Yoga For Anxiety And Depression: 10 Best Poses & Detailed Discussion

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If you are wondering if it is beneficial to do Yoga For Anxiety And Depression? Then you are on the right page. We have discussed the matter with a team of professionals and we represent their views here along with few yoga Asanas, that is known to work for anxiety and depression. 

Anxiety and Depression the two most common yet extremely serious issues in today’s life. Children as well as adults all are subject to these mental health issues. Unlike physical illness, mental health problems are not visible but cause worse effects on individual.

Despite its severity, mental health is not given enough importance even in today’s world and as a result such cases are ignored causing gradual aggravation and more damage.

Research says that the extremely fast paced life, varied expectations and multi-dimensional chores exert immense pressure on human beings.

Majority of the population these days suffer from mental health issues. It is important to address and highlight the illnesses in order to make people aware of the same as well as to treat that properly.

Yoga For Anxiety And Depression

Anxiety And Depression: Meaning, Cause & Effect

Anxiety is an emotion caused by any stressful situation that is characterized by repeated feeling of tension or nervousness, constant worry or fear. It is manifested by some physical discomforts like high blood pressure, high heart rates, heavy breathing or sweating. Common situations like first day in school or appearing for an interview cause anxiety in persons.

Depression is a mental health disorder of a constant feeling of sadness, anxiety, apathy, loss of interest in common activities and thereby impairing daily life. Depression can vary from mild to severe. Major depression that needs immediate action is called clinical depression.

The common causes of depression are constant stress, failure, loss or death, abuse, serious illness, conflict or rejection and even genetics.

Depression often leads to loss of appetite or over eating, insomnia, sudden outburst of tears, withdrawn and detached from people and social events, very low or high blood pressure, palpitation, headache etc. The effects can be as serious as hurting ownself, frequent thoughts of death and even suicide attempts.

Solution To Anxiety And Depression

Due to the serious nature and impact of anxiety and depression on people, it is highly recommended that these issues are brought to our notice and we all understand that mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of.

Rather, like any other disease, it can also be treated with therapy, medicine and care. Awareness and consciousness are the keys in this matter.

When we talk about solution to anxiety and depression, there is another measure that you might consider – self help. How do you help yourself on your own? While self counseling is one way, Yoga can be the other one.

Also, read our post on How Yoga Works?

The Connection Between Yoga And Mental Health

The Connection Between Yoga And Mental Health

Yoga, as we all know, has originated long back in ancient India which includes physical, spiritual and mental practices. It uses breathing techniques, bodily exercises and meditation which ultimately benefit an individual in multiple ways.

Besides improving physical health by strengthening body muscles, increasing flexibility and preventing occurrence of illnesses, yoga also contributes to an improved mental health.

Some of the Yoga asanas or postures calm the body from inside, brings sound sleep and reduce stress, anxiety and depression by keeping disturbing thought and fears away.

Also Read our Post on Meaning of The Word Yoga

There are a number of Yoga that relieves Anxiety and Depression. Here we describe a few of them. 

10 Yoga Poses That Work Best Against Anxiety And Depression

1. Tadasana or Tree Pose

The tree pose helps in keeping away distracting thought from your mind and help you focus.

Steps to Follow

  • Stand straight. Keep your feet joined and hinds on your side. Breathe gently.
  • Fold your right leg keeping your foot on the inner thigh of your right leg.
  • Keep the balance on your right leg and stand firmly.
  • Raise both your hands upward and join them to make a namaskar pose.
  • Breathe gently and hold the position for a while.
  • Repeat the same on your left.

2. Ustarasana or Camel Pose

The camel pose reduces stress. It improves blood circulation and hence heals mind and body.

Steps to Follow

  • Place a blanket or a thick mat below you before starting.
  • Kneel your body upright with your palms on your rib cage for support.
  • Tuck your toe under and slow place your hands on the heels – one hand at a time.
  • Bend your back a little and bring your hip forward to touch the heels.
  • Hold the position.

3. Setu Bandhaana or Bridge Pose

This asana too improves blood circulation and opens up the front of spine and heart, thereby calming the mind. Therefore it reduces stress.

Steps to Follow

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend your knees keeping your feet on the floor.
  • Stretch your arms on the floor flat (palms flat too).
  • Press your arms and feet to lift your both toward the ceiling with your buttocks off the floor.
  • Your tailbone should be toward the pubic bone.
  • Hold the position for sometime then slowly bring your hips down on floor.

4. Baddha Konasana or Butterfly Pose

It is an asana that you do in seated position. As you keep your pine erect, tension is released from body and gives a calming effect.

Steps to Follow

  • Straighten out your leg and sit straight with your spine erect.
  • Bend both the knee sideways to form a winged butterfly.
  • Join your feet together and hold them with your hands.
  • Bring your feet closer to pelvis.
  • Hold the position.

5. Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend

You take deep breathe while practicing this asana. It works well in releasing stress and anxiety.

Steps to Follow

  • Bring your arms above your head and stretch them towards the ceiling.
  • Exhale slowly and bend forward by pressing your hips.
  • Bend further putting pressure on your thighs. Breathe in and hold your ankle with your handle.
  • Slowly finish by coming back to the original position.
  • Repeat the same steps again for a few more times.

6. Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend

The standing forward bend is a calming posture that helps in relaxing your mind and releasing tension in body.

Steps to Follow

  • Stand straight with your feet together and your hands on your hips.
  • Bend your knees slightly and exhale as you hinge at the hips to fold forward.
  • Place your hands straight on the floor or hold the ankles with your hands.
  • Tuck your chin into your chest.
  • Hang your head and neck heavily toward the floor. Release tension in your hips and lower back.
  • Hold this position for one minute.
  • Slowly raise and get back to your original position.

7. Matsyasana or Fish Pose

This backbend posture helps in relieving tightness in your back and chest. It energizes your body by reducing stress and anxiety.

Steps to Follow

  • Lie down flat on a yoga mat.
  • Place your hands rested on your side and legs stretched.
  • Press your forearms and elbow on the floor to lift your upper back and create an arch.
  • Lift your shoulder blades and upper torso onto the floor. Bring your head back and place the crown on the floor.
  • Keep putting light pressure on your forearms and elbow.
  • Take five breathes and slowly release the posture.
  • While releasing the posture, press your forearm and lift your head slowly. Breathe out and put down your torso and head on the floor.

8. Viparita Karani or Legs up Wall

This yoga is said to be good for almost all ailments. It is a restorative posture and reduces stress and anxiety.

Steps to Follow

  • Sit with your right side towards a fall.
  • Bend your knees and place it near your hips.
  • Lie down flat and lift your legs up straight against the wall.
  • Place your arms comfortable on your side.
  • Stay in this position for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • To release from this position press yourself away from the wall.
  • Lay flat on your back and relax for some time.
  • Bring your knees on your chest and roll onto your right.
  • After resting for a while, gently get up in a sitting position again.

Also, read our post on Can Yoga Help With Better Sleep? Here you will see this Asana also helps with better sleep and as you know better sleep reduces anxiety. 

9. Adho Mukha Shvanasana or Downward-facing Dog Pose

This asana energizes and rejuvenates your body. It is very beneficial for mental health issues like stress, depression, headache and sleeping disorder.

Steps to Follow

  • Start with your hips above your knees and shoulders above your wrists.
  • Bring your hands slightly forward to your shoulders and spread the fingers.
  • Curl your toes under and push back and lift your hips and straighten your leg.
  • Broaden your collarbone by outwardly rotating your upper arms.
  • Your head must hang and your shoulder blades should be away from your ears.
  • Breathe out and tuck your lower belly up to the spine. Put pressure on your hands and lift your hips back and up and form a V shape.
  • Check that the length between your hands and feet is correct by coming forward to plank position. Do not step the feet toward the hands in order to touch you heels on floor.
  • Slowly breathe out and bend your knees by taking support of your hands and knees.

10. Shavasana or Corpse Pose

This posture is the most important asana and is again a restorative one. It heals a lot of ailments and can be done by every one irrespective or age, previous diseases or injuries.

Steps to Follow

  • Lie down flat on your back, in a relaxed position. Keep your arms comfortable on your side, slightly away from your body.
  • Let your feet drop open. Close your eyes.
  • Breathe in and breathe out. Concentrate on your breathing.
  • Let your body feel heavy on the floor.
  • From crown of your head to sole of your feet, leave all body part and be at ease.
  • Relax your face.
  • This is during this posture when inner peace captivates your mind and soul.
  • Stay in this position for around 30 minutes.

Concluding Thoughts

Besides yoga, exercise or self help, people suffering from anxiety and depression should definitely seek help from professionals. There are different therapies that have come up. That benefits the individuals to a great extent. One should also seek consultation from a doctor if need be.

Despite us claiming to be modern, we still show regressive attitude by being ashamed of addressing our mental health issues in front of people. People still have different and quite negative opinion about mental health and its problems.

People still are afraid of being stigmatized if they open up about their psychological problems. It s high time we speak up and make people aware about Mental Health so that it could be treated normally, like any other physical illness.

Modern world sees majority of people having some mental health problem or the other and it is increasing each day. We must be careful and sensitive about it. Necessary action needs to be taken as psychological disorders can end up getting very severe and fatal if not treated in time.

All we need is to be aware, sympathetic and sensitive. That all it takes. Speak Up!

Also read our article on Yoga Early Story and How To Open Blocked Fallopian Tube Through Yoga