I had developed depression and anxiety from the considerable life changes that occurred within a short period of time. Within a 2 month span I finished school, started my first job in my new career as an optometrist, got married, and moved away from my hometown Houston, Texas to Kansas City. I missed my family, friends, and the familiarity of my past life in Houston. The depression developed into anxiety that made me question my marriage and the choice I made to move to Kansas City for my new husband. The depression and anxiety naturally made my behavior teeter between being angry and sad that affected my daily activities. I wanted to stop having these destructive feelings and this is how I found yoga.
I had heard that yoga was good for relaxation and hoped it might help improve my outlook. Within a few short months of practicing ashtanga my feelings of depression and anxiety started to diminish. I currently practice ashtanga about 3 days a week and look forward to this time for myself. The focus on controlled breathing gradually abolishes all the insignificant and trivial thoughts that I accumulate between practices. I find that my brain feels most calm and clear when I am in poses that are inverted such as Sirsasana (head-standing). My practice has allowed me to be more accepting and more patient in all situations.
Below are some further salient unexpected benefits that my ashtanga practice has given me with short explanations:
For about 2 years before I found ashtanga I had chronic ankle pain from long years of ballet practice. My podiatrist told me to stop ballet and that I shouldn’t be dancing so much because it was only an avocation, not my occupation. Of course I choose to ignore him and I still continued dancing. About after a year and a hallf of practicing ashtanga I noticed a marked decrease in the amount of ankle pain I was experiencing even though I was still dancing. Now I pretty much have no ankle pain and attribute this freedom to my yoga practice.
My husband now practices ashtanga and we have both noticed changes in his ability to cope with anger and frustration in his daily life. In addition, we have found ourselves eating less meat since we have been practicing yoga. We are now mostly vegetarian and our cravings for junk food has also dramatically decreased.
Yoga has given me so much in so little time and I am very thankful I found yoga. I believe everyone can receive benefits from this practice.
This is a post by Melanie Frogozo. It has been reposted with permission. You can find the original here.
Related: Yoga And Depression