In today’s age, where the pressure to perform better at work places, school and colleges are on the rise, everyone faces with a little bit of restlessness, anxiety and stress. Yes, being under a little bit of pressure is sometimes good, but what happens when this condition becomes chronic? It begins to take a serious toll on the body and mind and is capable of affecting the healthy lifestyle of an individual. This is when depression and anxiety kicks in. Common symptoms of this condition can be as follows:
- Sleepless nights
- Feeling tired throughout the day
- Lack of interest
- Feeling restless and scared
- Frequent palpitations
- Feeling sad
Although there are many treatments available to treat anxiety, Yoga has known to be quiet useful in alleviating this problem.
Asanas in Yoga for anxiety and depression combined with breathing and meditation can help calm the mind and improve the mentioned symptoms significantly. Yoga helps in strengthening your inner self that allows you to face overwhelming fears and challenges too.
The following asanas and techniques can help you stay happy and experience calmness in the mind. However, it should be noted that these techniques cannot alone be considered as a source of treatment. Remember to consult your doctor regarding proper medication and diet first before beginning on yoga.
Yoga Poses for Anxiety and Depression
1. Dhanurasana or the bow pose for anxiety and depression – This pose is great for the expanding and opening of the chest, neck and shoulders. It strengthens the back and abdominal muscles and is great for relieving stress.
- Lie flat on your stomach with your arms by your side, palms facing upwards.
- Lift your chest off the floor so that the shoulder blades move towards each other.
- Place the knees hip width apart and bend both knees and move the feet towards the buttocks.
- Grasp your ankles with your hands.
- With an inhale, lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and back. Hold this position for 5 breaths or more.
- You will notice that your body is in the shape of a bow. Exhale and slowly release the feet.
Also read : 6 Yoga Poses for Couples and Partners
2. Ustrasana or the camel’s pose for depression and anxiety – This is my favorite pose in Yoga. It strengthens the back, opens up the chest and shoulders. Stretches the arms and energizes the body.
- Kneel down on your mat by placing the knees and legs high width apart.
- If you are a beginner, tuck your toes in; else stretch the toes on the mat.
- Keep your spine straight and ensure your hips are directly above your knees.
- Place your hands on your hips. With an inhale, push your hips outward and lift your sternum towards the ceiling.
- Drop your hands to your heel while keeping your chest raised, arching your back, pushing your belly outward.
- Gently lower your head and focus on the tip of your nose.
- It may be difficult to breathe at first, but try and avoid holding your breath in.
- Hold for a few breaths, and release gently.
Must read: 8 Yoga Poses to Improve Flexibility
3. Setu bandhasana or the bridge pose to reduce stress– This is a great pose to open chest cavity, hips, abs and shoulders.
- To begin, lie on your back.
- Fold your knees and keep your feet hip distance apart on the floor, with knees and ankles in a straight line.
- Keep your arms beside your body, palms facing down.
- While inhaling, slowly lift your lower back, middle back and upper back off the floor; being the chest as close to the chin as possible without bringing the chin down, supporting your weight with your shoulders, arms and feet. Feel your bottom tighten up. Both the thighs must be parallel to each other.
- Continue breathing normally.
- Hold the posture for a minute or two and exhale as you gently release the pose.
Also read : What is Hatha Yoga? Benefits Of Hatha Yoga
4. Marjaryasana or the cat cow stretch to tackle anxiety and depression – This stretch is good for flexibility of the spine. It helps in strengthening the wrists and shoulders.
- Begin by being on all your fours. Keep your back flat, point your head straight and place your hips above your knees in a straight line. Your wrists, arms, elbows and shoulders must also form a straight line.
- Do not hyper extend or stretch your elbows but place them gently above your wrists in a comfortable position.
- With an inhale, raise your chin, gently drop your head back, push your navel downward but raise your tail bone. You should feel your back caving inward. Hold this position.
- With your next exhale, Pull your chin and head inward towards your shoulders, round your back, relax your buttocks. Hold this position.
- This is round 1.
- Repeat 5-10 rounds with the next inhale and exhale.
Must read: 8 Powerful Yoga Asanas To Boost Your Stamina
5. Adho mukhasvanasana or the downward facing dog pose for anxiety and depression- This pose is great for lengthening your spine, strengthening your arms, shoulders and legs. It aids in blood circulation to the brain, energizing you instantly.
- Come on your fours and get into a plank position.
- Lift your hips up and straighten your knees and hands. If you have pain or difficulty in your knees, you may bend them slightly and continue.
- Your body should look like an inverted V-shape.
- Lengthen your arms, neck and spine. If you are unable to place the heel of your feet on the ground, it’s okay. Walk up a few steps and hold this position for at least 15 breaths.
- Release gently.
Also read : 13 Amazing Workouts For Perfect Butt and Hips
5. Matsyasana or the fish pose for stress and depression– This is a great stress reliever. It stretches and opens up the chest and releases tension in the neck region.
- Lie on your back with feet together and hands by your side.
- Place your hands underneath your hips with your palms facing downwards.
- With an inhale, lift your head and chest up. Gently place the crown of your head on the floor while keeping your chest elevated.
- Transfer the weight of your body from your head to your arms and elbows.
- Breathe and hold this position for 15-20 counts. Release gently.
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6. Trikonasana or the extended triangle pose for stress and anxiety– This pose stretches the hamstrings and calf muscles, shoulders and spine. It strengthens the knees, ankles and legs. This is certainly one of the best poses to relieve anxiety and stress.
- Stand and separate your feet wide apart.
- Turn your right foot outside towards your side and turn your left foot very slightly inward.
- Distribute your weight evenly on both your feet and maintain your balance.
- Breathe and with your next exhale, bend your body from the right side and place your right hand on the floor. You can place your hand either on your shin, feet or even close to your knees if you can’t make it all the way down.
- Extend your left hand toward the ceiling and align it with your chest and shoulders.
- Breathe and hold this pose for 15 counts. Release gently and repeat on the left side.
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7. Janu sirsasana or the seated head to knee pose to tackle anxiety– This pose provides a good stretch to the spine, hips and legs. Its posture calms the mind and stimulates nervous system.
- Sit on your mat with your legs and feet extended outside in front of you.
- Bend your right knee towards your hips.
- Lengthen your spine. With an inhale stretch your hands towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and bend forward from your hips toward your left leg that is extended out in front of you.
- If you can grab your toes with your hand, that’s great, if you can’t, that’s perfectly fine too. Hold your knees or your shin, wherever you feel comfortable.
- Hold this position for a few counts and breathe continuously.
- Release gently and repeat on the right leg.
Also read : 10 Home Remedies for Knee Pain
8. Shavasana or the corpse pose for depression– This is by far the most difficult pose to attain. It is so simple but yet so difficult, because it involves relaxing your mind, which is seems difficult for many of us nowadays. This asana is very helpful in controlling your mind and thoughts. Once you achieve this pose 100%, you will find yourself rejuvenated, energized, stress free and have clarity in mind.
- Lie down comfortably on your back with your feet separated.
- Place your arms by your side with the palms facing towards the ceiling.
- Relax your body and gently tuck your chin closer to your chest.
- Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.
- Let go of any thoughts in mind or movements in the body and just lay down in this pose for 8-15minutes.
- Gently wake up from this posture with a big smile on your face J
Must read: 14 Yoga Asanas To Reduce Stress
Following the above asanas along with proper breathing or Pranayama techniques can provide tremendous support. The breath helps maintain stability in the mind, fills up the lungs with fresh oxygen and brings a state of calmness.
I hope that this article on “Yoga Poses for Anxiety and Depression“ has helped you achieve a steady state of mind. Do leave a feedback, telling me what you think of this article and whether or not any of the poses have helped you in any ways. Also, do not hesitate to drop in your queries.