Kelly

Yoga For Depression

18 posts in this topic

I want to share some thoughts about using yoga to help treat depression. Reading the post about detox yoga got me thinking. I have read a few book on yoga for depression and I have come across a number of teachers who swear by certain poses that help with dealing with depression but I wonder if there are specific poses that help with depression or if developing a yoga practice, any yoga practice, helps with a sense of well being which in turn help with depression. I am pretty new to the yoga world but I would love to hear some experienced feedback on this.

Warmest Blessings, Kelly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to share some thoughts about using yoga to help treat depression. Reading the post about detox yoga got me thinking. I have read a few book on yoga for depression and I have come across a number of teachers who swear by certain poses that help with dealing with depression but I wonder if there are specific poses that help with depression or if developing a yoga practice, any yoga practice, helps with a sense of well being which in turn help with depression. I am pretty new to the yoga world but I would love to hear some experienced feedback on this.

Warmest Blessings, Kelly

Hi Kelly! In my opinion, as someone who has lost friends and family to suicide, I urge people dealing with depression to see a doctor or naturopath from the inside out.  Once there's a plan in place, then I think any type of yoga may be a helpful complementary therapy because it gets the endorphins going and promotes relaxation. I think any yoga will be helpful, but "heart opening" poses (opening up the chest) can be particularly beneficial. 

 

(Interestingly, for what it's worth, the doctor who wrote the GAPS book - the healing diet that I'm currently following to heal my stomach from longterm antibiotic use for lyme disease - says that through her research and clinical studies, she believes depression stems from poor gut health and when we heal the gut the symptoms of depression go away. I'm just over the one year mark and this past winter was the first year in maybe thirteen years that I didn't experience seasonal depression.)

laceyd and Laura like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kelly! In my opinion, as someone who has lost friends and family to suicide, I urge people dealing with depression to see a doctor or naturopath from the inside out.  Once there's a plan in place, then I think any type of yoga may be a helpful complementary therapy because it gets the endorphins going and promotes relaxation. I think any yoga will be helpful, but "heart opening" poses (opening up the chest) can be particularly beneficial. 

 

(Interestingly, for what it's worth, the doctor who wrote the GAPS book - the healing diet that I'm currently following to heal my stomach from longterm antibiotic use for lyme disease - says that through her research and clinical studies, she believes depression stems from poor gut health and when we heal the gut the symptoms of depression go away. I'm just over the one year mark and this past winter was the first year in maybe thirteen years that I didn't experience seasonal depression.)

I might have to look into that. I suffered from multiple mental health diagnoses as well as being in recovery from an eating disorder. I have just started a new treatment program that has me weaning off a nasty cocktail of multiple antidepressants and antipsychotics and am almost drugs free for the first time in 6 years. This has me looking for other ways of managing my health (with my treatment teams blessing). I have done yoga in the past as a form of exercise, eating disorders are about so much more than food, but now I find myself drawn to spiritual aspects and the dream of finding that elusive "inner peace".

Reggi and YogaByCandace like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might have to look into that. I suffered from multiple mental health diagnoses as well as being in recovery from an eating disorder. I have just started a new treatment program that has me weaning off a nasty cocktail of multiple antidepressants and antipsychotics and am almost drugs free for the first time in 6 years. This has me looking for other ways of managing my health (with my treatment teams blessing). I have done yoga in the past as a form of exercise, eating disorders are about so much more than food, but now I find myself drawn to spiritual aspects and the dream of finding that elusive "inner peace".

Kelly, I´m so sorry that you´ve had to go through all this and very glad that you are recovering. Depression is a mean thief, that just steals all happiness from you, paints the world grey and makes everything så heavy. It is also a complex disease, especially in regards to its multiple causes, as mind and body interact to form its appearance. But no matter what the causes are, there are things to do, that can help. 

Mindfulness is proven to have a good effect on relieving depression, probably because it enhances the ability to have negative thoughts without being affected too much by them and because it helps the body enter a more relaxed state. Sleeping enough, eating healthy, getting enough Vitamin D, physical exercise are also things, that can improve your wellbeing and relieve symptoms of depression. 

I think in general it has a lot to do with finding a healthy balance of taking better care of yourself. And yoga is definately a way to take good care of yourself. To devote a number of minutes to yourself is not just about taking physically care of yourself but also an act of self love, a way to remind yourself, that you deserve to be taken good care of. And you do. 

I hope you find your way to a healthy and happier and eventually drug free life. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kelly, I´m so sorry that you´ve had to go through all this and very glad that you are recovering. Depression is a mean thief, that just steals all happiness from you, paints the world grey and makes everything så heavy. It is also a complex disease, especially in regards to its multiple causes, as mind and body interact to form its appearance. But no matter what the causes are, there are things to do, that can help. 

Mindfulness is proven to have a good effect on relieving depression, probably because it enhances the ability to have negative thoughts without being affected too much by them and because it helps the body enter a more relaxed state. Sleeping enough, eating healthy, getting enough Vitamin D, physical exercise are also things, that can improve your wellbeing and relieve symptoms of depression. 

I think in general it has a lot to do with finding a healthy balance of taking better care of yourself. And yoga is definately a way to take good care of yourself. To devote a number of minutes to yourself is not just about taking physically care of yourself but also an act of self love, a way to remind yourself, that you deserve to be taken good care of. And you do. 

I hope you find your way to a healthy and happier and eventually drug free life.

I love that you brought up mindfulness. I too struggle with depression and have been on every antidepressant you can name. I found they all caused more problems for me and started to seek another more natural way. A friend told me about lovingkindness and mindful meditation. I researched and began to practice mindful mediation after my yoga practice. It done wonders for my depression. It's made me more aware of everything and I have found a peace I have never known.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a really interesting topic. I suffer from depression and although I've never taken medication for it, since taking up yoga and including meditation and regular exercise, I am mostly keeping the depression at bay.

 

I think mindfulness and meditation are fantastic for depression. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain and whilst I doubt that there are specific poses, the lifestyle and the focus on your yoga practice helps immensely. To carve time out specifically for daily practice forms a habit and that in itself gives you purpose for the day, which in my experience is vital.

 

I'm wondering if you might find it useful to look into particular Mudra's if you are meditation inclined? :)

laceyd and YogaByCandace like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might have to look into that. I suffered from multiple mental health diagnoses as well as being in recovery from an eating disorder. I have just started a new treatment program that has me weaning off a nasty cocktail of multiple antidepressants and antipsychotics and am almost drugs free for the first time in 6 years. This has me looking for other ways of managing my health (with my treatment teams blessing). I have done yoga in the past as a form of exercise, eating disorders are about so much more than food, but now I find myself drawn to spiritual aspects and the dream of finding that elusive "inner peace".

It sounds like you're being really proactive in your approach to your health, so that is fantastic. Congrats on being nearly drug free. That must feel amazing.

 

Yeah the GAPS book is really interesting to me. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and it basically just talks about the connection between gut health and mental health. She talks about schizophrenia, depression, and more. She actually has a whole section where she talks about eating disorders and how the gut health is compromised differently in a person who is dealing with eating disorders than, say, a person who is a heavy drinker, or a person who has been on antibiotics for a long time, and how that then impacts overall mental health and wellbeing. From there it discusses how to heal the stomach and digestive system, and how through healing, the majority of the symptoms tend to fizzle away. It's pretty fascinating.

 

Half the time I write about GAPS I sort of cringe because while I have seen incredible, dramatic improvement in my health as a direct result of it, I never want to push anything on anyone, and what might work for me may be totally wrong for the next person, so I apologize for all the GAPS blabber and promise that's all I'll say about the book for now. ::zips mouth shut::  ;)

Kelly, laceyd and Jake like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kelly, I´m so sorry that you´ve had to go through all this and very glad that you are recovering. Depression is a mean thief, that just steals all happiness from you, paints the world grey and makes everything så heavy. It is also a complex disease, especially in regards to its multiple causes, as mind and body interact to form its appearance. But no matter what the causes are, there are things to do, that can help. 

Mindfulness is proven to have a good effect on relieving depression, probably because it enhances the ability to have negative thoughts without being affected too much by them and because it helps the body enter a more relaxed state. Sleeping enough, eating healthy, getting enough Vitamin D, physical exercise are also things, that can improve your wellbeing and relieve symptoms of depression. 

I think in general it has a lot to do with finding a healthy balance of taking better care of yourself. And yoga is definately a way to take good care of yourself. To devote a number of minutes to yourself is not just about taking physically care of yourself but also an act of self love, a way to remind yourself, that you deserve to be taken good care of. And you do. 

I hope you find your way to a healthy and happier and eventually drug free life. 

This was so beautiful, Turi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have really been struggling with anxiety and depression this last year, and in seeing a psychologist and talking more, I've realized I may very well have ADHD. I thought my academic life was suffering due to anxiety and depression, not realizing that could be the cause (the three often do go hand in hand for many people, as I've since learned).

I have taken the semester off to focus on self care and treatment, and I do find adding yoga back in has really helped me do something active when too anxious for the gym, along with spend some time on just me and relaxing. Using positive intentions and affirmations in practice can help set the mood for the next few hours for me, and I often feel fantastic after practice. However, I would never use it on its own to treat depression. For me, at least, it wouldn't address the root cause at all (ADHD). It can be a great part of your self-care regimen, though, as it has been for me.

YogaByCandace and Jake like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kelly, I´m so sorry that you´ve had to go through all this and very glad that you are recovering. Depression is a mean thief, that just steals all happiness from you, paints the world grey and makes everything så heavy. It is also a complex disease, especially in regards to its multiple causes, as mind and body interact to form its appearance. But no matter what the causes are, there are things to do, that can help. 

Mindfulness is proven to have a good effect on relieving depression, probably because it enhances the ability to have negative thoughts without being affected too much by them and because it helps the body enter a more relaxed state. Sleeping enough, eating healthy, getting enough Vitamin D, physical exercise are also things, that can improve your wellbeing and relieve symptoms of depression. 

I think in general it has a lot to do with finding a healthy balance of taking better care of yourself. And yoga is definately a way to take good care of yourself. To devote a number of minutes to yourself is not just about taking physically care of yourself but also an act of self love, a way to remind yourself, that you deserve to be taken good care of. And you do. 

I hope you find your way to a healthy and happier and eventually drug free life. 

Thank you for the kind words Turi. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like you're being really proactive in your approach to your health, so that is fantastic. Congrats on being nearly drug free. That must feel amazing.

 

Yeah the GAPS book is really interesting to me. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and it basically just talks about the connection between gut health and mental health. She talks about schizophrenia, depression, and more. She actually has a whole section where she talks about eating disorders and how the gut health is compromised differently in a person who is dealing with eating disorders than, say, a person who is a heavy drinker, or a person who has been on antibiotics for a long time, and how that then impacts overall mental health and wellbeing. From there it discusses how to heal the stomach and digestive system, and how through healing, the majority of the symptoms tend to fizzle away. It's pretty fascinating.

 

Half the time I write about GAPS I sort of cringe because while I have seen incredible, dramatic improvement in my health as a direct result of it, I never want to push anything on anyone, and what might work for me may be totally wrong for the next person, so I apologize for all the GAPS blabber and promise that's all I'll say about the book for now. ::zips mouth shut::  ;)

I appreciate the blabber  :)

YogaByCandace likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like you're being really proactive in your approach to your health, so that is fantastic. Congrats on being nearly drug free. That must feel amazing.

 

Yeah the GAPS book is really interesting to me. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and it basically just talks about the connection between gut health and mental health. She talks about schizophrenia, depression, and more. She actually has a whole section where she talks about eating disorders and how the gut health is compromised differently in a person who is dealing with eating disorders than, say, a person who is a heavy drinker, or a person who has been on antibiotics for a long time, and how that then impacts overall mental health and wellbeing. From there it discusses how to heal the stomach and digestive system, and how through healing, the majority of the symptoms tend to fizzle away. It's pretty fascinating.

 

Half the time I write about GAPS I sort of cringe because while I have seen incredible, dramatic improvement in my health as a direct result of it, I never want to push anything on anyone, and what might work for me may be totally wrong for the next person, so I apologize for all the GAPS blabber and promise that's all I'll say about the book for now. ::zips mouth shut::  ;)

I appreciate the blabber as well. I've never heard of GAPS. It sounds fascinating. I've recently made a big change in my diet and what I'm eating. It has made a huge difference in my depression.
YogaByCandace likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Kelly for starting this thread.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the beginning of the year and decided to dip my foot into the yoga world a few weeks ago. I had resisted the idea of yoga for quite some time but sometimes the very things you resist are exactly what you need.

I live in Chicago and last winter was absolutely brutal. The weather was horrible and I was in a bad relationship. I started seeing a therapist and she recommended I visit a psychiatrist due to my symptoms. Long story short, I'm off the anti-depressants the psychiatrist gave me (I hated how they made me feel) but I am on an anti-depressant for my fibromyalgia pain. I am sure it helps with my mood.

I notice after yoga class my mood is better and I have more energy. I'm lucky in that I have (and can make) time before work to practice yoga.

I work in the mental health field and I wish yoga and other mind-body practices were more integrated. I hope in time the mental health field will integrate more mind-body practices. I think in the American health care system there is way too much reliance on pharmaceutical drugs. They can help a lot of people but I've seen a lot of people become dependent on them and close themselves off to other ways of healing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Kelly for starting this thread.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the beginning of the year and decided to dip my foot into the yoga world a few weeks ago. I had resisted the idea of yoga for quite some time but sometimes the very things you resist are exactly what you need.

I live in Chicago and last winter was absolutely brutal. The weather was horrible and I was in a bad relationship. I started seeing a therapist and she recommended I visit a psychiatrist due to my symptoms. Long story short, I'm off the anti-depressants the psychiatrist gave me (I hated how they made me feel) but I am on an anti-depressant for my fibromyalgia pain. I am sure it helps with my mood.

I notice after yoga class my mood is better and I have more energy. I'm lucky in that I have (and can make) time before work to practice yoga.

I work in the mental health field and I wish yoga and other mind-body practices were more integrated. I hope in time the mental health field will integrate more mind-body practices. I think in the American health care system there is way too much reliance on pharmaceutical drugs. They can help a lot of people but I've seen a lot of people become dependent on them and close themselves off to other ways of healing. 

I also suffer from fibromyalgia and about a year a go I started on a anti-depressant for pain. I had some negative reactions to it and had to be taken off. I've been prescription free for about 6 months and now have to deal with the constant pain. I use yoga, meditation, and essential oils and it all seem to be helping but still now pain free. It's hard to describe to people who don't have fibromyalgia what it's like. I work full time and practice yoga regularly and people see that and think I don't have pain. It's hard to deal with sometimes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have fought depression for many years. Some of those years I was on prescription meds. I have tried several different kinds but then gave up because of the side effects. I then found out I have fibromyalgia and after dealing with constant pain was put on another anti-depressant for pain. It worked on my fibromyalgia pain and also my chronic lower back pain which I had surgery for 3 years ago. The med worked and I felt great but then started having some side effects that were serious enough that my Doctor took me off of it. Now the pain is back and sometimes it is just too much to handle. I try to deal with it be getting plenty of sleep ( sometimes hard to do because of my 12 hour night shift work), eating right, using essential oils, yoga, and meditation. The pain can bring on some depression and sometimes I have myself a good ole pity party but I don't want to try any more prescription meds so I make it work. Yoga has really save me not just from my physical ailments but also mentally and spiritually. Depression is something you can't ignore. If you can't find a way to deal with it yourself you should get help. It's not something to wait around hoping it will go away. If you need to talk to someone do it! Don't waste valuable time being unhappy. 

laceyd likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've battled anxiety and depression for some time now and I'd like to work more on holistic approaches to guide me. I've been looking into meditation and mindfulness, and have always enjoyed yoga not only for my physical wellbeing but also mental wellbeing. 

 

My psychologist always stresses to me that I should be doing things, anything, that I enjoy and make me feel whole. So for me this does include yoga. Personally, I find it so easy to fall into traps of becoming somewhat of a robot - I'm a mother, I work, I'm a wife, I have pets and a house to care for - I find I feel so much worse when I don't make myself do things that make me feel good: yoga, walking on the beach, reading, etc.

 

I'm not sure of any particular poses which could offer assistance, but I wish everybody luck. Depression is such a nasty illness  :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also suffer from fibromyalgia and about a year a go I started on a anti-depressant for pain. I had some negative reactions to it and had to be taken off. I've been prescription free for about 6 months and now have to deal with the constant pain. I use yoga, meditation, and essential oils and it all seem to be helping but still now pain free. It's hard to describe to people who don't have fibromyalgia what it's like. I work full time and practice yoga regularly and people see that and think I don't have pain. It's hard to deal with sometimes.

So sorry to "hear" that you had some negative reactions to your med.

I am on Elavil/Amitryptyline (sp?) and it's pretty helpful. I have contemplated upping my dose as winter approaches but I think yoga, hot baths, and tea will help.

Luckily Illinois is rolling out a medical marijuana program (alebit VERY slowly and with LOTS of bureucratic red-tape) and severe fibromyalgia is one of the few qualifying conditons.

Meditation has also been great too! I found a great pain-relief one and luckily it was for sale. I bought it the same day I hear it. It was by the QuietMindCafe on Youtube if anyone is interested.

"I work full time and practice yoga regularly and people see that and think I don't have pain." Mmm hmm. I depend on the transit system here in Chicago and some days I so desperately want to ask someone for a seat when the train is crowded but I suck it up since I look young and "healthy."

Congrats on winning the giveaway, BTW. B)

yogagrammy likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to "hear" that you had some negative reactions to your med.

I am on Elavil/Amitryptyline (sp?) and it's pretty helpful. I have contemplated upping my dose as winter approaches but I think yoga, hot baths, and tea will help.

Luckily Illinois is rolling out a medical marijuana program (alebit VERY slowly and with LOTS of bureucratic red-tape) and severe fibromyalgia is one of the few qualifying conditons.

Meditation has also been great too! I found a great pain-relief one and luckily it was for sale. I bought it the same day I hear it. It was by the QuietMindCafe on Youtube if anyone is interested.

"I work full time and practice yoga regularly and people see that and think I don't have pain." Mmm hmm. I depend on the transit system here in Chicago and some days I so desperately want to ask someone for a seat when the train is crowded but I suck it up since I look young and "healthy."

Congrats on winning the giveaway, BTW. B)

Thank you so much. It's hard to have an illness that a lot of people don't think is "real". I've heard people talk about fibromyalgia, not knowing I have it, and think that because a person goes on with their every day life and work full time that they don't have an illness at all. If the pain were visible, like bruising or rash where we had pain they wouldn't doubt. Ok, I'm done with my pity party! No medical marijuana here, and besides, we get drug tested at my hospital where I work!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now