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yoga and depression

5 Ways Yoga Helps with Depression

“Have you tried doing yoga?” is becoming a popular question for people who have reported a wide range of mental health struggles. Yoga is an ancient practice that can help your child achieve a higher sense of self-awareness and compassion by changing their outlook on their relationships and daily lives.  While yoga may not be a “cure” for depression or addiction, practicing yoga can lead to significant shifts in a struggling teen’s perspective that can help them start to heal from their experiences.

At Red Mountain Colorado, yoga is not just a form of physical activity; it is used as a tool to help in the recovery process. Two mornings a week, students have the chance to participate in yoga therapy before their school day starts, which helps them ground and go into the classroom feeling more focused. The movement of yoga allows students bring awareness to their bodies and set positive intentions within themselves, preparing them to make lasting changes in their lives. 

The Benefits of Yoga for Teens with Depression:

  1. Putting the body in motion. Studies show that just getting the body moving is extremely helpful with depression and addiction recovery. We believe that the physical practice of yoga is powerful in waking up the body’s energy and that the goal of movement is finding flow, rather than to get a good workout. Mindfulness during yoga practice encourages another dimension of self-acceptance that is often missing from other types of exercise.
  2. Connecting mind to body. It is common for teens struggling with depression to feel disconnected from themselves, especially if they have tried to numb their emotions with maladaptive coping behaviors. Through practices, like yoga, teens can retrain their brains to communicate with the rest of their body, which helps them get in touch with the physical sensations that inform their decisions.
  3. Encouraging tolerance. Many people describe yoga as a practice of “sitting with” one’s experience rather than trying to change it. This might look like holding a pose rather than scratching every itch or noticing negative thoughts without internalizing them as true. This can help teens become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without feeling guilty for having them. For example, an unhelpful thought or an urge that passes through the mind can be noticed as something merely passing through.
  4. Helping to regulate emotions. A common reason that teens turn to negative coping behaviors is that they are trying to cope with anxiety or depression. Similar to other physical activity and mindfulness, yoga releases feel-good chemicals in the brain and can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. By helping teens be in the present moment and establish a focused state of mind, yoga helps them to process their feelings and emotions more productively. It is an excellent tool for self-soothing, especially as many breathing practices have a direct effect on calming the body’s nervous system.
  5. Increasing Self-Esteem. Teens struggling with dual diagnosis disorders typically suffer from a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. As your teen practices yoga, they’ll grow stronger, more flexible and more disciplined. Experiencing these improvements can help increase your teen’s self-esteem and self-worth.

Red Mountain Colorado Can Help 

Red Mountain Colorado is an adolescent residential treatment program aimed to aid teens aged 14-17; with an emphasis on healing depression and trauma. The program focuses on creating a positive change in the lives of students through a mindfulness-based approach. Various types of therapy and activities are taught and used to build healthy coping techniques. Students leave Red Mountain Colorado feeling empowered and in control of their lives and how to live healthily.

For more information about yoga at Red Mountain Colorado,  call 877-302-5022.