Scientific research shows that yoga as a means of therapy can be an effective treatment for depression, says a Tucson yoga therapist and yoga teazcher.
Amy Weintraub says she was able to stop taking medication for depression, replacing it with meditation and her yoga practice many years ago. Since then, she has spread the word by becoming a teacher and yoga therapist and writing extensively about the benefits.
"What yoga does is it actually begins to change the physiology," Weintraub says. "As you begin to deepen your breath, your posture changes. So for most people who have depression or mood disorders, they may have a physiological look of depression: Their shoulders are rounded, their humped over. There's not a lot happening in the solar plexus."
Deeper breathing stimulates the nerves and thus the brain.
"It deactivates the limbic brain," she says. "That's very important for those people who have a history of trauma."
She says that in her own case, she began feeling better through the deeper breathing that yoga and accompanying meditation brought to her, so that she was able to wean herself from her medication.
Weintraub then went into training psychotherapists to show them how to help their clients "to empower them to manage their moods."
Her book, "Yoga Skills for Therapists-- No Mat Required," was requested by a publisher recognizing that psychotherapists needed the physiological knowledge that yoga had brought to her to deal with her own depression.