"Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow."
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. Depressed mood, low self-esteem and loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities if persists for a longer duration, is referred to as Major Depressive Disorder in clinical terms.
There are some key steps you can take to lift your mood and help your recovery from depression.
- Take your medication: It is important to take your medication as prescribed, even if you start feeling better. If you stop medication too soon, you could have a relapse of your depression.
- Exercise daily: It has long been known that regular exercise is good for our physical health. It can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and strokes. Studies have shown that physical activity also has benefits for our mental health. Exercise can help people with depression and prevent them becoming depressed in first place. Take up some form of exercise. If you have not exercised for a while, start gently by walking for 20 mins every day.
- Healthy Diet: Diet plays a huge role in depression. If we eat better foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, we can have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus. Drink lots of water. Eat healthy.
- Be more socially active: Don’t withdraw from life. Socialising can improve your mood. Keep in touch with friends and family and share your feelings by talking to them when feeling low.
- Face your fear: Don’t avoid the things you find difficult. Running away from the situation is not going to help, rather face them with courage and self-believe and you will see things will get better gradually.
- Have a routine: When people feel down, they can get in to poor sleep patterns, staying up late and sleeping during the day. Try to get up at your normal time and stick to your routine as much as possible. Not having a routine can affect your eating, which will have adverse effect on your health.
Yoga is a physical exercise that involves different body poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. The therapy may help with depression and your symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating or loss of energy. The yogic practices focus on to activate the person, develop positive thoughts and to infuse energy into the person.
Yogic Practices for depression:
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Jalneti: Jalneti is a nasal cleansing technique used to clean out the nasal cavity. Yogis have practiced it for centuries for its innumerable and powerful benefits. It is an important part of the Shathkarmas, that is, the practices to purify the human body. Jalneti health benefits are manifold. It also reduces depression and anxiety and helps in increasing the concentration power. It considerably lessens migraines and headaches.
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Sutraneti: Sutraneti is the more advanced form of neti, which needs to be performed only under the supervision of a qualified and trained yoga guru. Neti has a cooling, soothing effect on the brain and can help with headaches, migraine, temper tantrums, hysteria, depression and general mental tension.
Kapalbhati: Kapalbhati is a type of breathing exercise that helps in dealing with various types of ailments over a period of time. "Kapal" means forehead and "bhati" means shining. Eventually, Kapabhati should bring about a glow on the face of the practitioner. Blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood circulation are found to be within the normal physiological limit during long time practice of Kapalbhati. The practitioners feel light, calm and peaceful state in their mind.
2--Suryanamaskar: Surya Namaskar is a set of 12 postures, preferably to be done at the time of sunrise. The regular practice of Surya Namaskar improves circulation of blood throughout the body, maintains health, and helps one remain disease-free. Surya Namaskar calms the mind and helps improves concentration. It boosts endurance power and reduces the feeling of anxiety and restlessness.
3--Yogasanas: Pavananuktasana, Savangasana, Matsyasana, Gomukhasana, Bakrasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Makarasana, Ushtrasana, Shashankasana, Tadasana, Urdhwahstottanasana and Shabasana are some of the yogasanas which will help in the treatment of depression. Yogasanas has been proven to help decrease stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and many other mental health issues. These yoga asanas works by decreasing activity in the sympathetic nervous system.
4--Pranayama: Pranayama, or expansion of the prana or vital energy, occurs through the control of the prana. Nadishodhana pranayama, Ujjayi, Bhramari and Bhastrika are some of the pranayama techniques which are very useful in the treatment of stress, anxiety and depression. Through pranayama one learns to consciously alter his breathing and thus his emotional state. One can attain a calm and alert state with regular practice.
5--Meditation: Breath awareness and OM chanting meditation are believed to help in developing a calm state of mind. Meditation brings the brainwave patterns into a relaxed alpha state that relaxes the body as well as the mind. Meditation relaxes the entire brain, including the amygdala, which is the emotional centre of the brain, that brings emotional stability.
6--Yoga Nidra: Nidra means a relaxed state of mind but when we add awareness to it, it becomes yoga nidra. Yoga nidra will be quite useful as this practice is believed to act on the subconscious level to bring about a state of homeostasis in the body and mind. Yoga nidra promotes deep rest and relaxation, which helps in dealing with anxiety and depression.