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Old 05-02-2009, 04:05 PM
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Yoga and depression?

I've read/heard about how Yoga can be really good in helping depression/anxiety, anyone have any experience with results?
Also does Yoga really help to tone your body or is it really just great stretching?
Any feedback would be great Thanks!
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:16 PM
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Yoga taught me breathing exercises, which I use to try to relax when I have trouble sleeping. I have also tried to teach these techniques to people undergoing anxiety (e.g. pre-wedding stress). If you're able to find an instructor who really motivates you, it can definitely be an uplifting part of your day.

There are different types of yoga, but I only do the slow ones. I'm not sure if the average person can get very toned with just yoga - I would do some weight-lifting + cardio for that.

It's not just "stretching" though. It's amazing how much you can sweat from holding static poses! My bf did the p90x program and found the yoga DVD to be one of the harder ones at first.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:30 AM
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I can't really comment on the yoga, but going by what Shana said, then yeah.
I'm more of a Zen & Tai Chi person. it's not completely rid my depression, but it has cleared up a lot of things about my life, controlled my anger, and I've become really insightful on things {when I'm not random as hell, because my mind is always somewhere else}

Toning is hard to do, carido like jump rope, long walks, "walking on the stairs with heels on" {got this from a friend of mine, she says it works better, being incapable of wearing heels, I wouldn't know} you know, something to really get your heart pumping. Dancing would probably be pretty good too.


sorry if that doesn't help
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:48 AM
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The breathing/relaxation techniques I learned were from one particular instructor (my fav!), so I'm not sure if they are conventional yoga techniques. I think they would be good for depression/anxiety, at least as a coping mechanism.

Basically, she taught us:
- Lie down on your back and breathe slowly in (nose) and out (mouth)
- Breathe deeply by filling your lungs and not your belly, to the count of three (out can be longer)
- As you breathe, focus on EACH body part individually from the tips of your toes to the top of your head (i.e. toes, foot arch, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips, groin, stomach, ribs, chest, fingers, arms, shoulders, neck, cheeks, eyeballs, top of head)
- At EACH body part, breathe out and "tell" that part to relax, imagine it melting into the ground with your breath. Even use the word "melt" in your head as a command, if it helps.

If you still can't relax, try tensing up your body (clenched toes + fingers, abs, eyes, limbs off the ground, etc), hold for 5 seconds and then completely let go. Then repeat the breathing exercise above.

This usually helps me to fall asleep if I can clear my mind. It's also good because as you mentally go through each body part, you can notice what's tense and needs stretching/massage/rest. It shouldn't take more than 10min.

There are more tips and tricks, but I think that's enough to remember when starting out. I need to do this exercise more often!
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:55 AM
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Yoga is by far one of the greatest things that ever happened to my life! It's great for a host of things. Yes it's great for everything you list including toning your body but only if your not too, too, out of shape. Even if you are you will see results but it takes time and dedication. It's amazing for weight loss too and works pretty fast. I Love the Rodney Yee DVDs. He has different beginners DVD basically anyone can do and he has different types for different aliments. Amazon is great for Yoga DVDs. If you google Yoga there are tons of sites explaining Yoga in depth and the different types. If you stick with it you must do it everyday it is really life changing. Gives you a great body, keeps you healthy and fixes your mind and relieves stress. Good Luck!
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:07 AM
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First off, I'm very biased towards saying that yoga is awesome. I have helped run a yoga club for my university for several years, and I study depression/anxiety in grad school. I find that yoga helps me manage stress and my mood (I am aware of the irony of studying stress/anxiety/depression and having it cause stress...)

There have been studies showing that yoga is about equal to CBT in terms of stress reduction. If your depression is mild, and primarily caused by stress, then a yoga program might be enough. However, you might need additional help to get over it (like therapy).

Yoga is definitely an excellent addition to anyone's life though, IMO, and you will benefit from it.

In terms of getting toned, certain yoga styles do that more than others. Ashtanga, vinyasa flow, power yoga, and moksha yoga and the top for building muscular strength and endurance, IMO. I have a personal preference for vinyasa flow, but I also enjoy bikram yoga from time to time.

I think you should probably also do some cardio in addition to yoga, for your mood if nothing else. The endorphins from cardio have a great mood-lifting effect, and exercise is as effective for mild to moderate depression as antidepressants. if you are also doing other exercise, this will allow you to use your yoga as more of a meditative time, and to focus on the mental aspect of yoga, which will allow it to have a greater benefit for helping your depression. (The studies that have examined yoga for stress or anxiety relief have used slower forms of yoga, such as Kundalini).

I would recommend going to classes at least to start, because your alignment is what makes the postures effective, and it's really hard to get at first. You can then supplement with dvds and a home practice (which can be done w/o dvds too) to save money. The classes are worth it at least to get a hang of it though.

Wow, this is really long, but yoga and depression are my 2 primary interests in school! I hope this is helpful.
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:07 PM
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There are many different types of yoga, some more active and others relaxing. Personally, I think yoga calms you down. My instructor told us to leave our burdens at the door before entering the room. Some people think yoga is very boring because of the silence everyone is engulfed in, but actually, yoga is very fun. For example, my instructor taught us the "lion ROAR" to release anxiety.

Yoga also helps to maintain a toned body figure. It will also correct your posture. For example, some people don't stand up very straight and yoga will help "straighten" their posture, hence, some people find themself getting taller after doing yoga for a period of time.

I also find that yoga makes you look very young. My instructor for example, looks 10 years younger than her actual age.

So yea, definitely go for yoga!
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:18 PM
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Thankyou VERY much for all your insight! This has been very helpful to me.
I do already run 4/5 miles 3X a week and do strength training 2-3X a week also. I was wondering about adding it on the strength or if it would be enough to sustitute. I have found my running has been tremendous for my depression(I would be so much worse if I didn't).
I'm not manic (although I'm fairly sure I used to be), more likely mild to some rare severe days, but I do have a lot or stress and therefor have a hard time dealing with life in general on a day to day basis, so I was looking into yoga for that. People keep saying it can change you life and I feel I need something like that. A place to just deal with me, a sort of release.
I'm not on any meds, I probably could be on something mild, but I'm fairly adverse to the medicated way of treating it. I'm more into the exercise as a medication, I feel it's healthier and more beneficial(for me that is).
Anxiety though, has become a huge problem for me and can be quite debilitating, definatly has been standing in the way of me living my life, so I think Yoga would help with this.
The Yoga near me is Hatha in a warm room, mainly in the realm of asanas(whatever that all means, LOL).
Thank you everyone, again, it's not always easy to talk to friends and family about this
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Old 05-10-2009, 02:04 PM
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*UPDATE*

So I went to Hot Power Yoga(done in a hot room) on friday and it felt truely amazing. I think I might be addicted already, I can't stop thinking about it. Even though it was my first time, I walked away feeling good for the next couple of days(better than I've felt in a long time). Anyway I just wanted to update for anyone else considering it. Definately give it a try! And ShanaG gave some good advice about not giving up, if the class/teacher you try doesn't suit you, keep looking.
Thanks again everyone for your input.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:10 AM
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I used to do Jiu-jitsu 3-4 times a week for about 6 years or so. I also incorporated yoga into the mix in the last 2 years and I was kickin some major butt. It increased my flexibility, it increased my endurance and strenth. I totally recommend yoga for anyone trying to excel at any sport or whos looking to lose weight. No queston about it, Yoga works. If you're too shy to get started in a gym class or something similar (or if you're just plain cheap) try the WII Fit. It has a mod in there that is very good for beginners. You can do it in the comfort of your own home (no ones watching you in your tights, lol) and you can get your feet wet with it. I also want to point out somethin...take notice of what the trainers are wearing when they're teaching the class (the WII Fit version or otherwise).
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:34 PM
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I have heard that breathing techniques/meditation works very well for depression.
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