Yoga Helps People With Anxiety & Depression
For many people with an anxious temperament, the tendency to feel overwhelmed, or even full-blown anxiety or depression, options for relieving this psychological distress is usually limited: take medication or seek psychotherapy. But a growing field of study is suggesting that “alternative” treatments, including yoga, might be benefit to managing symptoms of sadness or stress.
The Alternative Treatment
For many people who are dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be a very appealing option.
Crucially, the scientific study of yoga as a therapeutic modality has shed light on the fact that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are so interdependent as to amount to the same thing.
Now, as yoga takes care of both body and soul, it is proving a relatively low-risk, high-benefit approach to improving overall health.
As anyone who has attended a yoga class will know, they vary from gentle, slow-paced endeavours to strenuous and physically challenging ones. The common denominator in the classes, though, is the same: physical poses (asanas), controlled breathing practiced in conjunction with asanas; and a short period of relaxation or meditation.
Yoga And Stress
Harvard University medical school recently reported that reviews of medical studies into the effectiveness of yoga as a treatment for mental health conditions suggest that yoga can reduce the impact of “exaggerated stress responses” and may be helpful for both anxiety and depression.
It appears that doing yoga reduces our perceived stress and anxiety, which in turns tempers our stress response systems and decreases physiological arousal (the unpleasant rise in heart rate or quick breathing we associate with being stressed).
What’s more, research is beginning to shed light on how yoga works to improve our mood.
A German study published in 2005, found that women who performed 90 minutes of yoga a week reported lower levels of perceived stress, depression, and anxiety, and more energy and greater overall wellbeing than women who did not.
Although preliminary evidence suggests that the benefits of yoga for mood and mental health may be similar to that of exercise and relaxation techniques, the balance of breathing, stretching, relaxation and physical exertion offered by yoga seems uniquely positioned to offer benefits for mind, body and soul.
Try these 5 yoga poses fora good night sleep!