When we practice poses and breathing exercises in a yoga class, we are taught that if we focus on the present moment, we will find joy. Who couldn't use a little more joy?
The therapeutic use of yoga in the treatment of common challenges like anxiety and depression is quickly gaining in popularity. Tools from the ancient tradition of yoga are increasingly used as an adjunct to other therapies, as research supports them as effective tools for mood management. Those with anxiety and depression have lost a connection to the present moment, and as a result have lost their sense of peace, joy and connection to others.
Yoga complements the goals of traditional forms of therapy for depression and anxiety through self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-efficacy and self-regulation. Through the development of these skills people learn to honor and embrace the body and mind in its current state, yet create space for future growth.
Body-based treatments like yoga are proving effective in relieving symptoms by resetting a nervous system gone haywire due to the stresses of modern life. If you or someone you love is dealing with anxiety, depression or chronic stress, try finding a registered yoga teacher and a trauma-sensitive yoga class to experience some of the joy that yoga can bring.
Heidi Dix is a YogaFit master trainer.