Yoga Asanas to Improve Your Mental Health

In this fast pacing world, stress, anxiety and depression have become a daily part of our lives. It doesn’t matter whether we are owning a Multi-billion company or living in a beautiful city, we are stressed and tensed. Depression and suicides cases are rising at an alarming rate, which has now become a global health concern. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 30 crore people are now living with depression from which 5.6 crore Indians are suffering from depression and more than 3 crore Indians are suffering from anxiety disorders. A recent study published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry based on a survey of more than 700 randomly selected students found that more than 50% were suffering from either depression or anxiety disorders. Mental health has become more important than the physical health.

The reasons for depression, anxiety and stress are endless. To name few, the pressure of study results from parents, job stress, sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and relationship problems.

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Yoga for Mental Health

Normally, anxiety disorders refer to a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear, including anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is distressing that students felt like committing suicide during their study, just because of pressure from parents, relatives and competitive world.

When we suffer from depression or stress, a large majority of us are either reluctant or unable to seek medical help to cure this biggest problem of our life. Here, we must note that the diseases like Blood pressure, Diabetes, etc. are mainly happening due to the rising level of stress and lifestyle problems. Those suffering from depression are also likely to pick up unhealthy habits such as tobacco, smoking and alcohol consumption, which is again ruining their health.

Symptoms of Depression, anxiety and stress

  • Angry and irritation over small things
  • Gets uncontrolled, thoughts of past traumatic experiences
  • Sleepless nights and frequent palpitations
  • Gets panicked, feeling uneasiness and scared
  • Wake up with frequent nightmares
  • Repeatedly washing your hands
  • You may notice sweaty hands and feet

This happens with many people when you face depression, stress or anxiety. But, you need to realize that it’s not going to stay permanently in your life. Positivity in life can help to overcome these situations. In this condition, Yoga plays an important role to calm down the level of stress, anxiety and brings relaxation. Simple meditation and pranayama can surprisingly remove all your worries and keep you calm and composed.

How Can Yoga help you?

Regular practice of Yoga poses helps to

  • Improve blood flow and increase levels of haemoglobin and red blood cells in the body
  • Oxygen to reach the body cells and enhances their function
  • Increase your endurance, lower your resting heart rate, and thin your blood
  • Decrease your overall risk of heart attack and stroke

Yoga not only help you improve your health in terms of physical benefits, it also helps to nurture your attitude towards your body which helps to bring the spiritual and mental equilibrium. Yoga combines physical poses along with the meditation and controlled breathing. It helps to examine and access your inner strength which helps you to face the life challenges, frustrations, anger, and most importantly fears of daily life.

Regular practice of Yoga not only act as an effective stress buster but also help to ease the above symptoms of depression and anxiety level. It helps to transfer your focus and attention to your body and health and releases physical tension and anxiety.

Now, we know all the benefits of practising Yoga, lets us find out some of the best yoga poses that help to improve your mental health and keep you stress-free. You just a need a Yoga mat and lots of willing power to start the practice.

  1. Lotus Pose (Padmasana) 

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    Lotus Pose

A powerful spiritual and meditative pose which channels your life force, relaxes the mind and calms the brain. The regular practice of this pose will keep you rooted and feel more energetic. This pose symbolizes purity, beauty, majesty, grace, wealth, richness, knowledge, serenity, fertility, enlightenment, spirituality and cosmic renewal. Moreover, it also helps to relieve stress, relaxes the mind and calms your brain. Know more

  1. Headstand Pose (Sirsasana)

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    Headstand

The king of all asanas and standing on your head is nothing but Headstand or Sirsasana which has multiple benefits starting from detoxification to improving concentration. This inverted position of headstand flushes fresh nutrients and oxygen to the face, creating a glowing effect on the skin. Since the adrenal glands are flushed and detoxified, you create positive thoughts. Depression, stress, and anxiety will reduce as you get upside down and smile will come to your face. This pose develops strong core muscles and eliminates chances of strokes. Know more

  1. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) 

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    Downward Facing Dog Pose

One of the most basic and most recognized yoga poses around and must be learned to pose for the beginners called Downward Facing Dog Pose can provide you with multiple health benefits starting with blood flow to the brain, strengthening each one of your muscles to a pose which keeps you away from stress. This pose rejuvenates and energizes your entire body. Moreover, it calms your mind and provides relief from a headache, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. The blood flow to the brain due to this posture calms the nervous system, improves memory and concentration, and releases stress. Know more

  1. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) 

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    Bridge Pose

Long working hours or extended time of inactivity induces back pain which starts from the neck and then spreads to other parts of your body. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) helps to remove that discomfort in your back muscles by strengthening it and provides relief instantly. This pose helps you to keep your spine and brain healthy, reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Know more

  1. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

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    Fish Pose

A back-bending sleeping pose that opens the chest, throat, abdomen and helps to cure thyroid disorders. Regular practising of this pose can be a great way to regain balance and flexibility of your neck and spine. This pose is usually carried out as the counter-pose to Shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) because it neutralizes pressure on your neck and spine. Regular practice can energize your body and remove anxiety and stress level. Know more

  1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

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    Child’s Pose

A resting pose which focuses on your thighs and helps to relieve back pain. The regular practice of this pose with full gravitational pull can bring physical, mental and emotional balance in your life. This pose helps to relax the muscles of your body and promotes blood circulation throughout your body. This asana is normally practised when you need to be relaxed during the yoga session. Know more

  1. Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

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    Seated Forward Bend Pose

A sitting pose which helps to calm your mind and relieve stress. This pose is generally practised later in a sequence when the body gets warmed. Regular practice of this asana gives your entire body a good stretch and is effective for diabetes and high blood pressure. Moreover, it improves your appetite and helps in digestion. Know more

  1. Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)

    How to do Standing Forward Bend Pose
    Standing Forward Bend Pose

An intense forward stretch pose which provides your entire back muscles with a good stretch and brings flexibility and strength to your back. This asana rejuvenates your body and improves oxygen-rich blood flow to your brain since your head is below your heart when you enter fully into this pose. Regular practice of this pose helps to relieve anxiety, stress and calms your mind. Know more

  1. Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani)

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    Legs Up the Wall Pose

A mild and rejuvenated inversion Pose designed to give your body a full relaxation. It also has anti-ageing effects on your body starting from reducing wrinkles to keeping your old age at distance. This pose helps to improve the circulation of blood to every part of your body and thus cure health disorders. This pose helps to calm your mind, nervous system and provides better relaxation. If you are feeling stressed and tired after day-long work at the office, then this is the right pose for you to get relaxed. Know more

  1. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

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    Photo Credit: Yoga.com

The easiest pose in yoga sequence, yet the hardest one. Because you need to relax your body and mind and need to restrain yourself from falling asleep while practising. It promotes rest and thus relaxation. Concentration and deeper breaths are what you need in this asana practice. This asana helps to improve your concentration, memory, energy level and releases stress, anxiety, fatigue and tiredness. Moreover, it relaxes your whole-body muscles, calms your mind and improves mental health. It increases energy level, rejuvenates your body and helps to become aware of your own body. Know more

In addition to the regular practice of yoga, below techniques can also be effectively used to reduce the level of stress and anxiety disorders.

  1. Practice Pranayama like Bhramri, Sheetali and Anulom-Vilom regularly
  2. Meditation is a great way to keep yourself calm and relaxed.
  3. Pray to God and keep the faith. Smile always no matter what situation you face in your life!
  4. Think and act – What can I do for others that will change his/her life in a small or great way
  5. Surround yourself with the company of positive people, peace and positivity

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your yoga practice and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

Storms don’t last forever

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through the greatness of mind.”- Aristotle

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Author: Rakesh Pradhan

Rakesh Pradhan is a Yogi, Blogger, Civil Engineer and a continuous learner. When he was 14 years old, one day his neighbourhood uncle asked him about Yoga and Meditation. He got so motivated about the amazing benefits of this beautiful Yoga that he started reading Yoga books, watching videos and practising yoga poses. Now, he is helping people to learn Yoga and keep them away from stress and lifetsyle diseases.

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