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Depression is a mental health condition that plagues millions across the world. This complex disorder manifests in various forms affecting our concentration, memory, motivation, sleep, and even body weight. It also interferes with the various functions of our body including immunity and digestion. Though a complete understanding of this state of mind hasn't been understood yet, there are countless studies that have convincingly proved that one of the best ways to tackle depression is through yoga.
According to a recent research that appeared in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, twice-weekly yoga classes, accompanied by home practice reduce the symptoms of depression significantly. This study used Iyengar Yoga that emphasises detail, precision, postural alignment and breath control. It had two groups of participants a high dose group who did three 90-minute sessions of yoga every week and a low-dose group who took two 90-minute sessions a week. Both the groups practised at home also. The symptoms were suppressed notably in both the cases.
Over the past decade, there has been a rapid growth in the field of study that investigates the role of yoga in the treatment of depression and most of the results so far have been positive. Well, it's time to shift our attention from theory to practice. Dirga Pranayama (Three-Part Breath) is known to be one of the most comforting and relaxing breathing exercises. Here is a step-by-step guide for you.
Dirga Pranayama Part I
Step 1: Lie straight in supine posture with your eyes closed and body relaxed. You can also have your knees bent. If you bend your knees, let them rest against each other.
Step 2: Focus on your breath and begin to inhale and exhale deeply through the nostrils.
Step 3: As you breathe in, expand the belly with air, just like a balloon.
Step 4: While exhaling, make sure that your belly is free from all the air. Drawing your navel back towards your spine will help.
Step 5: Repeat this for about five breaths.
Dirga Pranayama Part II
Step 1: Fill the belly up with air again like you did before. When your tummy is full, take in a little more air so that it reaches the rib cage causing the ribs to widen.
Step 2: Now you need to breathe out, taking the air away first from the rib cage and then from the belly.
Step 3: Repeat this for about five breaths.
Dirga Pranayama Part III
Step 1: Inhale again and fill your belly and rib cage with air as described above. Now, draw in more air filling your upper chest, all the way up to the collarbone, to have the area around the heart expand and rise.
Step 2: Breath out, allowing the breath to go first from the upper chest, then from the rib cage followed by the belly.
Step 3: Continue for about 10 breaths.
Image Source: Shutterstock
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