Change your physiology to change your mood
It is a known fact that our mood affects our breathing rate, our speech, movements and posture.
The opposite is also true. Our posture, body language, breathing pattern, the words we say – affect our mood and our energy level.
For example, if you are in a depressed physiology (hunched back, head down, eyes cast down, hanging hands, slow movements), your nervous system gets a signal “I am depressed”, and follows it. Then it’s just a matter of time when being depressed becomes a habit for the body and the mind.
How can we change the ‘depressed unit of mind and body’? There are many approaches.
For example in our Theatre Therapy workshops we explore and learn how to heal the unity of our physical and psychic apparatus. The students experience a process of physical development that gives them a better awareness of their body and its mechanism. When our body feels alive, our emotions can freely manifest through it.
The striking example for me of the close connection between emotions and physical movement was the episode when our Theatre Therapy trainer asked the participants to experience and to portray joyful emotions. We could not do it – we were just straining ourselves. Then the trainer asked us to imagine that we were children and we were jumping on a trampoline. And the magic happened easily, effortlessly – instantly there was a sincere feeling of happiness born out of that simple movement.
Energy Psychotherapy is also very effective for helping people to recover from depression. Cleansing of the energy body helps to eliminate ‘stuck’ negative thought-forms and emotions. It results in uplifted mood, a feeling of lightness, clearer mind, more positive outlook, a desire to positively approach and resolve life situations.
The results are even better if the person joyfully and creatively incorporates physical exercises into their daily routine. A forty minutes exercise session acts as a powerful antidepressant.
What about a posture change? It’s the fastest thing you can do. Changing your posture changes your appearance, your body language and the way people perceive you!
The good old yoga asanas will help you to improve your hunched back and shoulders in just few sessions.
I would recommend the following 3 asanas in the specific sequence I learned from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre many years ago (and still follow it). (By the way, these back bending asanas are also good for reducing abdominal fat!)
- Cobra (Bhujangasana)
- Bow (Dhanurasana)
- Locust (Shalabhasana)
Perform each asana 5-10 times in a slow motion, holding it for 10 counts.
Finish with a counter pose - Shashank asana. Breathe deeply and relax your spine.
Remember, it’s easy to help yourself, you just need the desire to make changes. Start with the small, easy steps: if you stand upright, head erect, smile and breathe deeply, it is impossible to 'feel' depressed.
(Yulia Pal, August 2010)
Yoga images are taken from www.sivananda.org: