Yoga poses for depression #1

Yoga can be a useful tool in managing and treating various psychological conditions, including depression.

Yoga, through its combination of physical movement, breathing techniques and awareness training has beneficial impacts on both our physiological and mental state, including mood.

A steady yoga practice encourages movement of the physical and mental towards balance and harmony. This helps us learn to treat ourselves with compassion and to let go of the need to control things that are outside our power and regain control of what is within us instead.

There are many yoga poses that can help with invigorating or relaxing you. In May with Live Well’s focus on depression, we’ll explore one pose a week that you can try and see how they make you feel. You don’t need a special mat, a yoga studio or an hour out of your day to begin, just take five minutes out of your day and find small clear space at home, outside in the Autumn sun or in a spare meeting room at work!

This week’s pose is Triangle pose or ‘Trikonasana’, a grounding and energising pose that helps stimulate your physical body including your legs, hips, core and heart. Mentally, it can be great for blowing away the afternoon energy slump blues and getting back to the present moment if you’ve wandered away into negative thought patterns.

Set up:

  • From a standing position with your feet together

  • Step your feet wide, a comfortable distance apart

  • Pivot your right toes out 90 degrees so that the heel of your right foot lines up with the arch of your left foot

  • Raise your arms parallel to the floor at shoulder height

  • Bracing your core and inner thighs,

  • Extend your torso and right arm over the line of your right leg, as far as you can comfortably reach.

  • Pivot your extended arms, right arm toward your shin or the floor and the left arm towards the ceiling.

  • Gaze straight ahead or look to the top hand if it is comfortable for your neck

  • Hold this position for 5-10 calm, deep breaths and relax your face with a SMILE

  • Observe how you react both mentally and physically to the posture – is it hard? How do you react to things that are challenging in your life? How could you approach the pose in a way that allowed ease, flow and self-acceptance?

To exit:

  • Energise your left arm and inhale as you reach toward the ceiling to return to a wide legged standing position, arms return parallel to the floor

  • Reverse your feet and repeat on the left side for the same amount of breaths

  • Repeat 1-3 times.

Options:

  • If you find it hard to balance you can begin by using the support of a wall against your back

  • You can keep the top hand against your hip if extending the arm is too strong

  • If you’ve taken a very wide stance, avoid jamming into your knee joints by keeping a tiny bend in each one.

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