Since the 1970s, researchers have been studying the benefits of yoga for depression treatment.
Additionally, the ancient Indian tradition of breathing, exercise, and meditation has existed for around 5,000 years. Now, researchers are discovering why millions of Americans are practicing yoga for depression, including anxiety and stress issues.
Moreover, the American Yoga Association states that spending a few minutes practicing yoga three times each day can stabilize your body and mind and alleviate depression symptoms.
Also, people struggling with depression and have mobility issues, especially the elderly, will find yoga stretches beneficial.
How Does Yoga For Depression Work?
One recent research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine observed the brain MRIs actions from people performing yoga exercises and discovered that yoga boosted their neurotransmitter levels for gamma-aminobutyric (GABA). GABA are chemical messengers in the brain responsible for regulating communication. Some of its primary roles in the nervous system are lowering anxiety and depression, reducing mental and physical stress, and creating calmness in the mood.
Additionally, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine affirms that there is developing proof to support observations that yoga can:
- Help people to manage depression, anxiety, and insomnia
- Improve the sense of well-being and moods.
- Help a person learn to cope with stress better.
- Positively modify brain chemicals.
Getting Started With Yoga
Before enrolling in a yoga program, it is essential to know that depression is a severe mental disorder. Therefore, yoga is not an alternative for conventional depression treatment, but it just has positive effects on depression.
Generally, yoga is safe for physically healthy people, but health care providers recommend you inform them first to evaluate whether you can begin any new activity. After getting confirmations to proceed with yoga for depression program with your doctor, below are the steps to start practicing:
- Do some extensive research about the authorized yoga programs available in your region. Bear in mind that numerous programs for yoga instructors are available, but they don’t have approved licensing requirements. Once you get a certified instructor, inquire about the prospective instructors’ experience in training.
- Explain to your yoga instructor your intentions of the practice, mainly for depression. A qualified instructor knows the best practices for various conditions.
- Ask about the physical intensity and challenges of each exercise.
- Try different styles until you identify the one that suits your abilities and needs.
Positive Effects of Yoga for Depression
While many types of yoga practice are safe, some are strenuous and can be risky, especially for elderly patients or those with mobility problems. Confirm with your doctor first before deciding on yoga as a treatment option. Below are several benefits of yoga for depression.
- It can reduce and modulate the impact of an overstated stress response system, which is a common trigger for depression.
- Researchers believe that relaxation response and mindfulness meditation, which are aspects of yoga, can lower cortisol levels and, in turn, decreases depression symptoms. Generally, people with depression have higher levels of cortisol in their blood.
- One promising study revealed a reduction in suicidal attempts for depressed people after a 12-week yoga program.
- Yoga intervention at an appropriate time helps in depression recovery because it can prevent the resurgence of symptoms.