Today I am going to talk on best Yoga poses for mental health. I believe mental health is the most energy draining of all illness. A person with depression or anxiety or any other form of mental illness loses a lot of life energy and feels dejected with everything around him, including his own existence. October 10th of every year is celebrated as World Mental health day, this is to re-inforce the fact that mental ilness is not a taboo and it genuinly possible to lift people up with proper support and collective responsibility of people around.
Indian Yogi, Sadguru describes techniques to lift up the spririts of people suffering this illness and observes that the line between sanity and insanity is very thin ! and its so true. So being really conscious of our moods and caring to have a healthy mind and body is of prime importance.
When external situations drive us to be insane it’s still understandable but many times sufferings are self-inflicted. Below are a few Facts from World health organization, the intention is not to scare you or not to show you my research capabilities, but to share that there are people around the globe suffering from this disease and organizations and people world over actively work to help people out of the suffering.
- Mental health disorders amount to 10% of global burden of diseases
- 1 in 5 of the worlds children and adolescents have mental disorder
- Depression is one of the leading causes of disability affecting 264 million people
- Around 8,00,000 people die by suicide every year, on person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 29
- People with mental disorders die 10 to 20 years earlier than normal people.
Its well-known fact that physical exercises can lift people up from this suffering and its such a relief, further more Yoga can strike that chord better than any other form of exercise, is mind blowing, as yoga connects body and mind in a coordinated way such that it brings you to the present and teaches you to be mindful of your thoughts. It also teaches you to distance yourself from situations and not be instinctively judgmental.
I recommend Yoga Practice for Depression, this exercise are not be practiced in isolation, most of these have preparatory and follow on poses. I have covered follow on poses for sake of simplicity. Some of these poses are advanced yoga poses and needs a traners guidance to help you learn the right way . If you are a regular yoga practitioner then these can be performed on your one based on your arm and overall body strength
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
1. For getting into the pose, balance the body on your knees and wrists such that the two knees and the two wrists form the leg of a table while the rest of the body is the top. Fondly called table-top pose .
2. While keeping your toes firm into the ground, exhaling lift your knees upwards .
3. Stretch your arms forward so that the upper body is tilted towards the front. Keep your palms inward, while maintaining the alignment with respective shoulder.
4. Move deeper into the yoga by lifting the knees as high as the hip can be. Your body should ideally form an inverted V shape. Maintain the curve on your back inwards. Keep the head and neck aligned while your ears can gently graze either shoulder.
5. Push the tail bone as much as you are comfortable with. This is done to provide ultimate stretch to the body, especially the back and calves. Remain in the position for duration of 15-20 breaths.
6. Reach back into the table-top position while gently exhaling and bending back the knees. Repeat the pose up to 8 times.
Follow on Poses: Uttanasana (Forward Bend Pose) or Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose) once the Adho Mukha Svanasana pose is complete. You can rest for up to 15-20 seconds before starting the follow up yoga postures.
1. Sit down with back and legs straight
2. Place your hands on the ground and inhale
3. As you exhale bend slowly and touch the feet with your hands
4. Now Gently bend the head and touch the head facing on the legs
Follow on Poses – these poses are to be followed under the guidance of an instructor
1. Ek Pad Hastasan
2. Ardha Padma Bandhasan
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Angle Standing Forward Bend), variation
1. Start with your legs wide apart, feet parallel and toes turned slightly in to protect your knees. As you inhale, expand your heart and lungs arching your back gently and either 1) bring your hands to your hips or 2) interlace your fingers behind you with palms facing each other.
2. Begin to fold forward at the hips. If your hands are at your hip allow them to come to the floor in front of you shoulder width apart between your feet – keep the hands pulled in towards each other. If your hands are interlaced, stretch the arms away from your back and overhead.
3. Adjust your body so that you feel your hips over your ankles and your weight intends slightly forward in to your toes.
4. Be wary of your back. At the noticing of any discomfort, bend your knees slightly and go only as far as you can without pressuring yourself. You can also place your palms against a wall or use a chair for your forearms. If your head touches the ground, it can bear some weight to help you regain balance. You can also use a block, folded blanket or bolster to rest your head.
5. Enjoy 3 full breaths or more.
6. To come out of the pose, press into your feet, engaging your leg muscles and inhale as you twist your torso upright. Exhale completely and relax yourself.
Follow on poses
- Pincha Mayurasana
- Utthita Parsvakonasana
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two-Legged Inverted Staff Pose), variation
1. Lie face-up with the knees bent and the soles of the feet grounded hip-width apart.
2. The palms are positioned above the shoulders, with the fingers pointing toward the body.
3. The hips are lifted, and the crown of the head rests on the ground.
4. The forearms are lowered and the fingers interlace behind the head, as if setting up for sirsasana.
5. The head is then lifted off the ground, and the chest presses outward.
Follow on poses
1. Supta Padangusthasana
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward-Facing Bow Pose), variation
1. Lie on your back with feet apart ,bend your knees and place your feet on the ground close to your body.
2. Now bring your palms under your shoulders such that the fingers point towards the shoulders and the elbows are shoulder width apart.
3. Inhale and press your palms firmly into the floor.
4. Lift your shoulders and elbow firmly into the floor
5. Your Feet should be pressed firmly into the floor.
6. Inhale and lift your hips up.
7. The spine should be rolled up so that it may seem to resemble a semi circular arch or wheel.
8. Straighten out your arms and legs as much as possible so that the hips and chest maybe pushed up.
9. Hold this pose for at least 15-20 seconds.
10. To go back to original, bend your elbows to lower your head and shoulders to the floor.
11. Then bend your knees and bring your spine and hips back to the ground and relax.
Follow on poses
- Ardha matsyendrasana
- Janu sirsasana
- Reclined hand to foot pose | Supta padangusthasana
If you did notice, all of these increase blood circulation to your head and in general bring back a lot of life energy . Practicing these regularly would help you keep mental illness at bay.I hope this post on yoga poses for mental health would help you in some way ! I I would love to hear your comments on how you overcome you mood swings and live with zeal .