Yoga's Surprising Health Benefits
Anxiety and Depression
Yogic breathing techniques are powerful tools for alleviating serious anxiety and depression and neutralizing the negative effects of stress, says recent research in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. That's because yogic breathing can lower the heart rate and calm the nervous system, says Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, and one of the study's authors.Pose Rx: Headstand against the wall
Come onto your knees facing a wall, interlace your fingers, and place the knuckles against the base. Place your forearms on floor, elbows shoulder-width apart. Rest crown of head between wrists, tuck toes, and lift hips toward ceiling. Place one foot at a time against the wall and keep thighs together, breathing evenly. Hold for a few minutes, then draw knees toward chest and lower feet. Breathing deeply in this pose increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the pituitary gland, which can relieve mild depression.
Originally published in Fitness magazine, April 2006.
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