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Flag Truth27 December 16, 2007 1:30 PM EST

Are their any yoga practitioners out there with bipolar, depression or any other type of mental health issue who can testify to the benefits of yoga along these lines?  Which poses do you find help more?

Flag banditt56 January 19, 2008 9:37 AM EST
Truth- I was just browsing around and saw your post.  I can definitely testify to the benefits of yoga and depression.  I suffer from anorexia and in the past, depression.  I have done yoga for a year and a half with grest benefits from it.  I no longer suffer from the depression.  I went through intense therapy at an eating disorder clinic for 10 months.  At this clinic we had a variety of therapies and one of them was yoga.   I swear by the benefits of yoga!!!   I am no longer at the clinic but I continue to practice yoga faithfully and it helps keep me in balance with my mind, body and spirit.  If I miss a day or two, I feel the lack of balance.  Please give it a try.  I cannot  suggest any particular poses but just the simple act of doing it, anything was what helped.  Keeping the body moving in a very mindful way has a wealth of benefits!!   Contact me, if you would like.
Flag Adelphe January 19, 2008 9:50 AM EST
I was just browsing around beliefnet, too, and saw this post.

I am starting classes in power yoga on Tuesday, I guess also called "Ashtanga" yoga.

From the net

"Ashtanga yoga, Power Yoga or Ashtanga vinyasa yoga

Power or Ashtanga yoga is a "sweaty, aerobic form of yoga" taught by Mysore master K. Pattabhi Jois. It is often touted as "a workout that can change your life if you can survive it." It is often characterized as a yoga with a boot camp flavor.

For centuries, the term ashtanga yoga has been used to refer to the eight-fold system of practice prescribed by the sage Patanjali. K. Pattabhi Jois’ version of ashtanga yoga emphasizes a vigorous approach to the asana (posture) and pranayama (breath control) components of classical ashtanga. To avoid the confusion with traditional ashtanga yoga, some people refer Jois’s system as Ashtanga vinyasa yoga or as power yoga."

What attracts me is not the mental health aspect but more the "boot camp" aspect that I understand it to be. My sister owns a yoga studio and swears by it.  Her husband, a marathon runner, can't keep up.

I will post and let you know if I discern also any mental health benefits!
Flag tomagni July 26, 2008 6:52 AM EDT
Hey there..

Everyone should care about their mental health.
There is lot of treatments available for maintaining physical Health but 'refreshing our mind' is the only remedy for mental health....!

Yoga is one of the best ways to refresh our mind.
There are lot of Yoga methods are available.
You may select simple and best for you.

If anyone know about new Yoga methods then simply post here.


Addiction Recovery Wisconsin
Flag Kindred322 July 31, 2008 8:46 AM EDT

Are their any yoga practitioners out there with bipolar, depression or any other type of mental health issue who can testify to the benefits of yoga along these lines?  Which poses do you find help more?


Hi Truth,

I am a practioner of yoga, a psychotherapist, and a sufferer from depression. I must say that yoga, breathing, and meditation have a wonderful affect on your mental health. I try to encourage it in my practice, too. The body retains stress, negative emotions/expereinces, and through yoga those unconscious stresses can be released. I ask my clients to focus on what comes to their mind while in a deep stretch. Lots of times repressed feelings and memories surge into consciousness. IN a meditative way, I ask them to acknowledge, feel, and let it pass. In such a way, those experiences are processed in a more positive way...allows for therapy to take a more natural course. It is wonderful to use!! I encourage it to and out of therapy....with or with out mental/emotional struggles.
Flag fondofyoga August 14, 2008 12:53 AM EDT
Hey Truth,

I’ve been practicing yoga for more than five years now and like you I had been affected by depression. The main reason for me to practice yoga was to overcome depression. My experience says that regular yoga practice and meditation will help you conquer depression to certain extend.

I’ll suggest you to learn basic techniques of breathing for your mental health. Include set of yoga poses (also called asanas), breathing exercises (known as pranayama), and meditation (termed dhyana). Start Yoga therapy, beginning with as little as 3 – 4 poses a day for just a few minutes, together with right breathing.

But, Yoga alone cannot to be used as the only remedy for mental disorders. All Yoga practices must be accompanied by proper psychiatric treatment and counseling.

Keep me updated!!!

For additional reference on yoga and depression, visit

Flag Maya3 June 14, 2009 9:38 AM EDT


I'm sorry that your husband is not respecting your marriage.

But why are you generalizing and draw the conclusion that all husbands should stay away from yoga teachers?


Flag puzzleman June 14, 2009 6:03 PM EDT

I don't go to classes my wife and daughter do but they bring home books that I have read and there are excercises  that I have learned that actually help.  

Flag Maya3 June 14, 2009 7:12 PM EDT

Jun 14, 2009 -- 5:08PM, Wendyness wrote:

Not all husbands should stay away from Yoga, but it is a breeding ground for temptation. If you don't think that even good husbands can't be tempted then you live in another world.  Most of the people who practice Yoga are women so your husband will be surrounded in a room filled with women in tight clothing in close quarters.  And if you think for one moment men aren't looking then you again live on another planet.   Furthermore,  there are many yoga teachers that do not honor marriages.  I personally know three couples that have had failed marriages due to spouses getting involved with Yoga teachers.  As you know there is a transference that goes on between teachers and students.  It is up to the teachers not to take advantage of a students vulnerability.  Do teachers take seriously the Yamas and Niyamas?  Believe me there are a lot of bad Yoga teachers out there as I'm sure there are good ones.  Honestly, anyone can become a Yoga teacher and most are asked to honor what Yoga Alliance has to say about teachers getting involved with their students especially married ones.  There are many spiritual vampires who guise themselves in tight clothing and spiritual awareness.  

Living on another planet? No need to be rude here you know.

I have practiced Hatha yoga for many years, and I trust my husband to go to Yoga classes as well, just as I trust him to go to the store, walk down the street etc.

There are plenty of women with tight clothing everywhere. Why do you think that I don't know that my husband is looking? Dont YOU look at men?

Yoga classes are NOT a breeding ground for temptation, adult men and women should be able to handle themselves in a crowded room where some women and men wear scampy clothing.

If your husband has issues with doing more than looking, then it is your husband that is responsible.

If a yoga teacher is acting inappropiateley then it is THAT yoga teacher that is not responsible. 

So ladies let me assure you DO NOT trust your husbands to yoga teachers, even more so if they are depressed!!!!!

To generalize and warn women about yoga teachers is silly. There are bad  and good people everywhere, please do not stereotype.




Flag puzzleman June 15, 2009 8:01 PM EDT

50 to 70 percent of marriages failed due to infidelity? Not inside a yoga studio, look most guys wouldn,t be caught dead in a yoga studio and if they were they would never hear the end of it. Hey if your worried you teach your husband yoga in a tight suit and see where it goes.Innocent

Flag puzzleman June 15, 2009 9:06 PM EDT

Wendyness I agree with you. I like some of the excercises but I have to watch the artifical hip that I have. Everyone has a right to their opinion.

Flag Maya3 June 15, 2009 9:53 PM EDT

Yes, you are right most aware women wouldn't let their men into a yoga studio with a bunch of women

You seem to have issues with jealousy and trust, which is understandable because of what you went trough. I'm so sorry that you had to deal with this.

But I think that you are insulting to both men and women and yoga teachers with your blanket statements.

Men are not some kind of uncontrollable creatures who cannot be "let loose" among certain groups of people.

Women who are aware try to find a husband who is able to handle temptation and should not have to think about where she "lets" her man go. In an equal relationship there is no such thing as "letting" your spouse do this or that, a  relationship is based on love and trust.

I understand that you trusted your husband when you got married and I realize that men and women DO make mistakes unfortunately, but that does NOT mean that you have the right to stereotype and make blanket statements about yoga being a "breeding ground for temptation" and telling women that they shouldn't "let" their husbands practise it.

I suggest that you find a thread that deals with infidelity and marital problems to get some help. You might want to look through the forum, there are forums that deals with marriage and relationships.


Flag Shamanmystic August 27, 2009 9:45 AM EDT
Flag Lex87 September 23, 2009 2:01 PM EDT

Most of what I've read states that yoga can definitely help with depression and anxiety. It may not help with actual weight loss as much but it is so fantastic for your body. (maybe try hot yoga if your interested more in weight loss) You've got nothing to loose by trying it!!

Wendyness, I too am sorry you are having a hard time.  It is not so much they are bad yoga instructors but maybe just bad people. I think warning someone off yoga because you've had a bad experience is not really fair. I  know men, women and couples that take yoga with out any  problems.  When a person in a comitted relationship strays, it's normally due to the relationship itself not the outside influence. Even someone with depression knows the difference between right and wrong.



I just got back retreat mexico


Flag Wendyness September 26, 2009 1:42 PM EDT

This perfectly explains the problem I have experienced with a yoga teacher that is a spiritual vampire.


Flag AnonymousCatholic October 4, 2009 5:02 PM EDT

Currently, I am taking a yoga class at a community college I am a student at.

The class is: "Yoga for Beginners", where everyone learns such poses like Downward Dog, Bridge Pose, Wind Reliever, Chair Pose, Superman Flying, etc.

It's a fun 80-minute class and the professor is very nice.

Yoga has helped me mellow out and focus more on my studies.

A question: Why do certain religions frown upon relaxation techinques such as yoga?


Flag Intotheblue December 22, 2009 12:16 PM EST

AnonymousCat, I think it's because hardcore Christians are afraid of any kind of spirituality other than their own. When I was a kid and took karate for a short time, the instructor reassured me and my mom that it wouldn't make us any less Christian and all this kind of thing... We were like umm why would we think that?? He said some people do get very nervous about that sort of thing.

They think meditation is too much like prayer, except the Christian God isn't involved in it, and therefore it's worshiping something else, and therefore it's evil. It's sad because they lose out on some wonderful things by holding onto such mentalities.

Anyway to the original post - yes I have experience with that. I have depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. The latter has a treatment called DBT (which stands for Dilectical Behavioral Therapy), which has a lot of Eastern influence. One of its core teachings is 'mindfulness'. They start each class with a mindfulness breathing exercise. Sometimes you just count your breaths one to ten, over and over. Sometimes you do healing or calming visualizations. Sometimes you pay attention to all sounds you hear, and practice just acknowledging them without having an emotional reaction to them. When you do these exercises, you're supposed to breathe the same way you do in yoga. It brings more oxygen, helps you think more clearly, calms your emotions, and helps you to focus on one thing at a time (which is what 'mindfulness' means - thinking about only what you are doing in that moment, without being distracted by other things). They start the class with a few minutes of this, and then we are able to have a more productive class. But they also encourage us to do that on our own.

There are also other Eastern Thought aspects to the class, but they are less related to yoga, so I won't list them here (though I have a group about BPD if anyone is interested in learning more). When I was in karate, my grades in school improved, and my relationship with my mother improved, because I was able to remain calm and focused much better. Focus is required for the katas. You can't be thinking about twenty different things, if you want to do the kata correctly. So when you're taking a math test, you know how to focus on just that, and not worrying about what your friends are doing after school, or whatever. The same thing applies to adults - when you're at work, you're able to focus on the task at hand, and be more efficient and clear, and not get so stressed out. And with relationships, you're able to communicate better and stay 'in the moment' instead of bringing up past arguments and getting overwhelmed. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool.

Yoga emphasizes balance and equilibrium. There is no tension or pain or forcefulness. This is particularly important to people who have depression or other mental or emotional disorders. We tend to label all 'negative' feelings as undesirable, shameful, and so on. But we can't be -happy- all the time either. Sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are sad, sometimes we just 'are', right in the middle. Accepting this balance makes it easier to stop struggling and hating our emotions, and realize that they all have a purpose and we can work with them instead of fighting them.

Also yoga teaches you how to pay attention to yourself in a way we're not used to doing, in Western society. We're often taught that we have no control over many things about ourself (like physical or emotional pain). But when we do yoga, we find that we can work with our bodies to change how we feel. It is empowering and can give a person new hope. It gives them the ability to reduce their own suffering, instead of making them feel dependent on doctors or pills. I'm not saying Western medicine is 'bad', please don't get me wrong. But there are other methods out there as well, which can be used in combination with Western therapies. I know for a lot of people who have depression, it doesn't feel very good to go into a 'clinic' every week or month or whatever, and be looked down on, and prescribed pills, and given labels with negative stigma. But when you do yoga, and think of your body and mind and spirit as all one whole, and see that you can be part of your own healing, it is very encouraging. There is no 'judgment' in yoga. There is not a sense of "this is wrong, we can't accept it, we must suppress or 'fix' it," which is how we often think about emotional disorders. Instead, we just acknowledge what is, and then our entire Being works as One to make each 'part' whole. I'm not explaining it very well, but it's just a different approach.

One other important thing is that yoga teaches holistic healing. In Western society, we have a stigma about mental illness because we don't understand that it's all connected. We think only physical ailments are 'real', and if a person is depressed, they're just 'weak' or 'lazy'. These judgments are a hinderence to healing. But with yoga, we acknowledge and validate the whole Being, and see that healing is important to all aspects of a person. It doesn't matter whether your leg was broken or you are 'depressed' - one isn't more valid than the other. Thinking of it that way makes it much easier to make progress with healing.

This is just my experience, first-hand and from talking with a few people. I'm sure not everyone will see things the same way, and I hope I haven't offended anyone.

Flag Mike_thomas08 June 1, 2010 4:08 AM EDT

Yoga as general can be a good source of relaxation and wellness. It train us to relax our mind of any anxieties and our body of any stress. But to say that it can help/aid depression, bipolar or any type of mental health may not be 100% reliable.

It's still best to consult a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. With the right information from the doctor and yoga on the side, progress, balance and wellness is just a hand's reach away.

Flag Vegasinclair June 8, 2010 3:08 PM EDT

I practice yoga on a weekly basis and can say that it has helped me deal with stress in a more healthy way. I also have mild depression and while I do take medicine I think any physcial activity is good for one's mood. I think yoga is not only good physically like other exercises but is even more good for one's mental health than most other exercises. -Vega Sinclair, Health Insurance Advisor

Flag Marina_J July 15, 2010 2:47 AM EDT

Psychologists recognize that moderate exercise is good for depression and anxiety. Yoga practice provides one with such exercise. Yoga postures are developed to promote physical strength, flexibility and balance.

Flag Marina_J October 28, 2010 4:26 AM EDT

Just as yoga can help us increase our physical health and fitness, practicing of yoga has also been found to beneficial to our mental health. Yoga can help reduce stress, improve concentration alleviate mood swings. It brings awareness and the ability to be 'still'. Practicing pranayama helps bring mental clarity and calm. yoga workout can lower stress, improve health, increase mental wellness, give one a more flexible & healthy body.  It improves memory and concentration power.

Flag Shamanmystic October 30, 2010 10:35 PM EDT

I reiterate Yoga = Joining of mind , body and everything else.....

Mind and body and all things, real or imagined, are but one thing.

Eivor Palsdottir



Flag Shamanmystic October 30, 2010 10:58 PM EDT

Nothing more need b said

Flag Favir March 8, 2011 3:45 PM EST

Dec 16, 2007 -- 1:30PM, Truth27 wrote:

Greetings,  Are their any yoga practitioners out there with bipolar, depression or any other type of mental health issue who can testify to the benefits of yoga along these lines?  Which poses do you find help more?  Thanks.

I can atest to the benefit of Yoga on mental issues. I used to have major anger issues. Then I saw the namaste yogo on TV so I gave it a try. I got hooked and haven't snapped on anyone since.

Flag Tofutie July 31, 2011 9:27 PM EDT

Dec 16, 2007 -- 1:30PM, Truth27 wrote:


Are their any yoga practitioners out there with bipolar, depression or any other type of mental health issue who can testify to the benefits of yoga along these lines?  Which poses do you find help more?


Hi!  I'm new here, and am so glad I came across this post, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder ten years ago, and it is truly Yoga that has set me free of the label I was given.  I believe my disorder was caused by living in an unbalanced way.  It's sort of ironic, because bipoloar disorder is simply unbalanced energy within the brain, causing emotional issues.

When I took up Yoga, my life changed, I was able to stop the medications that were causing me much misery in my life, including weight gain, and blocked emotions!  I cannot stress the importance of keeping your practice alive when you suffer with bipolar disorder especially.  I think it's truly the best thing you can do for yourself!



Flag Tofutie July 31, 2011 9:28 PM EDT

Oops, I see you were also asking which poses help best, tree pose is good if you are a beginner, shoulder stand too, any backbending sequence opens the heart too, really try to get a very well balanced practice with every element included.  I do Vinyasa flow Yoga and have found Shiva Rea to be the best teacher for me, as she is soothing and gentle and never forces or pushes things. 

Best wishes!

Flag joanlynch21 September 10, 2012 1:29 AM EDT

Your mental health runs in tandem with your physical activities. Clearing your mind of all the external and eternal irritants as and pushing towards executing the yoga positions would help improve your outlook in life.

Flag David222 October 2, 2012 6:19 AM EDT

Yoga is a mixed exercise that is effective for both our physcial as well as mental health. The mind perceptions involved in yoga make it the most effective exercise. Yoga reduces the risk of many mental issues like, depression, stress, anxiety and grief.

Cary Health Club
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