Yoga poses for depression #3

Yoga poses for depression #1 and #2 were both active, invigorating options. Pose #3 is a more calming, restorative way to find peace at the end of your day.

If you suffer from depression and find that when it’s time to head to bed your mind is filled with racing thoughts that keep your body in alert mode, this is a gentle pose that can help you.

 A few minutes in legs up the wall pose – Viparita karani – can help calm the fluctuations of your manic mind and get your body prepared for a what it’s designed to do overnight – rest and digest!

Along with calming the mind, legs up the wall pose has many purported benefits including stemming the tide of ageing! So if you’re open to experimenting give it a try – you never know what you might find!

Set up:

  • Find a clear wall space

  • Using blankets or cushions to support your hips is optional

  • Remove any hairstyles that will stop you from laying flat or cause you to turn your head to one side. Be nice to your neck!

  • Sit with one hip to the wall, then roll down onto your back, using your hnads and elbows for support until your legs to slide up the wall. This sounds easy but is rarely graceful! Don’t be deterred if you need a few tries to get it!

  • Look towards the roof or close your eyes.

  • Your hips and lower back should be supported by the floor or cushions, your legs can be at any angle that feels good for your hamstrings and lower back.

  • Once you’re settled and comfortable, rest with your arms beside you and take 5 long slow, deep, breaths focussing on breathing deep into your low belly.

  • Working from head to toe, try squeezing and relaxing each part of your body in turn for 2-3 seconds (e.g. face, jaw, right arm, left arm etc.). This exercise helps release physical tension and also gives your mind something to focus on so it helps stop the tide of unconscious thought. Remember to breathe! Spend as long as you like in this pose.

To exit:

  • When you’re ready to come out, bend your knees and roll to one side slowly.

  • Then roll into bed for a relaxing, restful and peaceful nights sleep!

 Options:

  • Leg variations like a ‘V’ shape with your legs wide or ‘butterfly’ shape with the soles of your feet together, knees out are optional.

  • A great option if you’re awake in the middle of the night and don’t want to get out of bed is to just spin around and pop your legs up the wall or the bed-head for a few breaths and see if it helps you calm your body and mind down enough to fall back to sleep.

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