Although spring is here, many areas of the country are still experiencing wintry weather. It might be April, but Winter Storm Wilbur has other plans for the upper Midwest and Northern Maine. That's right: more snow is coming this season, despite the official mark of spring. Winter sometimes brings about a sense of sadness, since it's so cold and dreary, and most of our time is spent indoors. For those with a more active and adventurous spirit, it can be a depressing time. After all, there is such a thing as seasonal depression. It's called seasonal affective disorder – or SAD for short – and it usually begins in late fall or early winter and goes away by summer. About four to six percent of people experience winter depression and another ten to twenty percent of the population might experience mild seasonal affective disorder symptoms.
Unfortunately, there are many sufferers out there who experience depression around the clock, no matter what time of the year. According to the World Health Organization, over 350 million people in this entire world suffer from depression, making this a leading cause of disability.
Thankfully, there are many ways to treat depression. Of course, therapy is a very beneficial thing for anyone suffering with depression, but there are other ways to assist it. One of the greatest ways you can take control of your depression is with yoga. Even Harvard agrees that yoga has tremendous stress-relieving benefits which can alleviate your deepest depression woes. If you're looking for some soul-soothing, indulging in yoga and shopping for yoga pants for your workout routine are two perfect pick-me-ups.
Here are four yoga poses we strongly recommend in order to try to help improve your mood, and ultimately, your depression.
The First Yoga Pose to Practice to Break Depression: The Child's Pose
This pose is perfect for relieving stress as well as fatigue. It's a common beginner's asana, which translates to "pose" in yoga-speak. It helps to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles. You'll more than likely see it referred to as bālāsana in the yoga classroom, books, or online. Another fun piece of information about the bālāsana is that it's perfect for in-between poses while in the studio.
In order to get started with the bālāsana, you'll want to roll out your yoga mat. Once your favorite yoga mat is rolled out and ready, you'll begin by sitting on your heels with both of your big toes touching each other. You'll want to let your hands rest on your thighs. Slowly lower your belly down toward your knees while your forehead rests on the floor. With your palms facing up, rest your arms by your shins. Breathe in and out for five to ten times. And just like that, your child's pose is complete.
The Second Yoga Pose to Practice to Break Depression: The Downward-Facing Dog Pose
You might see this asana also referred to as Adho Mukha Svanasana. Don't be alarmed; this is the same thing as the downward-facing dog pose. What this asana can do in terms of treating depression is assist in combating your anxiety while increasing your energy, which will leave you with more confidence to take on the day. According to Yoga Journal, the Downward-Facing Dog pose is essential for all yogis and yoginis out there. Regardless of whether or not you're experiencing depression, the Adho Mukha Svanasana is definitely a pose to become familiar with if yoga has piqued your interest. Yoga Journal cites the almighty Adho Mukha Svanasana as the perfect microcosm of yoga, which is capable of changing your entire life. Let that sink in for a moment! Additionally, you'll love how the Adho Mukha Svanasana will strengthen your legs while straightening out any shoulder stiffness you may have. In case you're experiencing heart palpitations related to anxiety, you can rely on this asana to lower your heart rate as well.
The Third Yoga Pose to Practice to Break Depression: The Standing Forward Fold Pose
This asana – also referred to as the Uttanasana – is an excellent pose for aiding in depression. Its name essentially explains how to perform the pose. To complete this asana, you'll want to stand up straight with your arms at the side of your body with your feet at arms' length. With both of your arms on your hips, bend your body forward so that your head and chest touch your thighs. Bring your hands down and put them beside your feet. You could also opt to hold your ankles from behind if you do not want to rest your hands down beside your feet.
You'll love the Uttanasana if you suffer from depression because it'll relieve a lot of the tension in your back, shoulders, and neck. While you're in your best complete yoga outfit, you'll truly feel the release of tension while you engage in this asana. Uttanasana translates to "powerful stretch pose," and you'll certainly feel inner and outer power after completing it.
The Fourth Yoga Pose to Practice to Break Depression: The Bound Angle Pose
If you sit in an office chair and need a way to counteract cardio-crunched hips, you'll enjoy the bound angle pose. It stimulates the heart and your overall circulation as well, all while stretching your inner thighs and knees. It's great for mild depression and anxiety. The Bound Angle Pose is also used to treat sciatica.
Depression is definitely a serious subject that shouldn't be laughed about. If you experience symptoms of depression, it's a good idea to consult a professional. However, these four yoga poses can definitely help in combating some of your woes while you wait to speak with someone.