Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts

Yoga Can Help Fight Depression

There are a variety of relaxation techniques that are recommended for those who suffer from depression. They may not be a cure, but they should help to relax a person, depending on the type of exercises.

Exercise can help to relax a person and so potentially lessen stress, which can then lessen the feeling of depression. Some people like to do meditative exercises because they appear to help some feel more in control of their lives. Meditation helps depressives feel more like they are not being left behind by the world.

Some of the best of these meditative practices are yoga exercises. Yoga teachers will tell you that meditation highly benefits a person's nervous system, while at the same time benefiting your circulation and energizing the body and mind. It is this energy that gives the depressive the feeling that they are finally able to manage the demands in their lives, especially those things that they feel get the better of them all too often.

It is recommended that someone suffering depression spend up to twenty minutes twice a day meditating and at least the same amount of time doing the exercises. The extra energy generated may be the first feeling to get up and go the depressive has had in a long time.

The expectation is that meditation will help to calm and heal the depressive and so allow for the depressed mood to diminish or disappear. If a regular routine of exercise can improve the life of the depressive even to a small degree then perhaps hand in hand with some natural supplement this may be a route worth examining closer.

Like the ancient art of acupuncture and its history with the Chinese, yoga stems from Hindu beliefs that began over five thousand years ago. It is a philosophy that aims to bring the person together within themselves into peace and happiness both on a physical and emotional level.

These ancient forms of repairing yourself seem to be things that in recent years are getting a more serious appraisal from researchers and health care providers. The breathing exercises are said to be some of the best for those suffering from depression, as they are both calming and energizing.

The feeling among those who use these techniques is that the breathing exercises cause the body to take in the oxygen better and to get rid of the carbon monoxide more completely. They believe that this improves the brain's activities including the releasing of natural feel good chemicals. These include oxytocin and endorphins.

Yoga for Depression: Motivation and Trust

Yoga is an excellent motivational tool. When you consider starting your day with Yoga meditation, Pranayama, Japa, Yoga postures (Asanas), warm-ups, Sun Salutations, or a combination of any of these - Yoga offers many useful motivation techniques for all of us.

However, some of us like to sleep late, skip work, unplug the phone, and wonder where the day went. This lack of stress can cause depression. This is not an endorsement of a stressful lifestyle, but the reality is: We all require a little daily stress to stimulate, strengthen, and motivate ourselves.

How could an early morning Yoga meditation create motivation for the entire day? There are many types of meditation to choose from, but you could choose a form of positive visualization to raise your level of motivation.

This will require you to set aside a little time and solitude. You could start with a 15 minute Yoga meditation session and allow your mind some forgiveness - if it wanders. Do not judge your mind or any distractions around you.

This is a key to Yogic meditation, and Yoga in general: Be mindful, be kind, do not judge anything, avoid extremes, and live life in moderation. The purpose of your meditation will be aided - if you write down your goals, for the day, and meditate.

With this form of Yogic meditation, you will be pleasantly surprised with how often you accomplish your daily objectives. Keep in mind that Yoga meditation is just one technique to stimulate motivation. Pranayama, Japa, Asana, and Sun Salutations, all work well for stimulating the body and mind.

Another factor, which causes depression, is lack of trust in others, and from deep within our inner being. We must believe in ourselves before we have faith in others. This lack of trust can cause a form of scaring to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Can Yoga turn any of us into “eternal optimists?” The answer is, “maybe.” Most eternal optimists are born that way; but optimism can be conditioned, and you have the power to harness it, if you want to.

A Yoga student asks, “Teach me about self-empowerment.” The lessons are within all forms of Yoga, but you will find more answers within Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Karma Yoga.

Most Yoga students, outside of India, practice Hatha Yoga sub-styles. This is fine - but are you learning anything beyond the physical aspects of Yoga? Yoga is a vast topic, with solutions to many of today’s health problems.

However, can the world learn to trust a 5,000 year old health maintenance system, with a proven track record of success? On a global scale, most of the world’s population still seeks short-term health solutions in the form of pills.

Sometimes prescriptions are required; especially, in the case of severe depression. It is promising that Western medicine now embraces Yoga as an alternative therapy. This will create an evolution in health care which will improve the quality of life for humanity.

Yoga And Elevated Brain GABA Levels

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and McLean Hospital have found that practicing yoga may elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels, the brain's primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. The findings, which appear in the May issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, suggest that the practice of yoga be explored as a possible treatment for depression and anxiety, disorders associated with low GABA levels.

The World Health Organization reports that mental illness makes up to fifteen percent of disease in the world. Depression and anxiety disorders both contribute to this burden and are associated with low GABA levels. Currently, these disorders have been successfully treated with pharmaceutical agents designed to increase GABA levels.

Using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, the researchers compared the GABA levels of eight subjects prior to and after one hour of yoga, with 11 subjects who did no yoga but instead read for one hour. The researchers found a twenty-seven percent increase in GABA levels in the yoga practitioner group after their session, but no change in the comparison subject group after their reading session. The acquisition of the GABA levels was done using a magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique developed by J. Eric Jensen, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an associate physicist at McLean Hospital.

According to the researchers, yoga has shown promise in improving symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and epilepsy. "Our findings clearly demonstrate that in experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase after a session of yoga," said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at BUSM and a research associate at McLean Hospital.

"This study contributes to the understanding of how the GABA system is affected by both pharmacologic and behavioral interventions and will help to guide the development of new treatments for low GABA states," said co-author Domenic Ciraulo, MD, professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at BUSM.

"The development of an inexpensive, widely available intervention such as yoga that has no side effects but is effective in alleviating the symptoms of disorders associated with low GABA levels has clear public health advantage," added senior author Perry Renshaw, MD, PhD, director of the Brain Imaging Center at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.

Source: Boston University

Try Yoga To Soothe The Stress In Your Mind And The Tension In Your Body!

Times are hard and they just seem to be getting harder! Everyday, we hear more dire news about the economy, sinking stock prices and mounting job losses. Everyone is worried that they will be the next victim. This stress can have damaging effects on your emotional and physical well being.

Stress and worry can lead to more severe anxiety problems, even panic attacks! It is important to keep your mind and body balanced and one great way to do that is to learn yoga.

- Yoga is practiced by more than 6 million Americans and this number is only on the rise. As more and more people are discovering the amazing health and stress reduction effects of this ancient art, it is becoming increasingly commonplace among both men and women. Yoga is not just exercise and it's not just relaxation, it is a combination of both and it can be practiced by anyone, regardless of their age, gender, flexibility or weight.

- Yoga does incorporate some gymnastics into its movements. There are twists and contortions that will increase your flexibility and help you trim your weight and improve your appearance. To the untrained observer, it might seem like you have to be a contortionist to practice yoga. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, yoga is all about accepting the limitations of your body in the moment and working towards expanding those limitations to their fullest extent.

- Yoga also includes some meditative practices, a great way to lessen anxiety and prevent panic attacks. Meditation is not just for hippies, it is a way to let go some of the accumulated stresses that build up in our lives and simply be at peace in the moment.

An important aspect of meditation and of the more physical components of yoga is the emphasis on the breath. It is so important to breathe properly and too many of us forget how to breath from our abdomen, Without this deep breathing, we are denying our body, valuable oxygen it needs to deal with the stress we encounter in our lives.

There are many different types of yoga and many different ways to engage in the practice. As a beginner, I suggest you go to a yoga studio. Studio teachers will be more likely to help you get into the position (something you might need) and help you integrate the emotional part of the yoga experience with the physical.

Yoga classes at gyms, tend to be more physical in nature and give short shrift to the meditative component. Do not underestimate the power of meditation or the way it can release muscle tension and provide you with some inner peace. However, once you've learned the basics of yoga, attending gym based classes or indulging on your own, will accomplish the same purpose.

If neither of these options are available to you, there are a number of videos and books available that can guide you through the yoga practice although nothing replaces just a few classes for the visual and educational perspective they offer. The key to lower levels of anxiety and even panic attack prevention lay in finding ways to achieve some inner peace and some physical relief.

Stressed at work? Try yoga

A bit of daily yoga and meditation, combined with six weekly group sessions, can lower stress and improve sleep quality for sedentary office-goers, says a pilot study.

Because chronic stress is associated with chronic disease, I am focussing on how to reduce stress before it has a chance to contribute to disease, said Maryanna Klatt, professor at Ohio State University (OSU), who led the study.

The study offered participants a modified version of what is known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a programme established in 1979 to help patients assist themselves in their own healing.
Mindfulness refers in part to one’s heightened awareness of the factors that cause stress.

While the traditional MBSR programme practice takes up an hour per day for eight weeks supplemented by lengthy weekly sessions and a full-day retreat, the modified version was developed by OSU for office workers.

Participants attended one-hour weekly group meetings during lunch and practised 20 minutes of meditation and yoga daily at their desks.

After six weeks, participants reported greater awareness of stress factors, felt less stressed by events, and fell asleep more easily than did a control group that did not experience the intervention.

The pilot study was based on 48 office workers, who exercised less than 30 minutes on most days of the week. Forty two people completed the study.

The results were published in a recent issue of Health Education & Behavior.