Yoga is known for it’s amazing mood boosting and stress reducing benefits.
Using yoga for postpartum depression can help to improve your overall mood and well-being. Adding yoga into a regular self-care routine is a simple change that can make a big difference. Since it is a low-impact way to exercise, it can be safe for mothers who are pregnant or recovering from childbirth. It’s also a great exercise to do with children or babies around because they love to watch and sometimes even follow along.
In this guest post from Meera Watts of SiddhiYoga.com, you can learn about all the amazing benefits of yoga for postpartum depression.
There are a variety of benefits yoga has displayed. It has been used for centuries for good reason. Instead of using prescription medications, there was the development of yoga to manage physical and mental problems. So it is that yoga can help us in the modern world with depression, stress, and mindfulness, because maintaining good mental health should always be a priority.
You are more prone to nurturing yourself when you create body awareness and of course mind awareness. You won’t beat yourself up anymore and let your ego dictate how you’ll feel. Yoga is a deeply grounding practice that brings out your truths. As your heart opens more and you learn about who you really are, you’ll have a profound sense of self. This can only create a place of self-love.
Here are the benefits of yoga for postpartum depression that you might not know about.
• Reduction of the impact of stress in your daily life.
• Assists with anxiety and depression.
• Teaches you to self-soothe yourself with techniques like meditation, relaxation, and through the exercise aspect of the practice.
• Energy is improved.
Yoga and Depression
The physical things in yoga will have your body moving in all sorts of directions. You get a gentle workout, a core workout, and learn to breathe properly. Then, you’ll do meditation. Yoga teaches you a lot and taps into your mind, body and soul. It can be helpful with depression and the symptoms. For example, yoga helps you to concentrate and helps you with your energy levels. These are common problems of depression that are solved through yoga.
Yoga helps you to manage any mental and emotional problems you’re dealing with. Conditions and disorders that can lead to depression such as chronic pain can be relieved.
Improve Your Mood
The reason we experience things like depression and anxiety is due to unbalanced levels of certain chemicals in the brain. Serotonin is something that makes us happy and gives us energy. When we don’t have enough, we can feel down. Yoga naturally helps to increase serotonin levels. Yoga is gentle so even if a person does feel low, they can go to a class and get the nurturing benefits. The fluid nature of the moves you do can evoke a nice feeling. As your body moves, you become more conscious of that, instead of how you feel emotionally.
Warrior poses can make you feel powerful. That is not a feeling that someone with depression usually feels. You will also concentrate on your breathing which can bring you more energy.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Yoga works to increase your heart rate. Through breathing and encouraging blood to flow better with poses, it can change time between heartbeats. The relaxation response will dominate over the stress response in the body. The body gets better at monitoring itself and fighting against stress. It also reduces levels of cortisol that are released in the body. When you do get anxious, you cause the body to overproduce this chemical. When you have too much in the body, it can cause damage to the mind and body.
Yoga lowers your blood pressure and makes it easier to breathe. When you learn how to do deep breathing in yoga, you can immediately relax yourself. You also increase your pain tolerance by reducing stress. Stress has been shown to lower your pain tolerance.
Yoga and Mindfulness
A big part of yoga is learning to be mindful. This is the key to solve any negative feelings you have. As you learn to just observe the ego mind instead of going down to its level, you can manage any storm. It is the ego that says you’re not good enough, that you can’t do something, or that there’s something to worry about.
Almost nothing it tells you has any true purpose and it can lead you to feel extremely angry, sad, anxious, or afraid. The funny thing is, the ego is basing it’s reality on your past situations. Say you’re triggered by a smell, this is the ego searching for an experience that occurred with a relate-able scent. If the memory is a good one, you feel happy. If it’s a bad memory, it can make you feel instantly terrible.
Mindfulness is being aware of the emotional pain or the physical pain that manifests in you when these things happen. You may not be able to remember what happened when you were five that created sadness from a smell. You can scan your body and be aware of what the brain is saying.
Even just witnessing your thoughts can calm the rest of your body down. Your ego doesn’t have a chance to berate you. When you’re kinder to yourself, you are less likely to do things like emotionally eat or get angry at people who don’t deserve it.
Medical studies and scientific research say that meditation and mindfulness has neurological benefits.
Yoga works on the body and through the breath to create a centered mind within you. Stress is decreased and so is depression. You will experience a higher quality of life with that open heart you’ve created. Then you’re not prone to fear and self-doubt.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of SiddhiYoga.com, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh and Dharamshala) and Indonesia (Bali).
For more information, view her website at www.siddhiyoga.com and follow her on social media.