Yoga And Mindfulness For Anxiety And Depression

Written by Monica Rottmann

Anxiety and depression are serious problems. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1 in 6 Australians are currently suffering from some form of anxiety disorder (which includes depression). 

That’s 3.3 million people suffering from a mental disorder that severely impairs their happiness. The good news is that many of those people might be able to get some relief by taking up yoga and mindfulness.  Here’s what you need to know, and it’s backed by science. 

Why You Should Consider Yoga And Mindfulness For Depression

Studies from sources as diverse as the Journal of Mental Health Training and the Iranian Journal of Mental Health all show significant benefits of using yoga and mindfulness to combat anxiety disorders. 

And a recent multi-national meta-analysis (a kind of super study which examines the results of many different studies) also showed clear benefits of yoga and meditation for depression and anxiety. 

So, why should this be?

About Yoga And Anxiety And Depression

In fact, alongside getting a good diet and enough sleep, ensuring that you exercise regularly is one of the most important measures you can take to improve your overall physical and mental health.

Yoga is, at its most basic, a form of exercise and the links between getting regular exercise and combatting depression and anxiety are undisputed. 

Yoga, however, is also a fairly tightly controlled form of exercise. It involves work through a series of specific positions which encourage the body to gently bend, stretch and get stronger. This has been shown to have huge benefits to the individual such as improving balance, strength, muscle resistance, etc. 

It also means that the yoga participant is able to carry out mindfulness exercises as they exercise. The gentle, specific flow of yoga allows the mind to roam unencumbered by the pressures that other forms of exercise might bring.

After all, you’ve never seen a piece on combining boxing and meditation or long distance running and meditation and that’s because these forms of exercise don’t give the participant the same levels of mental freedom as yoga does.

Photo by Hannah Photography

About Mindfulness And Anxiety and Depression

Mindfulness, sometimes also known as meditation, is not a religious act. Though some people may confuse it with one as mindfulness and Buddhism (which, in itself, is closer to a philosophy than a religion in many people’s eyes) are strongly associated with each other.

However, you don’t need to be Buddhist to enjoy the benefits of mindfulness. It’s simply a set of breathing and mental exercises that help the participant to anchor their thoughts “in the now” that is to be truly present in the world around them and to let go of the past/future. 

This has been shown to have a dramatic effect on mental wellbeing and by dropping the mental focus on the past and future while being mindful, the practitioner will find that they become less anxious and depressed because they are no longer fixated on their problems and fears. 

Final Thoughts On Yoga And Mindfulness For Depression and Anxiety

The best thing about the fact that yoga and mindfulness can help with anxiety disorders is that these are two things that are relatively easy to learn and implement in your own life without spending a fortune.

The best way to learn yoga and mindfulness is from a personal instructor and you should be able to find one near you, but if you’re on a super tight budget you could even start learning on YouTube for free. 

Why let anxiety disorders hold you back when all it might take to fix it is some light, controlled exercise and some breathing and awareness exercises? 

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