A Letter to Those With Mental Health Struggles

(Picture: Lima, Peru by Kyla Alexandre)

Dear Friend,

Times are tough, I know. I know these times are especially hard on you. Being left alone with our thoughts with no set and stone routine is a recipe for disaster. There are a few things I want you to know:

Continue reading “A Letter to Those With Mental Health Struggles”

(Picture: Lima, Peru by Kyla Alexandre)

Dear Friend,

Times are tough, I know. I know these times are especially hard on you. Being left alone with our thoughts with no set and stone routine is a recipe for disaster. There are a few things I want you to know:

Continue reading “A Letter to Those With Mental Health Struggles”

Pranayama for anxiety and depression

*This is the last part of Rachel Stagnaro’s series. Don’t forget to follow her on Instagram! A huge shout out and thank you to her for spending time on writing these articles. I hope you enjoyed!*

As yogis have known for centuries the breath has amazing recuperative powers. By controlling the breath (a practice called Pranayama), the yogis found, they could alter their state of mind. Slowing and regularizing the breath engages what scientists call the parasympathetic nervous system, a complex biological mechanism that calms and soothes us.

How does slower breathing help? In stressful times, we typically breathe too rapidly. This leads to a buildup of oxygen in the bloodstream and a corresponding decrease in the relative amount of carbon dioxide, which in turn upsets the ideal acid-alkaline balance—the pH level—of the blood. This condition, known as respiratory alkalosis, can result in muscle twitching, nausea, irritability, lightheadedness, confusion, and anxiety.

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A Yoga Sequence to Combat Anxiety and Depression

*This is the third installment of Rachel Stagnaro’s series. Feel free to follow her company on Instagram. Stay vibing!”

This is a simple sequence made for a home practice that can be done any time of day. These poses specifically help to combat anxiety and depression and lift your spirits.

Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Easy pose is ideal for meditation and will help to calm your mind, ease stress, open your hips, and strengthen your back, helping you feel strong and capable.

Begin by sitting with your sit bones pressed firmly into the floor. Cross your legs and place your feet beneath your knees, keeping your torso erect, your neck aligned with your spine, and your shoulders relaxed. Rest your hands on your knees, palms facing down. Take 10 deep breaths, focusing intently on the sensation of each inhale and exhale.

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Yoga For Anxiety and Depression

This article is brought to you by Rachel Stagnaro who runs Zen Kids Yoga in Washington. Follow her on Instagram and view her website for more information. Keep an eye out for the other three articles in her series

Since the 1970s, meditation and other stress-reduction techniques have been studied as possible treatments for depression and anxiety. It’s only recent that yoga has been included in these studies, as an effective stress management technique. Recently Harvard Medicine did a study and found that yoga can help:

  • reduce the impact of stress
  • help with anxiety and depression
  • be a self-soothing technique similar to meditation, relaxation, and exercise
  • improve energy

Yoga is powerful in the treatment of depression because of three reasons: meditation, exercise, and breath.  Meditation helps bring a person into the present moment and allows them to clear their minds. Exercise releases endorphins (those happy hormones) and these controlled, focused movements also help strengthen the body-mind connection. And breathing exercises help to calm the mind and reverse your body’s stress response.

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