Yoga as a tool to Manage Anxiety and Depression
The Research behind Yoga and the Reduction of Depressive Symptoms
Many people know that Yoga can help them feel better in their body, but not everyone thinks about yoga as a tool to manage anxiety and depression. Roughly 18% of the population in the US suffers from anxiety and over 17 million people have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Since these numbers are on the rise, it's very likely that you, or someone close to you, will face the symptoms of Anxiety or Depression at some point in life.
The good news is that there has been more research showing how a consistent yoga practice can help to decrease stress hormones and increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that stimulates the formation of new brain cells, increases brain plasticity, suppresses inflammation, and acts as a natural antidepressant.
Heart Rate Variability, (HRV) a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat, can be used to predict a person's ability to adapt to stress. Research shows a relationship between Low Heart Rate Variability and worsening depression or anxiety. A low HRV is even associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease. While studies on HRV are new, there has been promising results that only after 12 weeks of a yoga practice improved HRV, reduced depressive symptoms and perceived stress.
In today's society of rooms full of eyes glued to smartphones and nights in, binging on Netflix, it's no wonder that many people feel lonely and unconnected. Yoga classes provide a place for people to come together to form social support networks. According to Stephen Porges, The author of "The Polyvagal Theory" the neural pathways of social support and social behavior are shared with the neural pathways that support health, growth and restoration.
In order to find a class that would best suit you if you are dealing with anxiety and depression please contact me.