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World Mental Health Day: 9 effective yoga poses to beat depression

World Mental Health Day 2021: When it comes to mental health, Yoga is being increasingly trusted by health expert across the globe. There are many studies that prove the effectiveness of yoga in alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety that are among the leading mental health issues all over the world today.

Cases of clinical depression are on rise which can happen due to genetic, social, environmental and psychological factors. Feeling sad or low, being irritable, lack of interest in usually pleasurable activities, feeling fatigued without an underlying cause, sleeping too much or too little, increased or decreased appetite, changes in weight, reduced sex drive, lack of self-esteem, low concentration, forgetfulness, lack of self-care, feeling hopeless, helpless and worthless, thought of suicide or self-harm are some of the symptoms of depression.

A study published in Journal of Psychiatric Practice says that yoga can be a helpful complementary treatment for clinical depression or major depressive disorder. The participants of the study showed significant improvement in sleep quality, tranquility and positivity within one month of beginning yoga practice. Their physical exhaustion, and symptoms of anxiety and depression decreased.

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“Yoga effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Yoga practices keep stress at bay, make you healthy, and also push you towards self-care. Yoga teaches you that negative feelings and experiences are all a part and parcel of what life has to offer us,” says Yoga expert Grand Master Akshar.

He also explains how Yoga can help you accept the current situation as you learnt to connect with your breath. “The physical practice of yoga in the form of asanas imparts the understanding for the quality of acceptance you need during a time of crisis. When you learn to connect with your breath through Yoga, you teach yourself how to simply observe and to accept your current situation, no matter how it makes you feel,” says the renowned Yoga guru.

He also suggested a set of asanas, pranayama, meditation and mudras to keep depression at bay.

1. Vajrasana in Apana Mudra

Vajrasana in Apana Mudra(Grand Master Akshar)

Gently drop your knees down. Rest your pelvis on your heels. Keep your heels close to each other. Hold Apana Mudra

Apana Mudra

In Apana mudra, we join the tip of the middle and ring finger with the tip of the thumb to balance the Apana Vayu present in the body.

2. Naukasana in Adi Mudra

Naukasana in Adi Mudra(Grand Master Akshar)
Naukasana in Adi Mudra(Grand Master Akshar)

Lie down on your back. Lift up your upper and lower body to balance on your sitting bones. Keep your knees and back straight. Keep your arms parallel to the ground and hold Adi mudra.

Adi Mudra

Press your thumb against your palm, and touch the base of your little finger joint on the palm with the tip of your thumb, in both hands. Then join your other fingers (closing the gap between them) and clench them inward to wrap around the thumb, forming a fist.

3. Savitriasana (Kneeling back bend)

Savitriasana(Grand Master Akshar)
Savitriasana(Grand Master Akshar)

Begin in Samasthithi. Slowly drop your knees on your mat. Keep your knees and heels parallel to each other. Straighten your back, lift both arms up and look forward. Do not hold this pose for too long

4. Vajrasana in Suchi Mudra

Vajrasana in Suchi Mudra(Grand Master Akshar)
Vajrasana in Suchi Mudra(Grand Master Akshar)

Gently drop your knees down. Rest your pelvis on your heels. Keep your heels close to each other. Hold Suchi Mudra.

Suchi mudra

Tighten both fists and place them in front of your chest. Pull the right arm to the right and point the index finger upwards. Also, together, spread the left arm to the left.

5. Sukhasana (Happy Pose)

Sukhasana(Grand Master Akshar)
Sukhasana(Grand Master Akshar)

Sit upright and fold the left leg and tuck it inside the right thigh. Then fold the right leg and tuck it inside the left thigh. Place your palms on the knees.

6. Dandasana (Staff pose)

Dandasana(Grand Master Akshar)
Dandasana(Grand Master Akshar)

Sit down on the ground, or on a bed as per your comfort. Ensure that your back is erect . Stretch your legs out and engage the muscles of your pelvis, thighs and calves. Place your palms beside your hips on the floor

7. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana(Grand Master Akshar)
Adho Mukha Svanasana(Grand Master Akshar)

Start on all fours with palms are under the shoulders and knees below hips. Lift the hips up, straighten the knees and elbows, and form an inverted ‘V’ shape. Keep your eye focused on your big toes.

8. Vrikshasana (Tree pose)

Vrikshasana(Grand Master Akshar)
Vrikshasana(Grand Master Akshar)

Begin in Samasthithi. Lift your right leg off the floor and balance your weight on your left leg. Join your palms in Pranam Mudra.

9. Santolanasana (Plank Pose)

Santolanasana(Grand Master Akshar)
Santolanasana(Grand Master Akshar)

Lie on your stomach. Place your palms under your shoulders and lift your upper body, pelvis and knees up. Your wrists must be below your shoulders and your arms straight.

Pranayama and Meditation for clarity

“Yoga helps you to lead a stress-free life as it is considered as a therapeutic activity that has benefits for both the mind as well as the body. Find a few minutes every day for some meditation or pranayama. Even techniques like Tratak on a flame and Chandra Namaskar can be done to help you ease depression. When you practise this form of introspection through yoga, it will help you clear your mind for solutions,” says Grand Master Akshar.

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