Yoga for Anxiety and Depression | Pranayama•Mudra•Meditation•Poses

1 in 5 adults is experiencing mental health problems – such as anxiety, panic attack, insomnia, depression, you name it. I was one of them as well.

 

I was mentally dead from the soulless job, burnt out from chasing goals after goals, trying to meet the social expectations, and wanting more and more of the external validation and materialistic things.

 

When I was recovering from the great depression, I started a meditation practice, went to Bali for yoga retreats, tried Ayurveda cleansing, and experienced sound healing – and fell in love. Long story short, I booked a flight to Nepal and went for sound healing training by the third generation master from Tibet.

 

Through meditation, yoga, and sound healing, I slowly found myself again and got in touch with the spirituality within. Now as a Sound Healer, I am sharing my story, experience, and sound with others, to help them find the light within – just like I did.

 

One of the reasons I wanted to join the Yoga Teacher Training was, to deepen the self-mastery by learning the philosophy of yoga.

 

I can feel… I am exactly where I am meant to be – at Tirisula Yoga, I have met amazing Yoga masters, and I am having a little taste of 3,000-year-old yoga history and deepening my physical-mental-spiritual practice every day.

I am overloaded with joy to be on this journey. I thank Universe for this divine timing and opportunity and for bringing the blessings of finding the gurus I need at this exact moment in my life and the meaningful learnings.

 

Today, I am going to share with you my learnings from the Yoga Teacher Training – focusing on the yoga techniques that help anxiety and depression. Because if you are reading this, you probably need to hear this.

 

Yoga does not mean practicing poses only. Breathing, meditation, and there are so many other aspects of yoga.

 

Often, when we are anxious and depressed, we are trapped in the mind and the body. In fact, traumas and negative emotions can be stored in your body.

That being said, mental illness is not just what you think, but it is real. It shows physical symptoms such as nausea, panic attack, pains, fatigue, and you name it.

 

Please hold in mind that mind and body are the one – there’s a strong connection in between and turning into your intelligence and physiology will help improve your mental wellness.

 

In this article, I will introduce

  • Pranayama
  • Meditation
  • Mudra
  • Asana

to help you improve mental health.

 

Pranayama – breathing regulation

Pranayama is a yogic breathing technique.

In Sanskrit, “Prana “(prāṇa (प्राण)) means life energy or life force. Prana is also known as Chi (氣, 气) in Chinese or Ki (気) in Japanese. And “Ayama” means regulated expansion and control.

Together, “Pranayama” means yogic energy regulation practice.

 

Regular pranayama practice is known to be good for both anxiety and depression. We, humans, breathe 24/7. By controlling our breathing, we can achieve the desired calm state.

 

When we are stressed, we breathe fast. When we breathe fast, more oxygen than the usual amount diffuses through and enters the blood system and decreases the carbon dioxide, which will destroy the balance of pH level – acid-alkaline balance – of the blood.  This is a condition called respiratory alkalosis, and it causes muscle twitching, nausea, irritability, lightheadedness, confusion, and anxiety.

 

By slowing and regulating our breath, biologically, balance the ph level of the blood to less alkaline.

 

There are many kinds of pranayama, and for anxiety and depression, try Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing). This helps in balancing the subtle life energy of the body, calms the mind, and emotional imbalance.

Watch the video below to learn how to;

 

Meditation

Meditation in yoga is called “Dhyana” which means ‘No thought’.

To achieve the dhyana state, we can first begin practicing “Dharna” – 1 thought.

Dharna is a mind fit for concentration.

Dharna practice involves focusing your attention on one thing – be it an external object or an internal idea – your breath, a mantra, or a part of your body.

Training on focusing on 1 thing at a time, not only helps you calm your mind, but this can also empower you to consciously be in the desired state and reclaim the power of your mind back.

 

Once we achieve the Dharna state by bringing the mind to a certain object, there’s a moment you become to lose the boundary between the object the mind is meditating on and the one who is meditation. You become One and this oneness is called Dhyana.

 

Meditation is a mental practice of going inward. Meditation won’t cure the mental health condition overnight, however, it can be a big help when you look at a longer period of time.

 

Mudra

Mudra means ‘gesture’. In yoga, mudra expresses and channelizes cosmic energy within the mind and body.

The body is made up of 5 elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space.

When these 5 elements are not in balance, it causes physical and mental misalignments.

Here is a couple of Hasta Mudras (hand gestures) you can try on your own.

 

Surya Mudra for anxiety

  • Bend the ring finger, touch the root of the thumb with it and press the finger with the thumb
  • Practice it daily twice for 5 to 15 minutes

 

Gyan Mudra for anxiety and depression

  • Touch the tip of the thumb to the tip of the index finger, with the other three fingers stretched out
  • There is no time duration for this mudra
  • You can practice by sitting, standing, or lying on the bed whenever wherever

 

Pran Mudra for depression

  • Bend ring finger and little finger and touch the tip of the thumb with tips keeping the remaining fingers stretched
  • There is no time duration for this mudra
  • You can practice it at any time

 

Asana

Asana is the yoga postures. The physical practice of yoga falls under here.

Yoga poses are not only meant for fitness but rather used for achieving holistic balance and enhancing your mind-body-spiritual practice.

Here are a few basic asanas that help reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

 

Seated forward bend – Paschimottanasana

Bond Angle Pose – Baddha Konasana

Bridge pose – Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Corpse Pose – Savasana

 

 

 

 

“I am not the body, I am not even the mind”

So… who are we?

Because the mind is so genius, and often because of the defense mechanism it has, it will trick you to think in a certain way of yourselves, as well as you feel physical discomfort in your body.

 

We are just born in this body this life, and it does not define who we are. We are pure energy. In our lifetime, we are borrowing this shell to do what we are called to do but there is a life force within us which cannot be defined just as mind and body.

 

Mental illness does not define you. Remember, there’s a light within you always and I hope you return back to who you truly are as energy.