Tip Tuesday: 3 Poses for Depression

Tip Tuesday is a weekly feature where I offer a few yoga tips that have worked for me in the hopes that they can help you too.

As I’ve shared, yoga has some terrific poses to counteract anxiety, but it can also help when you are experiencing the flip side of the anxiety coin: depression. Here’s 3 poses for when you’re feeling the blahs:

1) Sun Salutations: Ana Forrest calls sun salutes, “Yoga Prozac.” Sometimes you just need to move your body with the breath to move energy to lift you out of the hole. For added uplift, put on some fun, upbeat music as you flow.

There are a number of variations on sun salutations. Any version you like will work or you can follow the version in this video. The most important part is moving with your breath through each pose in the series.


Image credit: Yoga Journal

2) Elbow to Knee: Abs are a fantastic way to access your power and your juice for life that gets buried in depression.

To get there:

1) Lie on back with bent knees up, feet slightly lower than height of knees, toes active, hands clasped behind head
2) Inhale into lower back, hold the breath and curl tailbone up
3) Exhale and reach both elbows towards left thigh, reach through straight right leg, pull belly down.

Once you’re there:

1) Relax neck into the hands
2) Keep knee over the hip, not rocking forward
3) Stay up and off of shoulder blades

Image credit: Forrest Yoga

3) Dolphin: Go upside down! Going upside down quite literally turns everything upside down. The physical shift naturally shifts your perspective and bring you some uplift (er, upside down lift?) If you have a practice of handstand, this is another outstanding pose for depression (just make sure you do a pose like dolphin or another shoulder-opener before popping up to handstand).

To get there:

1) Bring hands to upper arm to measure elbow distance. Align second finger with elbow or clasp hands out in front of you

2) Wrap shoulder blades in towards armpits, flexing chest muscles

3) Exhale, curl toes and lift hips up into dolphin

While you’re there:

1) Lift up and out of shoulders

2) Reach up through hips and reach heels down towards mat to fire up legs

3) Keep neck relaxed

What poses are helpful to you when you’re feeling low?

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