotional issues such as depression and anxiety too. This asana can be done by any one in any age group, beginners to advanced level of yoga practitioners.

Direction:

  1. Start by getting down on a mat with palms directly under your shoulders and hips above your knees.
  2. Ensure to keep your palms shoulder width apart.
  3. Then tilt your head towards the floor and inhale.
  4. Exhale and draw in your abdominal muscles towards your spine to form an arch in the back upwards and raise your head, look ahead.
  5. Hold in this posture for 15 to 20 seconds.
  6. Then inhale, gently bend your tailbone and spine downwards by drawing in your head inwards.
  7. Hold this posture for 15 to 20 seconds and return to the starting position.
  8. Marjariasana a yoga depression asana can be repeated 6 to 8 times for treating the symptoms of depression naturally.

 13. Padmasana / Lotus Pose

 Padmasana or the lotus pose is known as the depression buster as this yoga for anxiety and depression helps in calming the mind, deal with stress easily. This asana is beneficial for instantly soothing nerves which can lead to mental distress, outburst of anger and sadness.

Direction:

  1. Start by sitting on a mat and straighten your legs forward.
  2. Then rest your left foot on your right thigh and the right foot on the left thigh.
  3. Later place your palms on the knee joints facing downwards.
  4. Ensure to keep your back and chest straight.
  5. Then close your eyes and breathe deeply for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Later open your eyes and straighten your legs to come back to the starting position.
  7. This yoga for depression can be practised for as long as one is comfortable.

14. Baddha Virabhadrasana / Humble Warrior Pose

 In yoga for anxiety and depression baddha virabhadrasana provides amazing benefits for releasing the tension in the spine and neck. This asana provides relief for people suffering from the symptoms of anxiety and depression by reducing stress levels and increases blood circulation.

Direction:

  1. Start by getting on your both hands and feet in a mountain pose.
  2. Then take your left foot two steps to the left with toes facing slightly inwards.
  3. Take your arms behind your back and lace your fingers together.
  4. Inhale deeply to expand your chest muscles.
  5. Then exhale and bend forward so that your left shoulder touches your left leg.
  6. Move your laced fingers towards your head for expanding your chest further.
  7. Try to place your head on the floor if possible or look towards the floor.
  8. Then maintain this posture for 4 to 5 breaths.
  9. Later place your hands on the mat and come back to the starting position.
  10. Then repeat this yoga for depression on the other side.
  11. This yoga asana can be repeated 3 to 5 times on each side to treat the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

15. Ananda Balasana / Happy Baby Pose

 This ananda balasana is an extremely good yoga for depression as this asana relieves the stress and fatigue easily.

People suffering from depression and anxiety can instantly experience calmness and relaxation with this pose. This asana is even great for increasing the blood circulation and making you feel energized.

Direction:

  1. Start by lying down on your back on a mat and inhale deeply.
  2. Then raise your legs straight upwards with keeping your knees together.
  3. Later bend your knees and pull it towards your abdomen.
  4. Then hold your big toes and keep your soles pointed skywards.
  5. Extend your knees wider and pull the knees towards your armpits.
  6. Ensure to keep your feet above the bent knees.
  7. Hold in this posture for 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Try to draw your legs towards yourself and then slide them backwards to feel the stretch.
  9. Later release your big toes and straighten your knees, place it on the mat.
  10. This yoga for anxiety and depression asana can be performed any time of the day to release stress.

16. Baddha Konasana / Bound Angle

 The baddha konasana is also known as the yoga anxiety for its health benefits.

This particular yoga pose helps in relieving the symptoms of mental illness like depression, anxiety and fatigue caused by stress. The other benefit of this asana is that it’s excellent for improving the blood circulation in the entire body.

Direction:   

  1. Start by sitting on a mat with legs straightened out in front of you.
  2. Then bend your knees and join together your heels towards your pelvis.
  3. Slowly drop your knees outwards to the sides.
  4. Press your heels together and bring them closer to your pelvis.
  5. Then hold your big toes with your first and second fingers.
  6. Try to place your body’s weight on your pubis and your tailbone.
  7. Keep your shoulders wide and spine straight, don’t force to place your knees flat on the mat.
  8. Hold in this position for 3 to 5 minutes and breathe normally.
  9. Later slowly release your big toes and straighten your knees to the starting position.
  10. This yoga for anxiety can be practiced for 3 to 10 minutes for benefiting from this asana.

17. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama / Channel Cleaning Breath

 In yoga for depression and anxiety nadi shodhana pranayama works on lowering the heart rate to ease the symptoms of anxiety and stress. This asana even purifies the energy channels to combat the negative feelings.

Direction: 

  1. Start by sitting on a mat and make mrigi mudra with both palms.
  2. Then close your left nostril with your thumb and inhale through your right nostril.
  3. Later close your right nostril with your little finger and open your left nostril to exhale.
  4. Then repeat the same on the other side to complete one repetition.
  5. Repeat this process for 4 to 5 times on each nostril.
  6. Then release your mrigi mudra and breathe normally.
  7. This yoga for depression and anxiety can be practiced daily for treating the symptoms and maintaining a positive mind.

18. Shavasana / Corpse Pose

 Shavasana is the perfect yoga for depression and the ideal way to end the yoga session. This yoga needs to be performed at the end of all yoga asanas. This asana promotes relaxation and helps in healing the body and the mind from the symptoms of depression.

Direction: 

  1. Start by lying down flat on your back on a mat in a quiet environment.
  2. Then close your eyes, keep your legs and feet completely relaxed.
  3. Straighten your arms and place them besides your body with fingers spread out.
  4. Slowly try to bring your attention to body starting from leg feet to knees and upwards.
  5. Then turn your attention towards your right side of the body from feet to head.
  6. In this process keep your breathing normal and relaxed.
  7. Ensure that you don’t fall asleep.
  8. Stay in this calm in this meditative posture for 10 to 15 minutes by relaxing your body completely.
  9. Then slowly open your eyes and gently sit up on the mat in sukhasana.
  10. This yoga for anxiety can be practiced any time of the day regularly to relax, rejuvenate your mind and keep anxiety and depression at bay.

So, here were some of the best yoga for depression and anxiety asanas. Practise these asanas regularly to maintain a calm and positive mind.

All these yoga asanas are safe and can be practiced comfortably at home or in a calm environment. If in case you feel any discomfort or pain while practicing any of these yoga asanas, discontinue doing it immediately and it’s recommended to consult a specialist.

Do drop in a line or comment to let us know which yoga asana worked the best for you to combat anxiety and depression.

Yoga for Anxiety and Depression
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