What is yoga for depression?

yoga for depression, yogifi

Imagine carrying a big pile of rocks on your back and climbing a hill,

You are plodding along. It is awful. 

It is hard to carry these rocks, especially when you do not know why.

Your back hurts, and your knees are on fire. You are hunching over from the weight.

You catch glimpses of other people out of the corner of your eye, and they look happy.

But you cannot feel the same way.

That is one way to describe depression.

Did you know that depression affects one in every twenty people? You are more likely to meet someone with depression than someone with covid-19.

What does depression mean?

Depression is an intense feeling of sadness and worthlessness. This feeling interferes with the way you behave, think, and feel.

But, not in a good way. It affects your kidney, immunity system, nervous system, heart, everything! It is the worst kind of suffering.

What causes this disease?

Any stressful or traumatic event can trigger depression. Hormone fluctuations, post-surgery reactions, and high-stress levels can also lead to depression.

What does it do to your body?

– You start withdrawing from socializing.

– Everyday tasks become difficult to perform.

– You start suffering from aches and pain around your body.

– You drown in self-loathing and fatigue.

– Your appetite changes drastically.

– Sleep patterns change, making every day feel more gloomy.

How to cope with this dreadful disease?

It is essential to understand where your depression is coming from to understand how to deal with it better. 

For example, if you are struggling to cope with the loss of someone, seeking professional help might help to deal with the grief. In other cases, taking medications might be a better solution. But both these solutions come with obstacles and side effects.

What is a healthier way to cope with depression?

YOGA. Yoga is an awe-inspiring tool to fight depression.

How is yoga a healthier option?

Though yoga cannot cure the disease completely, it is prominently known for: 

  • Increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine, both of which are lowered in depression. This improves your mood.
  • It promotes self-soothing and improves energy levels. 
  • Reduces long-term and chronic pain in the body by inducing stretching and movement in the body.

All these benefits with zero side effects! Thus, yoga is a better option than any depression medication.

Here are a few yoga practices to help you deal better with depression:

Alternate Breathing Practice (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)

yoga for depression, yogifi, Alternate Breathing Practice

One major factor of depression is being unable to think straight or make decisions.

 Alternate Nostril breathing stimulates the Cerebral Cortex. The Cerebral cortex plays a crucial role in attention, perception, cognition, and language. 

Thus, promoting better brain function. 

When the brain is healthy, the body functions better. 

Practicing this breathing technique daily also helps balance hormones, reduces stress, and clears toxins out of the body by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. 

When you are feeling depressed, focusing on tasks can be challenging. But one way to start feeling better is by working on your concentration and focus. 

So next time decision-making frustrates you or you seem to lose focus sit in a calm space and practice alternate nostril breathing. 

To get into the pose: 
  • Find a comfortable and well-ventilated place.
  • Sit comfortably in any posture. Keep your spine lengthened.
  • Now, close your eyes and observe your breath. 
  • Use your right hand to fold your middle and index fingers toward your palm. 
  • Place your thumb over your right nostril and inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril until your lungs are full. 
  • Hold your breath for a second or two. Focus on your breathing.
  • Next, release your thumb from your right nostril and close your left nostril with your ring finger.
  • Exhale slowly through the right nostril.
  • Now, inhale through the right nostril and slowly exhale through the left.
  • Continue practicing this breathing cycle 2 to 6 times. 

Child pose (Shasankasana)

yoga for depression, yogifi, child pose

A miraculous pose to calm your nervous system.

A major backlash of people suffering from depression is Insomnia. And due to less or disturbed sleep, the intensity of the symptoms may increase. 

Did you know that people with insomnia have a tenfold higher risk of being depressed than a good night sleeper? The two are closely connected.

One very helpful pose for inducing sleep is the child pose. 

The child pose releases tension in the lower back, the shoulders, and the neck

How? by stretching and lengthening the entire spine and the back muscles.

This allows the back to relax completely and calms the nervous system. Hence, low-stress levels, low fatigue, and a sense of relaxation takes over the mind and body. 

This posture is recommended highly if you have a stressful day. It enhances the quality of breathing hence, loosens your body and induces better sleep. 

How to practice the pose:
  • Find a comfortable and well-ventilated place.
  • Sit comfortably. Keep your spine lengthened.
  • Now, close your eyes and observe your breath.
  • Sit on your heels keeping the tops of your feet on the floor with the big toes touching.
  • Slowly, bend forward, stretching your spine, and try to place your forehead on the ground.
  • Extend your arms forwards 
  • Relax the shoulders, jaw, and eyes.  
  • Stay in this pose and keep breathing.
  • Focus on your breath. 
  • Now slowly come back to any comfortable sitting pose. 
  • Slowly open your eyes. 

Wind-Relieving Pose (Pavan Mukthasana)

yoga for depression, yogifi, wind relieving pose

Another symptom of depression that is very commonly observed is changed eating habits, either eating less or binge eating. 

As the problem intensifies, the symptoms intensify. 

The issues with unbalanced eating habits are – bloating, gastric issues, stomach aches, and ulcers.  

And as we know, “All disease starts in the gut” 

 The wind relieving pose is best known to prevent these disease. The pose allows for better digestion relieving us from many gut issues. 

The pose stimulates the abdomen and relieves any gastric or digestion problems. Eliminating gut problems can induce hunger and pave the way to better eating.

This pose is also excellent for post-meal bloating.

The pressure of your legs against your belly allows for a gentle massage of the digestive organs, which enables the trapped air in the abdomen to travel through the digestive tract. Massaging the abdomen also allows for better blood flow to the digestive organs.

How to practice the pose: 
  • Find a comfortable and well-ventilated place.
  • Sit comfortably. Keep your spine lengthened.
  • Close your eyes and Observe your breath
  • Now, lie down on your mat. 
  • Inhale, bring both your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around your knees.
  • Use your arms to pull your knees into your chest. 
  • Hold this pose and keep breathing. 
  • Now, slowly release your arms and legs to the floor. 
  • Relax and observe your breath.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana)

yoga for depression, yogifi, downward facing dog

The mind and body are interconnected. When one is not doing well, the other suffers too. One way to deal with depression is to try and cheer up your body and observe the impact it has on your mind. And what better way to energize the body than with the downward-facing dog pose?

The downward-facing dog stretches the entire body, rejuvenates it, and regulates digestion and blood circulation.

 By doing so, the downward dog is proven to be a good pose for relaxing and re-energizing the body. 

The feel-good effect extends from the body to the mind.

People diagnosed with depression are often prescribed medication to help them feel better, but these prescriptions can come with unpleasant side effects. However, when practiced regularly, the downward dog pose can provide better results without any negative side effects.

How to practice the pose: 
  • Find a comfortable and well-ventilated place.
  • Sit comfortably on your knees. Keep your spine lengthened.
  • Close your eyes and observe your breath
  • Come onto your hands and knees, with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
  • Widen your palms and your feet at a comfortable distance.
  • Lengthen your spine and try to keep your knees straight 
  • Place your heels on the mat. 
  • Now, hold this pose and keep breathing.
  • Slowly release your pose and sit in any comfortable posture. 
  • Observe your breath. 

The Corpse Pose (Shavasana)

yoga for depression, yogifi, corpse pose

The corpse pose is said to be one of the best poses to help deal with depression. 

Not just that, the corpse pose is a popularly loved posture and is well known for its benefits on the mind.

Sometimes, people tend to hold tension and stress in their body unconsciously – gripping their jaw, tensioned muscles around the eyes, tight wrists, clenched fingers, etc. This tension could extend to your beliefs, idea, and limitations. 

And as a result, we experience anxiety, depression, PTSD, and many more mental diseases. 

The corpse pose is the cessation of all muscular activity. This pose can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and boost concentration and focus. Additionally, the corpse pose can help to improve circulation, relieve tension headaches, and ease back pains.

One of the biggest challenges of feeling depressed is the inability to unclutch your body. The corpse pose helps get over this inability easily! It is known to calm the nervous system. This allows you to relax your body and rejuvenate your mind.

How to practice the pose:
  • Find a quiet and comfortable place.
  • Sit with your spine lengthened and observe your breath for a few moments.
  • Now, lie flat on your back. Keep your eyes closed. 
  • Keep your arms on the mat with your palms facing upward. Relax your legs
  • Close your eyes. Breathe comfortably and deeply. 
  • Focus on your breath and relax each part of your body
  • Hold your pose and try to keep your body still
  • Slowly, sit up in any comfortable posture
  • Relax your body and Observe your breath 
  • Slowly open your eyes.  


It is important to remember that yoga is a process, not a quick fix.

The benefits of yoga are cumulative; the more you practice, the more you will see and feel the positive effects. In other words, be patient with yourself and do not expect perfection. 

It is definitely not easy to get through something so challenging, such as depression, but you can always reach out for help, and we are here to help in the little ways we can. 

Check out our new program, Yoga for Depression, on the YogiFi App.
Now, it is easy to practice and track with the YogiFi mat.

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