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Yoga For Depression

Depression is a group of medical conditions affecting the overall well being of an individual. Depression starts as a mental discomfort resulting from lifestyle stressors. It can go unnoticed and unrecognized especially in communities where mental health is not considered a component of overall health and where general health conditions are ignored. Individuals with depression respond extremely well to therapy and lifestyle changes. This article throws light on how to deal with depression with the help of yoga.
Yoga Tips For Depression

Introduction

Depression is not just one disorder but a combination of many prolonged conditions affecting the energy and enthusiasm of an individual in almost every sphere of their life. Although their mood keeps fluctuating, it is yet mostly overpowered by sadness and grief. Events that cause trauma and stress are especially responsible for bringing about depression in people’s lives. Depression is a prolonged condition and not an episodic one. It may go unnoticed or ignored in the initial or even later stages especially when the person having it doesn’t have help around them.

Symptoms

Symptoms of depression may or may not be apparent. However, the following should be considered:

  • Constant bad mood
  • Changed sleep pattern
  • Sleep and wake timings opposite to the society/ family
  • Changed daily routine
  • Avoidance of gatherings
  • One feels worthless
  • Feeling guilty for everything
  • Over thinking
  • Inability to make important decisions
  • Inability to understand and think clearly
  • Lack of enthusiasm and willingness
  • Changed eating habits
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Avoiding company
  • Avoiding conversations
  • Anxiety and chronic stress
  • Lack of positivity
  • Extreme mood swings in females
  • Alcoholism
  • Substance abuse
  • Sudden aggression in behavior
  • Poor performance at work or school

Causes And Risk Factors

Various factors contribute to the development of any condition in an individual. Those could originate from one’s lifestyle or routine, or be triggered by their anatomical and physiological constitution. Some factors decide the severity and susceptibility of a condition affecting a particular individual. On this basis we see causes of a disease as lifestyle factors, physical factors or risk factors.

  • Stress
  • Over thinking
  • Negative thoughts
  • Major change in life such as having a baby
  • Criticism from society
  • Lack of self acceptance
  • Lack of self confidence
  • Over Consciousness
  • Lack of motivation in life
  • Loss of loved one
  • Emotional insecurities
  • Loss of job
  • Financial insecurities
  • Certain medications that worsen brain health
  • Broken marriages

Diagnosis

Usually a verbal consultation is enough for diagnosing depression.

Complications

If the signs and symptoms are ignored, it can complicate one’s condition. Depression can turn into suicidal behavior. It can also aggravate other unrelated conditions such as metabolic disorders i.e. diabetes, thyroid, etc.

Treatment

Conventionally, antidepressant drugs are used to improve symptoms but they never subside completely, and they recur and worsen in most cases, especially if the person quits or reduces medication. Such medications are strong and have side effects such as unintended weight loss, nausea, disturbed bowels, abnormal blood glucose levels, and most importantly, damaged reproductive health. Therefore it is recommended a programme that has no side effects.

Yoga For Managing Depression

Yoga is a safe set of practices that benefit not just the physical but also the mental health of an individual in many ways. The following practices are recommended for people with any symptoms of depression:

Anuloma Viloma Pranayama

alternate nostril breathing: It is an easy but effective pranayama. It is an excellent practice to prepare for the next practices. It should preferably be performed outdoors.

  • Sit with the legs crossed.
  • Close the eyes gently.
  • The back should be straight and relaxed.
  • The wrists should rest on the knees in the default position.
  • Put the index finger and the ring finger of the right hand on the forehead on top of the nose.
  • Use the thumb to close the right nostril.
  • Inhale with the left nostril.
  • Close the left nostril with the ring finger.
  • Exhale with the right nostril.
  • Inhale with the right nostril and close it with the thumb.
  • Exhale with the left nostril.
  • Practice ten respirations in this way.
  • This is one round. Practice three rounds.

Bhramari Pranayama

The humming bee practice: it improves the overall functioning of the nervous system.

  • Sit with the legs crossed.
  • The spine and the back should be straight and relaxed.
  • Close the eyes gently.
  • Gently plug both the ears with the thumbs of both hands.
  • Put the fingers on each eye.
  • Inhale deeply, and with exhalation, make a deep humming sound like a bee.
  • Practice thrice.

Shavasana

The corpse pose: recommended after asana practice, this pose is used to multiply the benefits of all practices. It is a relaxation exercise. It can be performed on a mat or on the bed.

  • Lie on the back with a relaxed body.
  • Arms should rest on both sides in a neutral position.
  • Maintain the natural curve of the back.
  • The spine should be relaxed at all times.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Keep observing the body’s processes.
  • Get up after some time or go to sleep.

Shavasana can be followed by meditation which should strictly be performed under physician supervision of a therapist because depression may make unpleasant events intense in people with even mild depression.

Lifestyle/Dietary Tips

Adapting a lifestyle that cuts out the physical factors contributing to worsening of any condition multiplies the benefits of a yoga routine by several times. The following tips are extremely beneficial for everyone with any or all symptoms of a disorder relating to the mind.

  • Meditate.
  • Communicate with your friends or family.
  • Eat a balanced diet fulfilling all requirements.
  • Consume natural stress relieving teas such as lavender chamomile and Tulsi.
  • Consume fresh foods and avoid stale ones.
  • Consume healthy fats found in nuts and seeds.
  • Pick up hobbies and join classes for them.
  • Learn new languages.
  • Serve or volunteer at an animal shelter if you like animals.

Conclusion

Depression is recognizable in early stages by signs such as if an otherwise talkative and extroverted person suddenly starts avoiding company. It should be noted that the person who is getting depressed doesn’t himself convey about his condition, it is the duty of the people around such a person to take care and note behavioral changes. We should all take mental health more seriously so that no one is ashamed of sharing their problems and seeking help and support. The practices described here are generally safe for everyone. However, pregnant women and people with multiple conditions should seek guidance from a competent yoga therapist so that they can benefit from meditation.
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Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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