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Yoga and Mental Health

Hi, my name is Liz and I work here at DERTY Yoga. I have complex PTSD and Clinical Depression. I've been on antidepressants for 20+ years. I share this with you in the hopes if you're reading this you will know you are NOT alone in fighting mental illness. I care about you. All of us at DERTY care. I want to share information that has helped me through the worst of times into the best of times. I'm new to yoga and want to encourage you to give it a try. It will help your mind, body and spirit. Below is some information I hope will help. Hugs and God Bless! Mental health problems such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia are among the most common reasons for individuals to seek treatment with complementary therapies such as yoga. Yoga encourages one to relax, slow the breath and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system and the flight-or-fight response to the parasympathetic system and the relaxation response. The latter is calming and restorative; it lowers breathing and heart rate, decreases blood pressure, lowers cortisol levels, and increases blood flow to the intestines and vital organs. Regular yoga has been shown to reduce physiological arousal in those with PTSD and C-PTSD, helping the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to adapt better to triggers and stimuli. Yoga helps minimize the risk of the body experiencing intrusive memories and other physical symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD. Hatha yoga is particularly effective at helping with heart rate variation (HRV), a measurement of the balance between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. Having a balanced HRV is vital to emotional self-regulation: it equips us with the ability to calm ourselves down. Usually those with PTSD and C-PTSD have low HRV; hatha yoga is noted for helping to stabilize HRV, as well as helping to reduce intrusive thoughts and anxiety, and is therefore a particularly beneficial yoga practice. Hatha Yoga is also particularly suitable for trauma survivors, thanks in part to the breath work and compassionate observation of the internal and physical experience. “Eventually, this skill translates into un-­attaching from intense emotional and physical waves of trauma symptoms so that you witness the experience rather than feel fear or shame. Both physical and emotional trauma can leave survivors so disconnected from their bodies that not feeling becomes normal. That’s why asana is so important: Moving through poses allows you to explore a pathway to connection that may have been disrupted and learn to both feel and trust physical sensations such as natural limits within a particular pose.” One of the main goals of yoga is to achieve tranquility of the mind and create a sense of well-being, feelings of relaxation, improved self-confidence, improved efficiency, increased attentiveness, lowered irritability, and an optimistic outlook on life. Yogic inhibits the areas responsible for fear, aggressiveness and rage, and stimulate the rewarding pleasure centers in the median forebrain and other areas leading to a state of bliss and pleasure. This inhibition results in lower anxiety, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and cardiac output. Consistent yoga practice improves depression and can lead to significant increases in serotonin levels coupled with decreases in the levels of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters and cortisol. A range of therapeutic approaches is available for the management of depressive disorders, but many patients turn to complementary therapies due to the adverse effects of medication, lack of response or simply preference for the complementary approach. Currently, treatment for anxiety and depression involves mostly psychological and pharmacological interventions; however, mind-body interventions are becoming increasingly popular as a means to reduce stress in individuals. Yoga, a form of mind-body exercise, has become an increasingly widespread therapy used to maintain wellness, and alleviate a range of health problems and ailments. Yoga should be considered as a complementary therapy or alternative method for medical therapy in the treatment of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders as it has been shown to create a greater sense of well-being, increase feelings of relaxation, improve self-confidence and body image, improve efficiency, better interpersonal relationships, increase attentiveness, lower irritability, and encourage an optimistic outlook on life. Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life. You deserve to be your best self.

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