By: Lucy Flinn, Wellness and Communications Guru

The ancient practice of yoga can help cure the blues according to a recent, global study conducted by the University of South Australia. Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study shows practicing yoga may help reduce Coronavirus-induced depression along with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, alcohol dependence, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a multicomponent mind–body practice comprising physical postures, movement, breathing control and techniques, relaxation, mindfulness and meditation.

What are the new findings?

  • Mindfulness, meditation and exercise are all effective in reducing depressive symptoms.
  • Physically active yoga has a moderate positive effect on improving depressive symptoms in people with a range of mental disorders.
  • Session frequency per week significantly influences the magnitude of depressive symptom reduction.

Simply put, the more yoga you do, the better you will feel, both mentally and physically. Need beginner yoga coaching? Canyon Ranch and Boho Beautiful both offer free yoga instruction, starting with just a 10-minute time investment, at all levels. Here are three popular poses known as Sun Salutations to get you started:

Forward Fold

Stand with your hands on your hips. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips, lengthening your torso and reaching your hands toward your feet. With your knees straight, place your palms or fingertips on the floor to the sides of your feet. If you can’t reach, grasp opposite elbows so your forearms are crossed.. Bend a little further with each exhale and let your head hang naturally. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. When you’re ready, place your hands on your hips and hinge back up, keeping your torso lengthened and flat.

Cobra

Stand with your hands on your hips. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips, lengthening your torso and reaching your hands toward your feet. With your knees straight, place your palms or fingertips on the floor to the sides of your feet. If you can’t reach, grasp opposite elbows so your forearms are crossed.. Bend a little further with each exhale and let your head hang naturally. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. When you’re ready, place your hands on your hips and hinge back up, keeping your torso lengthened and flat.

Downward-Facing Dog

Stand with your hands on your hips. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips, lengthening your torso and reaching your hands toward your feet. With your knees straight, place your palms or fingertips on the floor to the sides of your feet. If you can’t reach, grasp opposite elbows so your forearms are crossed.. Bend a little further with each exhale and let your head hang naturally. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. When you’re ready, place your hands on your hips and hinge back up, keeping your torso lengthened and flat.

“Movement-based yoga improved symptoms of depression for people living with a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress and major depression. It’s very good news for people struggling in times of uncertainty,” stated Jacinta Brinsley, lead researcher and University of South Australia Ph.D. candidate.