Yoga for Mental Health – Poses to Help You Overcome Mental Issues

Yoga for Mental Health - Poses to Help You Overcome Mental Issues

There is a rise in the awareness of mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, all recommend that preventive measures and non-medicated treatments be tried before you attempt medication.



How Does Yoga Benefit Mental Health?

One of the most effective lifestyle changes you can implement is taking up yoga. Often, doctors will recommend that you try partaking in physical activities. They also recommend meditation and dietary changes. Yoga incorporates two of the above three in just one activity. The benefits of yoga for mental health are numerous, here are a few.





How Yoga Benefits Mental Health

1. Calms the Mind

One of the main reasons doctors recommend yoga is because the poses incorporate intricate postures and breathing exercises which are known to calm your body and mind. Doing these poses will help prevent anxiety attacks or panic attacks which is are common mental health problems.

2. Helps Focus

Those who have disorders like ADHD are often asked to try yoga because it helps to relax and centre the body while helping the mind focus. ADHD is a disorder that directly affects focus and attention retention, doing poses that incorporate breathing techniques and promote focus can help.




3. Improves Your Mood

Physical exercises release healthy brain chemicals like endorphins and dopamine. This helps balance your mood and combat common mental health issues like depression. Therapists recommend yoga for mental peace and concentration and to improve your mood. This is an effective way to help manage bipolar disorder which pushes your mood to extremes.

4. Helps Build Confidence

Yoga can help those suffering from self-esteem issues, a loss in confidence or self-esteem is often considered a cause for depression and anxiety. Performing yoga regularly helps centre your body and develop it slowly. It improves your confidence. The breathing in yoga also helps rid your mind of self-doubt.





5. Improves Patience

A common side-effect of disorders like anxiety, depression and bipolar is a lack of patience. This leads to uncontrolled angry outbursts. Yoga incorporates numerous breathing activities known as pranayama which help clear your body and mind. Doing these exercises will improve your patience and sense of inner balance and help prevent angry outbursts.

10 Effective Yoga Poses to Improve Your Mental Health

Performing yoga poses with no focus on mental health will not help you, it is crucial to do the poses that are focused around the issues you have, here are 10 yoga asanas for mental health.




1. Anjaneyasana

This pose is also known as “the high lunge”. Doing the crescent variation of this exercise is known to help improve your blood flow, calm your mind.

Anjaneyasana

How to Do It 





  • While standing, lunge one leg forward.
  • Bend the front knee, make sure your knee is in line with your ankle, stretch your back leg.
  • Press your ankle flat against the ground on both ankles.
  • Raise your arms to the sky and connect your palms.
  • Breathe in deeply and breathe out in an even flow.
  • Repeat 5 times per leg.

Caution 

Ensure your knee is in line with your ankle and your front knee is at a 90-degree angle. If you perform it incorrectly, it could harm your joints.




2. Garudasana

This pose is known commonly as the eagle pose. This pose requires you to breathe while holding your body in balance. It helps prevent anxiety attacks while improving your focus.

Garudasana

How to Do It 





  • Breathe in deep, shift the weight of your body onto one leg.
  • Slowly wrap one leg around the other.
  • Sink your hips and gently bend your knees.
  • Keep your ankle flat on the ground.
  • Keep your breathing even and slow.
  • Wrap one arm around the other at the elbows and wrists.

Caution 

Do not perform this pose alone, it can require balance and a lot of focus, ensure you do each part of the pose slowly and if you feel any pain, stop and restart after a break.




3. Natarajasana

Commonly referred to as “the dancer’s pose”, this asana is great for mood balancing. It can be beneficial for those who are fighting depression and anxiety.

Natarajasana

How to Do It 





  • With both legs planted on the ground, bend one knee back; using your arm, grip the ankle.
  • Slowly keeping a steady posture, lean forward and lift your ankle towards the sky.
  • Extend your free hand in front of you.
  • Take 5 deep and even breaths.

Caution 

Doing this pose quickly and at an early stage of yoga can be very harmful to your body. Do not attempt this without supervision. Do not do this if you have any injuries to the knees or ankles.




4. Virabhadrasana

Commonly referred to as “the warrior pose”, there are numerous variations to this exercise, all of which require focus and steady breathing. We are covering the basic warrior pose.

Virabhadrasana

How to Do It 


  1. While on two feet, spread your legs wide, turn your hips to one side, turn your ankles to the side you are facing.
  2. Bend the front leg to a 90-degree angle.
  3. Stretch your arms to your sides and breathe in deeply and evenly for 10 seconds.

Caution 

Make sure your ankles are always in line with your knee, breathe evenly and do not hold the pose for long periods if your body is shaking. Ensure you only do this pose under  the supervision of a professional.

5. Adho Mukha Vrksasana

This is not a pose for beginners, this asana is a basic handstand.

Adho Mukha Vrkasana

How to Do It 


  • While standing with your ankles flat on the ground, bend forward to place your palms to the ground. Ensure your back is straight as are your knees.
  • Begin to gently shift your weight onto your arms.
  • Slowly begin to lift one leg straight up above your hips.
  • Then brace your weight and do it for the second leg.

Caution 

Ensure your body remains straight throughout, keep your legs in line with your hips and ensure a professional is present with you. Do not try this alone.

6. Vajrasana

This is a meditative pose that is known to improve focus, calmness and digestion.

Vajrasana

How to Do It 


  • Slowly, begin by sitting on your knees, stretch your ankles outward, bring your thighs and calves together.
  • Then place your palms on your knees.
  • Breathe in and out deeply for 30 seconds to a minute.

Caution 

This is a fairly basic yoga pose, ensure you keep an eye on your knees and ankles, if they hurt, stretch them out. Do not do this pose for too long at one time as it can affect the blood circulation in your legs.

7. Padmasana

Another basic yoga pose, possibly the hardest one. This helps your digestion, spinal strength and improves calmness of the mind and also your mood. It helps keep your anxiety and depression at bay.

Padmasana

How to Do It 


  • While sitting cross-legged, gently lift one ankle above your opposite thigh.
  • Place it as close to the hip as possible, do the same with the other ankle.
  • Place your palms on your knees, keep your back straight.
  • Breathe evenly for 30 seconds.

Caution 

If you cannot complete the pose, try slowly and to the extent you can. Do not force this asana, it may harm your body physically.

8. Vriksasana

Commonly known as “the tree pose”, this asana is very basic and helps improve your sense of self and centres your body and mind.

Vrikasana

How to Do It 

  • While standing straight with ankles flat on the ground, lift one leg and place the ankle on the inner part of your opposite thigh.
  • This will bend your knee outward.
  • Balance and stretch your arms skyward and connect your palms.

Caution 

Ensure you keep your body straight and try balancing while breathing evenly.

9. Savasana

Known as “the dead body pose”, this asana is similar to lying down to take a nap. It is extremely easy to do.

Savasana

How to Do It 

  • Lay flat on the ground, stretch your legs out.
  • Stretch your arms beside you and let your palms face skyward.
  • Close your eyes, maintain even breathing while your focus wanders around you.
  • Listen to the sounds and continue breathing for 5 minutes.

Caution 

Ensure you are aware of your surroundings and keep your eyes closed. Do not fall asleep during this asana.

10. Chakrasana

Known as the circle pose, this is a bit of a tricky asana but it helps your calmness and focus.

Chakrasana

How to Do It 

  • While standing, place your arms high above your head.
  • Keeping your back straight, bend backwards.
  • Do this slowly and till your palms reach the floor behind you.
  • Keep your ankles firmly on the ground.

Caution 

Remember to do this with a professional present as it can be dangerous. Do not make rigid and fast movements and keep your breath on the same track as your body movements.

While yoga is a great way to help manage mental health, it shouldn’t be considered a solution for mental health issues. Use yoga as a supplement to therapy and if required, then medication is the best course of action. Consult your therapist for the best mental health treatment plan for you.

Also Read:

Best Yoga Asanas for Your Healthy Heart
How to Relax Yourself With Yoga Nidra
Effective Tips to Perform Yoga at Home