CrossFlowRx: Yoga for Depressive Symptoms with Dr. Rachel Goldman. 48 minutes. With the input of Dr. Rachel Goldman, Ph.D., FTOS, Licensed Psychologist, we put together a flow of poses aimed at reducing depressive symptoms. Yoga blocks are recommended.
Not only does practicing yoga give you a chance to quiet your mind and focus on yourself, it’s also been shown in studies to raise levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) and serotonin; low levels of which have been linked to depression
Yoga is a great way to bring oxygen to your brain cells, visualize “wringing yourself out” of any negativity or toxins, and open your ribcage to deeper breaths. It helps you tap into your inner child, literally flip your perspective, and feel a whole lot better.
We all know that cardio creates those feel good endorphins. But, did you know that specific categories of Yoga poses shown in studies to help with depression include:
Twists: the ultimate detoxifier—of the body and the mind. With each exhale, you have the opportunity to visualize wringing yourself out like a sponge, getting rid of what you don’t want or need in your body or mind, and each inhale serves to create new space, and invite what you do want into your mind and body.
Chest and heart openers: physically increase your lung capacity, allowing for deeper breathing.
Balancing poses: the concentration required puts you firmly into the here and now, making it difficult for your mind to wander to unpleasant places.
Inversions: increase the circulation of blood and oxygen to the brain, which calms the mind and makes you happy.
While not a “pose” category, yogic breathing exercises, along with visualization, are also incredibly powerful tools. In particular, a yogic breathing exercise, often referred to as “elevator” or “three part” breathing, which includes visualization, has been shown to be particularly helpful at reducing depressive symptoms.
While Dr. Rachel and I very much hope this flow improves your mood, just as each of us are unique individuals with different needs, how one navigates stress and depression may look very different on people. These moves and methods may work for some, and not work for you. It’s important to build your own toolbox of coping skills that you can use when you need them. You may find that certain coping skills, such as yoga, work best for you at certain times, but other coping skills may work for other emotions. It is therefore recommended to have a variety of coping skills in your toolbox that you can pull from and use when you need them. Remember this is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice and to always consult with a healthcare professional for your specific health needs.
NB: While I refer to these moves as "being good for depression" in the video, this video is in no way a medical treatment for CLINICAL depression. These moves and techniques have been proven in studies - all linked in the blog post that I wrote with Dr. Rachel here: http://heidiyoga.com/blogs/yoga-for-depressive-symptoms-with-dr-rachel-goldman - to help in different ways, but you should ALWAYS seek medical attention when experiencing depression. No two people are the same and different things work for different people. Dr. Rachel and I CERTAINLY hope this flow helps you feel better, but PLEASE do not be discouraged if you don't feel "cured" in 48 minutes! Yoga is not a silver bullet, it should be ONE of the MANY tools in your arsenal to FEEL BETTER!
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