Feelings and Emotions Are Strongly Related To Our Bodily States
I never had to look for the best antidepressant for anxiety and depression.
But I know many people do.
Sometimes, however, I do get up in the morning with a sense of disorientation.
But when I sit down, straighten my back, and open my chest, an immediate change begins to take place.
The rest almost happens by itself. A sense of orientation and optimism slowly reigns over fatigue and disorientation.
At this point, a desire to practise yoga usually kicks in.
In turn, this fills me with energy that helps me start the day in a much better mood.
Extending the chest is excellent for improving optimism.
Yoga for depression and mood
Over the years, I’ve learned that starting each morning by practising yoga not only has a positive effect on that particular day, but also has a long-term effect.
It has also taught me a skill that allows me to deal better with episodes of something like slight depression or negative mood that come up from time to time.
Thus, when I’m feeling tired and crushed, I do a few poses. I usually do a headstand, followed by Viparita Karani (or Legs Up The Wall). Most of the time, this is sufficient to recover my energy and regain a positive attitude.
Since the psychophysical connection in this case seems fairly clear, explaining the long-term effects is also straightforward. That is, if we can improve our regular posture, so that the spine is kept straight, the shoulders rolled back, and the chest open, we breathe with more ease and tend to feel better.
A yoga practice along these lines above gives all of us a skill to help deal with such recurrent moods of fatigue and feeling down.
It can also prevent the embarrassments and unnecessary suffering that flows from chronic anxiety.
Working with your body affect your mental and emotional state
These issues are discussed in the recent book, ‘The Psycho-Physical Lab” co-authored by Eyal Shifroni. The book explains how yoga postures impact feelings, as well as mental and emotional states. It says:
“…Our feelings and emotional states are strongly related to our bodily states and behaviour.”
In other words, working with our body will affect our mental and emotional state.
This connection is very evident when we feel down or even slightly depressed.
Usually, such a state has clear physical (bodily) and behavioural manifestations. In particular, the shoulders drop and move forwards, the chest closes and constrains the breath, the back curves, and the gaze tends downwards.
You will have seen examples of this in others. Have you sometimes noticed it in yourself?
Mood inducing activities. Try the best antidepressant for anxiety and depression
Computers and driving are two activities which often also force us into these hunched shapes. But they’re not the only culprits.
The tendency to curve our spine and drop our shoulders is most evident in the long hours we spend sitting.
For many of us, we are of course working in front of our computers.
In practising yoga, one constantly works against such tendencies. We seek to straighten and elongate the spine. We also work to create space in the chest by rolling the shoulders back and down, and moving the shoulder blades forward (toward the back ribs).
As anyone who practised yoga knows, this can have a sharp and immediate effect on mood. The immediate effect is clearly felt. But there are also more subtle long-term effects that are perhaps less noticeable.
The emotional connection of your shapes
Given this immediate connection between our posture and emotional state, you can help to combat a tendency for slight depression by seeking to open the chest and roll the shoulders back.
Another good option is to use some type of roller, like a barrel.
Hanging your head and shoulders backwards over the seat of a chair will also quickly lift your mood and energy.
In another post, I’ve also talked about the huge impact that inverted poses can have on energy, mental state and more.
Inverted, or upside down poses, can start with very simple ways to have your head lower than your heart. For example, try downward dog pose, with your head supported.
Is it really this simple? To a degree, yes. And this can come as a revelation, since many of us suffer such moods.
Consider medical advice, but not just medical advice
I certainly do not want to suggest that these method should be taken as a easy remedy for depression in general.
But it can certainly help, and possibly help a lot. There are many instances where it has.
I’ve also posted about studies that show the very positive contribution of yoga, including via the vagus nerve.
Of course, if one already suffers from more severe depression, one is unlikely to have the energy and desire to work consistently on posture.
However, remember that practising regular yoga has a very good chance of helping ensure you never reach that type of debilitating state.
If you suffer depression, or may suffer depression, get professional advice. But please also at least consider yoga as part of your treatment. For a range of reasons, it is excellent for ongoing management of your mental state.
In this discussion, I am not thinking of severe or clinical depression here. I’m talking about the more transient negative moods that affect most of us from time to time.
I’m also talking about using yoga as prevention of worse outcomes, no matter where on that spectrum you may be at the moment.
Both myself, and my students, have found that persistent yoga practise can be very effective in dealing with non-clinical mood issues, including feeling down or loss of energy.
Obviously, there are many other benefits as well, and I’ve discussed them elsewhere.
You don’t have to be flexible to start yoga
Many think that yoga requires flexibility. On the contrary, Flametree’s easy beginner yoga lets you get started with gentle yoga, backcare yoga, chair yoga, and many other low movement options.
It’s the best antidepressant for anxiety and depression, plus much more.
The beginner packages, at home, or in the studio, include a beginner course from time to time.
But you can still start beginner level classes at any time. Classes are taught to allow you to join at any time, and do the beginner courses when they run.
The week-to-week subscription deals, give you a full 2 weeks free, right at the start of your weekly subscription period.
There is no charge until the end of the FREE two weeks. It’s obligation free. Just tell us if you don’t want to continue, as soon as you’ve done the free two week trial.
Yoga for seniors, or the unfit, or those who are stiff, or who have special conditions, is all part of all these packages, plus much more.
In particular, I notice that many men find gentle yoga, or backcare yoga, to be an especially good way to start their yoga journey.
Flametree’s Easy Restorative class, every week, is another excellent option to include in your practise. Almost anyone can do this type of easy yoga. But it has profound affects on many of the issues I have mentioned.
You can do it as beginner yoga online, or in Flametree’s studio in Darwin Australia, or both.
Check out these deals, and see what you think.
There are also ten pass deals for beginners, both online and in the studio.
All Flametree yoga packages, for both beginners and non-beginners are here.