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Can Yoga help in managing depression?

Healclinic Team
Categories : 
know-your-concerns
Last Update : 
Aug 25

What is depression?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistently low mood and a feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression is a persistent problem, not a passing one – the average length of a depressive episode is 6 to 8 months.

It is different from the fluctuations in mood that people experience as a part of normal life. Temporary emotional responses to the challenges of everyday life do not constitute depression. Likewise, even the feeling of grief resulting from the death of someone close is not itself depression if it does not persist.

Causes of depression

The causes of depression are not fully understood and is likely to be due to a complex combination of factors that include:

  • genetics
  • biological – changes in neurotransmitter levels
  • environmental
  • psychological and social (psychosocial)

Some people are at higher risk of depression than others; wherein the risk factors include:

  • Life events – including bereavement, divorce, work issues, relationships with friends and family, financial problems, medical concerns, or acute stress.
  • Personality – those with less successful coping strategies, or previous life trauma.
  • Genetic factors – first-degree relatives of depressed patients are at higher risk.
  • Childhood trauma.
  • Some prescription drugs – including corticosteroids, some beta-blockers, and other prescription drugs.
  • A past head injury.
  • People who have had an episode of major depression are at higher risk of a subsequent one.
  • Chronic pain syndromes in particular, but also other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Symptoms of depression

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Mood Swings
  • Reduced interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, loss of sexual desire
  • Unintentional weight loss (without dieting) or low appetite
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
  • Psychomotor agitation (for example, restlessness, pacing up and down), or psychomotor retardation (slowed movements and speech)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Worsened ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or attempt at suicide

Read: How depression can hit any of us?

 How can Yoga help in Depression?

As per our yoga practitioner

Yoga is a physical exercise that involves different body poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. The therapy helps with depression and symptoms, such as improving energy levels, pain tolerance and self esteem and reduces stress, anxiety and depression.

Yoga is a tool to control the mind, since trying to control the mind directly is impossible, we need gross physical and breathing techniques.

The technique is to start with loosening exercises which are body movements repeated with jerks and speed. This helps initially to distract the mind from the loop of repeated thoughts. Once it is distracted by fast body movements you go on to slower body movements like suryanamaskara and asanas. Similarly, one can start with fast breathing practices like Kapalabatti and then move on to slower breathing practices like Pranayama.

After alternating between a set of fast and slow body and breathing practices for about 20-30 minutes, mind is pulled out of its loop of worrying thoughts. Now it can be set into further slowing down by Nadanusandhana, and then to actual meditation, which is nothing but very slow effortless flow of single thought in the mind sinking down into total inner silence for a few seconds.

Read: Yoga Nidra and relaxation

This in due course helps in getting better mastery over mind and to taper off the medication to a very small maintenance dose.

Healclinic has yoga therapists based in different locations and also offer live customised sessions online. So if you are looking for customised sessions in India or anywhere around the globe, we can help you. Dont let the demons of depression take over your life. Contact us

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