The following yoga postures and breathing are recommended for anxiety and depression.
In terms of yoga philosophy, anxiety is created when there is too much prana,or energy. Depression is
caused from the opposite: not enough prana. While this oversimplifies the situation dramatically, it is at least a holistic approach to the matter and a place to start.
You can download these postures and breathwork from www.yogajournal.com to create a resource for a daily practice.
Please search online for more information, if you wish, on the topics that are underlined. There are two exceptional books on the topic: Yoga for Depression by Amy Weintraub and Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression by Bo Forbes. Another fabulous resource is www.DrMcall.com .
It is important to START WHERE YOU ARE. In an episode of extreme anxiety, for example, it would likely not help to jump right into calming breath or postures, but instead start at the source. Meet the anxiety right where you are! Walk. Begin to regulate your breath as you walk. Do a vigorous practice (such as sun salutations) that will allow you to slowly progress to the floor. This will help you to bring the anxiety slowly under control- into a feeling of steadiness; ultimately to a place of calm.
Yoga Nidra and Progressive Muscle Relaxation have also been found to have compelling results for people experiencing anxiety, depression, and even people with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Yoga asanas (postures) for anxiety- When experiencing anxiety, here are a few forward bends you may find helpful:
~Spread out foot posture (prasarita padottanasana
~Seated forward bend (paschimottanasana)
~Child’s Pose (balasana)
Pranayamas (breath work) for anxiety- Victorious breath (ujjayi),
Alternate nostril breath; nerve channel cleansing (Nadi Shodana), and any pranayama with a ratio that allows
you to slowly lengthen the exhalation over the inhalation.
Yoga Asanas Recommended For Depression-
Poses that open the heart and arch the back create more flow of energy through the body. The following back bends are
recommended for depression:
~Cobra (bhujangasana) find the right modifications for any back or shoulder injury
~Modified bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
~Fish (matsyasana) modified by reclining over a bolster is particularly nice, especially if you are new to yoga
Pranayamas for Depression- breathing ratios that allow the inhalation to be lengthened could be of great value.
Creating a ratio where inhalation is longer than exhalation is an ideal “funk buster”.