Yes, Yoga Can Help With Anxiety and Depression—Here's Exactly How

Claire Fountain—celebrity yoga teacher, personal trainer, and wellness expert—founded #TrillYoga with her unorthodox approach to break stigmas and stereotypes in the yoga and wellness space. After getting into yoga for depression and anxiety, she has always been a mental health advocate beyond all her fitness endeavors. She also has an ebook series called Built and Bendy that promotes strength training and flexibility, mindfulness, and leading your health goals from a positive place.

Easy Pose

Photo:

Claire Fountain

This is a time to begin to focus on your breathing, deep in and out of the nose, all the way to fill up your belly. Allow your ribs to go wide as you fill your body with air. Exhale fully.

Tip: Sit on a block or find a variation that allows you to relax here. Starting in an uncomfortable, tense position will not help you get into a peaceful meditative state for yoga. 

Mountain Pose

Stand upright with your palms open at your sides. This full-body pose grounds and stabilizes you. Feel free to close your eyes as you open your palms and keep your entire body strong. 

Tip: Slightly tuck your tailbone under as you keep your ribs down, shoulders back, neck long, and core right.

Child's Pose

Consider this a resting pose that is soothing and safe.

Tip: Bring your big-toe ball mounts together, knees wide, and press your hips back and over your heels. Extend your arms outward, or if you have tight shoulders, create a pillow with your crossed forearms.

Bridge Pose

Lying on your mat, bring your heels toward your hips, and press through your inner feet on an exhale, lifting your hips. Keep your thighs and feet parallel. Stay on the tops of your shoulders by clasping your hands under your pelvis (under your body). Roll your spine down gently to exit the pose. 

Warrior One

For strengthening and focus, this pose integrates the upper and lower body, and builds strength in the legs, knees, and ankles. 

Humble Warrior

Photo:

Claire Fountain

This pose stretches the hips deeply while opening the chest and shoulders, and requires focus. Interlace your fingers at your tailbone or behind your back in Warrior One. Lift your chest and widen your collarbones. Maintain your balance as you fold forward and allow your arms to come overhead, or lift as much as comfortably possible. Release your head and neck. Come out of this pose the same way you got into it with strength and balance.

Camel Pose

Photo:

Claire Fountain

This pose stretches the chest, abdomen, and shoulders—a heart opener. It's said to illuminate our insights.

Tip: Keep your toes tucked under and hands on your low back to modify, pushing your hips forward as you lift up, and then start to open your chest/heart. 

Hare/Rabbit Pose

Photo:

Claire Fountain

This pose is balancing and calming. It creates an opposite stretch for Camel through the upper back, shoulders, and neck. Keep your gaze inward as you're starting the pose, and grab your heels with your hands. Bring your forehead as close your knees as you're able to. Roll forward onto the crown of your head as your hips come off your heels. 

Supported Corpse Pose/Relaxation

This is a favorite for relaxation but one that can be modified. Feel free to support your body with blankets or props. You can also bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall to the sides in a reclined Cobbler's Pose (like a butterfly stretch).

Lie on your back, close your eyes, and move your attention back to your breath. Try to make your exhales twice as long as your inhales. Relax the muscles of your face and body, and allow yourself to “melt” into the floor that is supporting you. Stay here a few minutes.

Always remember to take Savasana. Final relaxation might be the highest form of practice and the most rewarding bit of meditation you give yourself.

Click here to see the best yoga poses to help soothe your cramps

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