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How Yoga Helps Fight the Fall Blues & Depression

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If your newsfeed – populated with posts about scarves, boots and pumpkin-flavored-everything – is any indication, summer is officially over. It’s that time of year to brace yourself for darker and chillier nights ahead, with less and less daylight to frolic in. It’s no surprise that the vitamin D we miss from the sunshine may bring on general moodiness, or a case of the fall blues. But did you know that yoga is a great way to battle not just feeling sad, but SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – as well?

What Is SAD?

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SAD, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a type of depression that relates to the changing of the season. It might happen at the same time every year where you just start to feel a little down, have lower energy levels, and look to warm comfort food to uplift your mood. In general, the weather causes you to not feel happy as you were during those fun, free-spirited summer months.

How Yoga Can Help

Here’s the good news: yoga can help soothe the bout of sadness you experience in the fall. How? By stretching and breathing through your flow of yoga poses, you increase circulation. Also, poses such like Happy Baby, Cat-Cow and Triangle (remember to do both sides!) can help stimulate your digestive system and even boost immunity. Remember that poses (asanas) are just one of the eight limbs of yoga you can practice. Meditation (dhyana) and breathing exercises (pranayama) are known to be helpful mood lifters.

Similarly, yoga can significantly fight depression because it also releases endorphins when you move your body through exercise. These feel-good chemicals trigger feelings of happiness, balance stress, reduce anxiety and help you focus.

You don’t have to do yoga for an hour long each time. In fact, you’ll feel immediately better after holding just two or three poses for just 20 seconds each. And if you keep up with your practice, the health benefits transcend into the long term. It can even help prevent surgeries having to do with wrist, shoulder and lower back pain. In this video, for example, former criminal defense lawyer Emily Sabo explains how yoga helped her avoid shoulder surgery from a tennis injury.

Join a Class or Try Yoga At Home

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A quick search on google will show where you can find yoga studios in your area. One yoga class does not fit all, so go to a few to try and find one that you like. Slow, restorative Yin could be your vibe, or maybe you’re looking for a physical challenge such as Power Yoga. Many gyms have regular yoga classes you can sign up for as well.

Ideally, yoga is meant to be practiced every day in some form on your own, but any amount of yoga is good for you, even if it’s just a couple times of week.  Even if you have never done yoga before it’s easy to start –Sun Salutations A & B are great ways to start your day or build into your flow at home and you can also find different yoga flows on our YouTube channel. Don’t be afraid to just jump into yoga and be open to the possibility for better health!

Tackle the Comfort Food

With summer behind you, it’s easy to fall into eating habits that don’t honor your health and body. Comfort foods can seem like a great indulgent, but they can wreak havoc on our bodies making us feel uncomfortably full and bloated. There are healthy alternatives, such as these delicious crock pot recipes to help fight inflammation. Or, if you do find yourself noshing on some heavy meals, get this free detox guide sent straight to your inbox with a grocery list to send you on your way to an equally delicious detox!

 

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