Yoga for Anxiety and Situational Depression
The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder and there are less sunny days. It's almost impossible to be unaffected by the change of seasons. If, this season, you are feeling sad, down, and indoor restless then you will benefit from keeping a MORE REGULAR yoga practice. While we all know that yoga poses help release tension and stress from the body by regulating hormones and increasing endorphins. There are specific routines and poses that will help you conquer the Winter blues. Yoga can help tune out the weather, exterior world, and allows you to drop inside your bodies, and find a place of stillness with the relaxing sound of your own deep breathing.
Here are some tips to beat the blues:
First be the witness! Acknowledge you may be prone to the change of seasons and the moods that may accompany them.
Breathe: deep breathing will allow you to discover and experience how you individually hold emotions, thoughts, and experiences in your body. Deep breathing can quickly change your mind/ body state and can be done anywhere.
Begin in Mountain pose - standing straight, feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders relaxed, and head in line with the spine. From Mountain, inhale and sweep your arms up. Exhaling, bend your knees and swan dive into forwarding fold. Inhaling, step your right foot back into a lunge, left knee over ankle. Exhaling, step your left foot back into Downward Facing Dog. Inhale into Plank, keeping your core strong and your back straight.
Shift forward onto your toes, exhale into Crocodile, lowering your shoulders to align with your elbows, hips, and heels. Inhaling, pulling forward from the core, come on to the tops of your feet for Upward Facing Dog. Exhale into Downward Facing Dog. Inhaling step your right foot forward into Lunge. Exhaling, step your left foot forward into Forward Fold. Inhaling and bending your knees, circle-sweep your arms up into Mountain. Exhaling, sit back into Chair.
CAT/ COW / CAMEL / CHILDS POISE: On all fours make a c shape with your spine in both directions – inhale lift chest and tailbone to sky, exhale and bring them together. Repeat 10-20 times then when warm open up for a mood elevating backbend.
Camel Pose Move slowly, feeling your way. From a kneeling position, place your hands or fists on the bony points alongside your spine. Firm your glutes. Push your hips forward and lift your chest to the sky. Lift out of your lower back, drawing your elbows back to expand your chest. Look up toward the sky without dropping your head back. As you get out of the pose, go into Child’s Pose, and rest.
*People with lower back issues or injuries should be cautious.
REST & MEDITATE: Picture yourself in a sunny place - lie down to give your mind and body a few minutes of thorough relaxation. Using this time to recalibrate will calm anxiety and lift depression.
Affirmations about peace, calm, and tranquility, along with positive imagery will improve mood. Practicing positive self-talk will go a long way in helping you combat external forces like cold and the gloomy days. Be your own ray of sunshine. Your yoga practice brings greater patience to yourself. As you begin to deepen your Winter practice, you'll see which mind-body activities genuinely support you in moving towards positive mood and calmness. And if that does not work - try HOT Yoga.