How Yoga Combats Stress and Depression

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Todays post is a guest post by Meera Watts:

A major cause of memory loss comes from constant stress and depression. Stress, anxiety and depression have been shown to cause cognitive problems. Too much stress in the body sends messages to your mind and causes the brain chemistry to change. This causes forgetfulness, problems with concentration, and confusion.
Exercise stimulates new brains cells which means you can counteract the damage done in the past. Neuroscience studies have found that you can create a new brain essentially. The brain regenerates itself by how you use it. It’s not known why yoga is so effective but neuroscientists have found that exercise, posture, focused breathing, and meditation are all very beneficial for the brain. This includes the prevention or improvement of memory loss.

The Meditation Aspect of Yoga

Science believes that meditation can benefit cognitive effects, especially for those with aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Meditation has proven to greatly impact human health in many different ways. It offsets depression and anxiety disorders along with staving off addiction.
Yoga incorporates meditation before, during, and after the practice. Yoga affects the mind, body, and, spirit with every pose. There is enough happening within your practice that the mind doesn’t have time to cause you duress. You come down to a more relaxed state and by the end of it, you’re ready to just be in the moment without thought.

Harvard Studies have found the link between meditation and reducing symptoms of clinical mood disorders, including anxiety and stress.

A 12 Minute Kundalini Practice Daily for Improved Memory

For yoga to truly work in improving your brain activity, thereby your memory is to keep brain cells alive and active. This means it’s time to get rid of stress from your life for good. This is where yoga really shines. It engages your mind, forces you to focus on posture and movement and brings your spirit to life.
In a controlled study, neuroscientists took people with memory loss and prescribed 12 minutes of kirtankriya daily. Kirtankriya is a technique used in kundalini yoga. It brings together meditation, mudra, chanting and mantra. At eight weeks, brain scans showed an improvement to the frontal lobe of the brain after the meditation. The frontal lobe is responsible for focus, concentration, and attention.

Cortisol Negatively Affecting Memory

Cortisol is one of the key reasons that we experience brain aging. Cortisol can damage brain cells that are responsible for aging. We naturally have cortisol in the body and need it to live. It’s when we have too much cortisol that it damages cognitive memory.
Stress is what causes cortisol levels to rise and cause problems with your memory. When you’re stressed out, your body secretes stress hormones into the bloodstream. This causes changes in parts of the brain which can cause long-term damage. This includes the impairment of your memory.
The Indian Journal of Psychiatry conducted a controlled study to determine if yoga could reduce cortisol levels in the body. Yoga has shown to reduce the components of stress which includes cortisol levels.
The study was based on a group taking depressants and a group doing yoga. More patients in the yoga group had a drop in cortisol levels when compared to the drug-only group. In the yoga-only group, cortisol dropped with the drop in HDRS score. This is the gauge of the antidepressant effect. So not only did cortisol drop but it caused someone with depression to improve.

Daily Yoga Practice Can Improve Brain Activity

A yoga instructor understands how important it is to do yoga every day. Daily yoga helps you create the building block for all aspects of yourself. In order to experience the benefits, you need to move your body, engage your mind, and manage stress consistently. Yoga doesn’t have to be hard on the body and you can do basic poses. This makes it possible to do yoga every day.
With busy lives, stress is always sitting around the corner. Yoga is such a powerful way to fight stress and depression so maintaining a daily activity will ensure cortisol levels don’t get too high. The relaxation of yoga and the practice of having your brain focus on the moment improve your mind and memory. You really only need to do 10 minutes of yoga per day to gain the benefits. Fighting off stress a little bit every day is the best medicine.
A study shows that just one session of relaxation-response practice could enhance how the body works internally. This includes metabolism, insulin secretion and reduction of response and stress. This was true of people who had never tried yoga in their lives. Once you feel that sense of relaxation, you begin to believe that it’s possible. When it comes to anxiety and depression, sometimes you just need a break from the incessant feelings that come with it. This makes way for change which can promote a healthier mind.
These 3 poses are a good start, they put pressure on areas of the body to reduce stress and move the blood around, promoting relaxation:

  • Child’s pose
  • Butterfly pose
  • Supported bridge pose


Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimesand others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga.

You can follow Meera on the links below:


2 thoughts on “How Yoga Combats Stress and Depression

  1. Yoga isn’t for everyone, but it really helps me. It gives me routine and something to look forward to. The child’s pose is one of the most relaxing yoga positions for me. Great post, tysm for sharing! 🧡


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