Yoga for Depression

Gentle yoga and my unhealthy lifestyle was getting me down I was starting to experience frequent depression and Zoomers are equally at risk for depression as everyone. And the older we get the harder it can be to come out of the isolation of this condition based on my experience and that of my students I’ve chosen a yoga series that can bring peace and joy to the many sumers who are dealing with depression. And the practice is so easy anyone can do it you don’t have to be in great shape to start. So we’re gonna get out of ourselves and get grounded during an invigorating warm-up then we’ll bring our brain chemistry into balance with some seated poses next will pump lots of fresh breath into our hearts and lungs before calming the mind in a very relaxing cooldown the poses are so easy that you might not think that they’re doing anything. But do the whole series or, if you’re busy just one or two poses and you’ll notice your mood improving let’s start the healing joining me today anita and jennifer and all of us are going to experience a wonderful relief from some of our symptoms of depression we’re gonna come into the warm-up Pose Tad Asana the Mountain Pose so coming into the center of the mat heels out toe then coming back onto the heels and feeling the upper legs really strengthening we’re allowing the ingress to come up the front line of the body lifting everything in its path. And then exhaling down the back line grounding the sit bones down the heels down next time an in-breath comes along we’ll take the arms out and up reaching lifting the ribs off of the pelvis exhaling hands to heart inhaling and lifting or harvesting oxygen up here prana exhaling deep into the heart space another in-breath lifting and reaching up spreading the fingers nice and wide exhaling hands to heart we’re moving our energy up towards the arms up towards the heart let’s come in another long slow smooth in-breath. And then at the top of the in-breath we’ll just pause for a moment. And then we’ll exhale moving over to the left creating space between the bottom of the ribs. And the top of the hips on the right side coming back to Center on the inhalation.

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And then exhaling on to the opposite side pressing down with the left foot opening up through the left side coming back on the in-breath going over to the right side or the left side opening up the sides opening up the diaphragm we’ve got to get some breath deep into the bottom of the lungs let’s keep going a few more rounds just taking it to a place where you can experience a nice feeling of a stretch coming back to Center hands come to heart space do a few more Sun breaths inhaling and reaching up feel how much more light it feels to reach exhaling hands to heart space press the palms together move the shoulders away from each other inhaling moving the arms out and up in these Sun breaths it’s a wonderful way to take us out of the thinking mind and bring us into this idea of moving outwards expanding when we’re in a depressed state we want to come into a cocoon and using our arms to open up the heart chakra we’re starting to get more we’re starting to open up the heart center we’re starting to feel a little bit more alive and a little bit more connected to the outside world police continue these son breaths and side bends to increase the parada and oxygen you’re bringing into your body. And we’ll be back in a few moments to deal with more symptoms with depression and see you in a moment Healing Yoga Yoga for real people with real problems hi my name is Jennifer about 15 years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression I was seeing a therapist and I was trying to make other changes to my life as well I took medication I looked at changes to my diet and my therapist suggested that I start to practice yoga. So I began to take classes it was difficult at first. Because when definitions depression of depression is when you turn anger inwards. So It’s about really not taking care of yourself and not being kind to yourself welcome back we are enjoying a gentle practice to help us with symptoms of depression now Jennifer tell me a little bit about yourself care strategies in dealing with some of the symptoms when I was in the harder or the depths of my depression it’s really hard to take care of yourself at all it’s I just felt hopeless and not wanting to be part of the world. But and so yoga even getting to class was tough then as well. But through yoga I’ve learned to really make time for myself to take care of myself it’s an integral part of healing that’s so wonderful this idea of expanding and coming back out into the world that’s a wonderful theme I’d like to work with with the next sequence of moves we’re gonna be coming down into cow and cat. So we’re on all fours and Jennifer is going to protect her knees with a blanket or a rolled-up towel would be wonderful for you as well. So the palms are wide on the mat fingertips touching the outside edge. And the knees. And the feet. And the hips are in the same plane we’re gonna take an exhalation and tuck the sit bones and tailbone underneath dropping the head looking through to the feet inhaling tailbone to sit bones come up. And we drop the spine opening the heart and moving the gaze up Ecch failing coming back into this arched Halloween cat. And then into our sacred cow moving into the in-breath now the next time an out breath comes along we’re just going to wait for a moment pressing the belly up to the front spine. And then the next time an out breath comes along we’ll take the left leg back take a few moments here, if you need to get a little bit more stable in the pose here, if you feel ambitious maybe you could take your right arm out and create this wonderful balance we’re taking a long slow smooth in-breath and a long slow smooth out breath the back leg is getting a bit of an inner rotation creating some space in the SI joint. And the front arm this right arm is rotating externally this is expanding us from the heart center through the belly out through the fingertips. And the toes let’s come back to cows and cats we’ll take one cow one cat. And then we’ll extend the opposite leg reaching the opposite leg out pressing through the heel giving the leg a bit of an inner spiral this is a wonderful way to get some length deep underneath the belly muscles the belly organs the so as that muscle that activates when we’re engaging the fight/flight aspect of the nervous system reach the arm out the left arm comes out draw the shoulder blade down the back rotate the upper arm externally spread the fingers nice and wide left the out press be complete feel the belly come to the front spine squeeze the gluts and reach now we’ll come back to Center sit bones come down belly comes up to the front spine broaden through the collar bones and press down through the base of the index finger inhale cat cow lifting the sit bones dropping the heart lifting the gaze now exhaling bringing the left leg in and squeezing it up into the belly. And then inhaling and lengthening the left leg out right arm comes out here we are balancing again we’re creating a wonderful movement deep in the belly organs our serotonin is perdu in large quantities in the belly. So we’re really opening things up and squeezing out the old here come back to Center. And we’ll take the opposite side. So the right foot right knee is coming in squeezing into the belly. And then extending through the heel engaging the glutes reaching out inner spiral left arm comes out use the breath breathe deeply into the lower belly breathe deeply in towards the front of the spine. And then coming back a couple of cows cats now we’re going to come in to prayer pose. And we’ll be threading our arm through the opposite side we spread the fingers nice and wide bring the forehead to the ground. And just surrender take the shoulder blades down the back broaden through the shoulder shelf and allow the inner crease of the elbow to rise up externally rotating the upper arm let the sit bones in the tailbone come back extend the spine left the out-breath be complete feel the belly come up toward the front spine moving energy out of the low belly here now inhale. And come forward and let’s take the right arm. And we’ll thread it through the left side resting the shoulder on the ground. And the temple as well now your left arm could be nice and long or it can be bent and we’re gonna take five long slow smooth and complete in-and-out breaths we’re allowing the area behind the heart to open up we’re allowing this area behind the heart in between the shoulder blades to melt open we’re also melting the front of the heart open as well as you take long slow smooth and complete in-and-out breasts you’ll notice that your spine is starting to let go that it’s becoming a little bit easier to move your arm through this needle now coming back to Center slowly a couple of cows and cats. And then please continue on the opposite side and continue to take a couple of variations do what feels best, if you’re in the pain zone come back and find that place between comfort and discomfort and work the breath in that boundary we’ll see you in a few moments that will be working with more symptoms of depression Healing Yoga Yoga for real people with real problems one of the symptoms I had a clinical depression was anxiety attacks they could hit at any time I was never really prepared for them. But through yoga I learned how to focus on my breathing to calm myself down to really be present and and through that I was able to get myself through those bouts of anxiety the other thing that yoga brought was just an awareness of my body of really being present and of being allowed in the world and being and being grounded and part of the whole community and that was very important to me when I had been feeling. So Isolated for so many years welcome back we’ve been working with symptoms of depression and for this next sequence we’re gonna be continuing on this theme of lifting we’re gonna be opening up the heart we’re gonna be opening up the ribs when we’re experiencing symptoms of depression sometimes our breath is very shallow and we’re only breathing up here in the upper part of the lungs. So this next sequence is going to introduce more breath down into the lower parts of the lungs at the back where we have a much higher concentration of those air sacs that move oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the body we’re gonna be activating some serotonin deep in the belly organs and we’re gonna feel absolutely wonderful after this next sequence. So we’ll be taking a bolster or a rolled up blanket on to the side of the hip for a side bend the bottom knee is bent the top leg is long. And we inhale lengthen the front of the spine exhale drape ourselves over the bolster resting the head on the lower arm we’re getting a little bit more deep into the belly organs into the psoas we’re stretching that muscle out. Because that’s the one that activates when we’re feeling stressed let’s engage dorsiflexion the foot is strong heel strong inhale the arm up and over grab on to it with the lower hand and pull open up the ribs take a long slow smooth and complete in-breath making more space between the bottom of the ribs. And the top of the hips. And then we’re gonna exhale the arm down. And then come up using our upper body strength we’ll switch sides bringing the bolster right up to the hip lengthening the spine on the in-breath and draping yourself over breathing in light and spaciousness exhaling tension exhaling holding now we’ll come up again using our upper body strength. And we’ll be coming into a backbend we’re using the bolsters to support us in this modified version of bridge so for Jennifer we’re taking two bolsters you can use a rolled up blanket rolled up towels. And then Jennifer you can put your hindquarters right here. And we’ll be draping ourselves over the short edge of the bolster here then using the arms to support us as we come down letting the shoulder blades rest down onto the ground. So you can lengthen the back of the neck we’re letting the shoulder shelf rest on the ground wonderful lengthening the back of the neck letting the chin drop and opening the heart now starting with bent knees is a wonderful idea, if you’ve got low back challenges Anita has a wonderful example of a supported bridge the knees are bent the feet are a little bit wider than hip-width apart heels are out toes are in and there’s an inner spiral of the upper leg bones using Jennifer as an example here this is going to help the low back the SI joints we’re allowing the muscles of the hip rotators to widen and that is just allowing the back of the hips to rest nicely so we’ve got this wonderful open heart happening here. And then we can also create a support. So that we can spend more time in this pose, if you can spend five or ten minutes in this pose it will do wonders for your outlook opening the heart is an important part of practice when we’re working with depression symptoms so Jennifer why don’t you raise this foot and I’ll slide this loop through here. And then we’ll raise the other foot and I’ll slide it through here. And then you can lengthen one leg at a time yeah fantastic. And then we’re gonna create that inner spiral of the upper leg bones again so there’s one there’s the other things are widening out through here. And now Jennifer are you feeling good here excellent, if there’s any pension asan the low back come to bent knees that’s a very good way to take the pose as well by using a belt and creating a little bit of security above the knees now the legs can let go of themselves now the belly starts to let go there’s no holding going on here there’s this wonderful lifting up through the back of the heart opening the clamshell of the ribs revealing the pearl there, if the back of your head. And your shoulders are not making contact with the floor take an extra blanket or take another towel and give yourself a little bit of padding back there please continue to enjoy this pose for the next few minutes. And we’ll be back with some more wonderful yoga poses for depression Healing Yoga Yoga for real people with real problems spending time in nature is an excellent way to change our brain chemistry and increase prana and vitality don’t wait to drive up to the cottage find a walking or hiking trail nearby go to a beautiful public park or garden and breathe deeply while you take in the beautiful sights welcome back we’ve been dealing with symptoms of depression in this practice we have opened up the heart we have calmed mind we have stimulated and activated the relaxation response and for this final pose we’re just going to rest and allow all of this piranha out of this life force and vitality to penetrate every cell the pose were going to be going into is Mountain Brook Pose so Anita I’d like to set you up with two bolsters one for your knees and one for the back you could be using rolled-up blankets or rolled-up towels for this as well I’m gonna take a blanket and place it in between the two bolsters. And then you can just rest your hindquarters there and drape yourself over both of these bolsters we have another blanket here to provide some support to Anita for the shoulder shelf. And the back of the neck using your arms to come back using the strength of your arms to help you down. And then lifting your arms up and over there are a couple of different ways you could be placing your arms you could actually be letting your arms be in cactus position with the bent elbows you could also be taking your arms all the way up and over to increase the length that we’re creating on the front of the spine maybe you’d like to draw your hands a little bit closer to your head with the elbows bent. And then we’re just gonna lengthen the legs one at a time give the legs a bit of an inner spiral creating some space in the low back creating some space for the SI joints. And then we just surrender the legs we surrender the legs. And we surrender ourselves completely to these supports now these bolsters are acting as boulders in a mountain stream. So the water is flowing over the obstacles. And this is a wonderful pose to be thinking about when we’re dealing with symptoms of depression we have thoughts that come up and yoga helps us remember that we are not our thoughts we are the people thinking these thoughts. And when we can slow down the mind we can sort of step back. And come into this aspect of the higher mind this aspect of the higher mind does not criticize or compare or judge or speak harshly this is the aspect of the mind that is observing and reading in a detached and kind way this is the aspect of the mind that we want to identify with the lower aspect of the mind the munnis according to ancient yogic scholars is the aspect of the mind where thoughts just churn up and these are not thoughts that are necessarily true some of them may be. But we keep coming back to that idea of observing the thoughts without getting attached and without following the plotline and continuing on that train of thought please continue with your tranquillity post for at least another 20 minutes resting peacefully. And we’ll see you again next time unhealing Yoga namaste you.

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