How I Beat Depression With Yoga

Cristina Pierce
How I Beat Depression With Yoga

Before I started practicing yoga, I went to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling well. I told him that I felt sick to my stomach most days, very nervous and sluggish. It was strange for me because so many wonderful, exciting things were happening in my life and I didn’t understand how I could wake up each day feeling worse than the last.

I had no idea I was going to be on my way to beat depression soon.

Suffering From Anxiety And Depression

After the doctor did a few tests, he told me that I was suffering from anxiety and depression. I laughed because I thought that he was joking.

I didn’t have anything to be depressed about; I was successful and accomplished and certainly wasn’t lying around in bed all day.

My doctor explained that when people have too much on their plate and overextend themselves, that stress affects their health. Even though I was happily married and blessed in so many ways, I was unknowingly pushing myself beyond my limits everyday. However, rather than a prescription for pills, my doctor recommended yoga. 

My Prescription: Yoga

He knew that I was committed to exercise already, but felt that the practice would encourage a sense of calm and Zen into my life.  A bit skeptical, but hopeful for relief, I started doing yoga the very next day and since then my life has changed in ways that I never imagined were possible. I beat depression, and here's how.

1. Morning Yoga: Energizing My Body and Relaxing My Mind

I decided to start my yoga practice at home in the morning with a beginner DVD and quickly realized how much it gave meaning to my day. Morning yoga focused on energizing my body and relaxing my mind through conscious breathing.

After 20 minutes that included some meditation, I felt rejuvenated and prepared for the day in a much more thoughtful, calming way.

2. Pranayama: Breathing Right

Through continued practice, I began to recognize the difference in how I approached tasks one thing at a time rather than always trying to do two things at once. Another realization was that my breathing had always been very shallow; which was one of the issues affecting my health.

Pranayama was teaching me how vital this self-discipline is to life. Proper breathing brings more oxygen to the blood and brain, and therefore, the mind is steady and still. When the two yogic principles of Pranayama and Asana are combined, the mind and body are purified to the highest level and I experienced that in a very big way.

3. Vinyasa Flow: Gaining Focus And Accepting Myself

After learning meditative yoga, I was ready to challenge myself with a more physically demanding practice. That was when I discovered Vinyasa flow, a type of yoga that is active and strengthening. 

Vinyasa helped me to develop self-acceptance, focus and overall gratitude at a level that I had never experienced before.  With less stress in my life and an overall feeling of happiness, I finally started to understand why the doctor had prescribed yoga.

Now that I consider myself a yogi with years of practice under my belt and a commitment to living a yoga lifestyle, I can’t imagine my life without it. Yoga is a continuous practice and is inspiring because there is always more room for growth.

When things get complicated or overwhelming, it’s a place that I can go to and breathe deeply, but also challenge myself while being reminded that I am powerful and everything in life is manageable.