Many people we know report that beginning yoga and doing it consistently has been associated with periods of remarkable stability, energy and effectiveness.
There are studies supporting yoga as an evidence based approach to the treatment of depression. But it is hard to figure out where to begin. At the end of this page are some additional resources.
One thing to realize is that for yoga to work requires a fair amount of consistency. Twice a week is probably a minimum dose and 3 to 4 times a week seems to be much better.
Most Westerners who practice yoga practice a form of yoga that is based on performing a series of “asanas” or postures.
However, there are nine branches of yoga in total: yamas (restraints), niyamas (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation), and samadhi (absorption).
Elsewhere in this blog we refer to breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation (dhyani) and mindfulness (samadhi).
The point is that this vast tradition encompasses almost all of the ways that people throughout the ages have found to achieve peace.
We can recommend based on successes of many people we have worked with, two approaches that are quite different:
- Bikram Yoga (which is an intense, very physical and demanding form of yoga done in a heated room, it involves doing the same routines every day), and
- One on one yoga training with someone who adapts yoga to your body and needs.
We have not found health club yoga or community center yoga to be that useful.
To get started with yoga you have to begin with a sense of purpose and confidence in the instructor, and both of those venues tend to have instructors who are not as good, and classmates who are not particularly committed.
You might have better success buying a really good set of DVD’s. Although we think you will eventually want to find a good in person instructor.