Meditation and other stress reduction techniques have been used as a possible treatment to combat the symptoms of depression and anxiety for decades now as many studies have proved the benefits. It is sadly true to say that if you go to your conventional doctor struggling with depression and its debilitating symptoms that often leave you a prisoner in your own home, it is quite rare that the doctor would suggest yoga as a form of therapy to help treat the symptoms.
Yoga is something that is so readily accessible to anyone – you can do it from the comfort of your own home following the many YouTube videos or you can simply join a gym or yoga studio class. Yoga has gained so much popularity over the years that you will never struggle to find a regular class where ever you are around the world. The choice of style of yoga people choose to do usually depends on their physical ability and personal preferences. For example, at the LifeCo Centre in Bodrum our yoga instructor Pinar teachers Vinyasa yoga but it’s adapted to make it less strenuous and lighter with more stretching for people on detox that obviously have less energy. The classes always end with a 10-minute meditation, where some people feel so relaxed and at ease that they often fall asleep….
At the LifeCo people come to detox for a variety of reasons, it is not just about weight loss that is just the added benefit. Over the years we have had many guests that have struggled with depression and anxiety and many of them were so shocked at how different they felt mentally after committing themselves to daily yoga for a few weeks. Some of the benefits they all mentioned were clarity, feeling lighter emotionally, feeling more connected with themselves, less anxious and worried, better mood in the morning upon waking (not even having to set an alarm clock to wake up) and overall their mental health always improved after a stay at The LifeCo. Overall when you add the nutrition and exercise elements combined with mental wellbeing – taking control of what you feed your body and how much you move (exercise) – will of course be beneficial to how you feel mentally.
The reason so many people find yoga so beneficial when struggling with anxiety and depression is because yoga modulates the stress response system which in turn decreases physiological arousal. By stress response systems this refers to lowering blood pressure, reducing heart rate and easing respiration. In this respect, yoga functions like other self-soothing techniques, such as meditation, relaxation, exercise, or even socialising with friends.
For the many people struggling with depression, anxiety, or stress which sadly nowadays effects most of us at some point in our lives, yoga may be a good and appealing way to manage the difficult symptoms that most of these conditions sadly come with.
The scientific studies that have been carried out on yoga practice demonstrate that mental and physical health are not just aligned but equivalent to each and come hand in hand – then you can add into the mix nutrition, which no conventional doctor will question when treating people with depression or anxiety.
By Alana Panton (The LifeCo Detox Co-Ordinator/Project Manager)