Can Yoga Help With Anxiety & Depression? The Answer is YES!

restorative-collage

Anxiety disorders, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, are the most common mental illness in North America, affecting about 40 million adults. If current trends continue, it’s estimated that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability throughout the world. A significant amount of research has been conducted on yoga as a therapeutic tool, and evidence supports the findings that yoga can help treat depression and anxiety.

Depression and anxiety are diseases in which people experience being stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk, obsessive rumination on the past or anxiety about the future. Physical exercises that increase awareness of sensations arising from within the physical body can help people heal. Yoga connects the mind and body through the breath, creating presence and mindfulness. Mindfulness in the body is the ability to inhabit the body and be present with bodily sensation as they fluctuate from one moment to the next.

Most people aren’t aware that inside each of us, there’s a mind-body communications network that contributes to the patterns of anxiety and depression. This network includes (but is not limited to):

The autonomic nervous system: The part of the nervous system responsible for control of the bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, the heartbeat, and digestive processes.

The enteric nervous system: Often called ‘the second brain’ which controls the gastrointestinal system and is the reason we get ‘butterflies in our stomach’ or need to use the restroom more frequently when we are nervous and/or under stress. The Immune System: Made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body.

The Connective Tissue Matrix: A group of tissues in the body that maintains the form of the body and its organs and provides cohesion and internal support. The connective tissues include several types of fibrous tissue that vary only in their density and cellularity, as well as the more specialized and recognizable variants—bone, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and fascia.

To really effect change, we need to access this mind-body network and change patterns in these bodily systems.

Mindfulness may be a doorway to healing many anxiety disorders, and yoga, specifically Restorative Yoga incorporates practices to strengthen this quality. With the aim of awareness in mind, Restorative Yoga is not like the typical hot, sweaty Westernized forms of yoga that are prevalent. Restorative Yoga is a gentle, therapeutic style of yoga that uses props such as bolsters, blankets and yoga blocks to fully support the body in restful, still positions held from 5 – 10 minutes. The focus of the practice is to completely relax the muscles and very gently stretch the body, letting go of tension in the connective tissue, which includes bones, ligaments, tendons and fascia. Long holds allow time for stillness, presence, guided meditation and mind body connection and give practitioners an experience of present and safe in the moment. All of the poses are done on the floor, no standing or kneeling postures – you go down to the mat once and get up from the mat once, thus making Restorative Yoga accessible to anyone that can get up and down to the floor.

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Savasana using a bolster to take pressure off the lower back

At FitZonePLUS, while in poses we use specific questions and cues that serve to increase a person’s awareness of the sensations in his or her body. For example, a Restorative class begins and ends with Savasana. Lying on the back, the arms and legs are spread at about 45 degrees, the eyes are closed and the breath deep. The whole body is relaxed onto the mat with an awareness of the chest and abdomen rising and falling with each breath. All parts of the body are scanned for muscular tension of any kind, which is consciously released as it is found. All control of the breath, the mind, and the body is then released for the duration of the pose, typically 10 minutes. The pose is released by slowly deepening the breath, flexing the fingers and toes, reaching the arms above the head, stretching the whole body, exhaling, bringing the knees to the chest and rolling over to the side in a fetal position. After a short time and a slow inhalation, the practitioner takes a seated position.

After completing this pose, we ask practitioners to check in with their bodies. Without judgment, how am I feeling physically? Is there any pain, tightness or tension in my body, if so, where is it? How am I feeling mentally? How deep is my breath? During final Savasana a second check in is done. This time we ask practitioners to notice any changes. To notice how their body and mind may feel different after 60 minutes of practice. Most clients notice that their body feels less tense, elongated, more open and flexible. The mind usually feels less cluttered and a sense of calm is present.

The more consistently you practice, the longer this feeling stays with you.

All types of yoga and exercise can help to ease anxiety and depression, however Restorative yoga provides more time for stillness and releasing tension from connective tissues. If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression or stress, give it a try, it may change your life!

Click here to view the FitZonePLUS class schedule. Restorative type classes on the schedule include: Happy Knees, Yin Yoga, Yin/Restorative Yoga, Reiki Restorative and Restorative yoga.

 

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Check Out the Excellent FitZonePLUS Review at YummyMummyClub.ca!

Yoga For All Shapes and Sizes 
FitZonePLUS Aims to Make Everyone Comfortable at Its Studio  
by:  Liis Windischmann

Have you ever gone to a gym or fitness studio and felt so intimidated you wanted to leave? FitZone PLUS owner Suzanne Gracan can relate. She was active and involved in sports until an accident in 2001 left her barely able to walk for two years. After gaining over 120 pounds, a mixture of yoga and acupuncture helped her get back in action. But her experiences in yoga studios were not ideal. At her size, she wasn’t able to do all the poses and instead of being shown modifications to boost her confidence and master them in a way that worked for her body, she was told “just do your best.” She wanted to channel the shame and embarrassment she felt into something positive creating a small plus-size yoga class in 2002. She eventually opened FitZone PLUS in 2011 with just two classes — but those two classes sold out from day one! In two short years, demand for classes has grown so much that the company needed to move to a larger location.

As of this week, FitZone PLUS has a new, much larger home in Toronto’s Danforth area, a short walk from Chester subway station. The extra space will allow for even more classes — and not all just yoga. While FitZone PLUS specializes in beginner, plus-size and senior demographics, everyone is welcome to its many yoga, zumba, and personal training classes. Plans are now underway to introduce a kids’ program as well as classes for parents and their children. Other new classes will continue to be added as the company grows into its new space so be sure to visit the site often for updates!

If you are looking for some really fun events to stimulate you mind, body and soul, there are also some great workshops being offered. You can release your inner vixen with Burlesque 101 happening Saturday, October 26th or perhaps learn some tai chi. How about a little Sunday Zen Getaway on November 3rd with four workshops, mini massages and lunch? There are lots of options with new events being regularly added to the fun lineup and if you are interested in a future retreat, contact the studio to request info. No need to feel intimidated at this studio — no matter what shape your shape is in, all the caring instructors are trained to make your experience a positive one!

 

 

               

 

I’m a Size 18 Yogi, and Lululemon Can Kiss My Fat Ass

Following is a brilliant piece written by Laura Beck which appeared 8/1/2013 on http://www.Jezebel.com. I have re-printed it word for word because I think it’s absolutely awesome and I couldn’t do it any better. 

I’m a Size 18 Yogi, and Lululemon Can Kiss My Fat Ass

Lululemon, like many major retailers before them, likes to pretend that a size 4 is the size of the average woman in the United States. Despite much evidence to the contrary, they cater their overpriced wares to an America that doesn’t exist, and have no desire to change their dumb-ass ways. Therefore, I meant what I said about them kissing my fat ass — go ahead, Lululemon, I’m waiting for you in Downward Dog.

According to former employees, Lululemon carries a few “larger” sizes — a chubbotron 10 and obesity monster 12 — but they just don’t have that many of them, and what they do have is crumpled and hidden in the back of the store.

“All the other merchandise in the store was kind of sacred, but these were thrown in a heap,” former employee Elizabeth Licorish told The Huffington Post. “It was definitely discriminatory to those who wear larger sizes.”

Lululemon hasn’t spoken recently about their feelings on the issue, but in 2005, founder and former chief executive officer Chip Wilson said that it takes 30 percent more fabric to create plus-size clothes, and he doesn’t want to charge more for plus-sized pants because “plus-size people are sensitive” and the company would experience fallout from the community.

“It’s a money loser, for sure,” he said. “I understand their plight, but it’s tough.”

So many questions here: Is it a money loser for sure? 30 percent more fabric than what size? Are they sure fatties would riot if they had to pay more for their potentially see-through pants? It’s not like anyone goes into Lululemon expecting to walk out with a reasonably priced item of clothing.

Related

They claim their next CEO needs to have Oprah Winfrey on speed dial — uh, she can’t fit into your clothes, but maybe when you speed dial her up, she can yell some common sense at you. But, here, let me try before you bother O.

As we already know, many clothing stores offer zilch for the average-sized American woman, and it’s hard to see how that’s good business. As Dodai pointed out, ModCloth conducted a survey — polling over 5,000 women — and found that there were more “wearing a size 16 dress than those who wear a size 2 and size 0 combined.” I’m sorry, but that makes Lululemon and their ilk of size-discriminating companies not just judgmental pricks, but big fucking dummies when it comes to money.

And as I understand it from a source at a major clothing brand that offers plus-sized options, they have no problem passing the price on to the customer. Women desperately want to shop in store, and when given the option of trying things on in person — they’ll shell out the extra moola.

Still, it doesn’t fucking matter. Because Lululemon doesn’t want me to wear their real house pants of Beverly Hills, and I don’t want to wear them either. Maybe it’s a little like calling the girl who rejected you ugly, but seriously: Eat a bag of dicks dipped in a bag of dicks with a side of fuck you very much.

You’ll now never know if I might’ve worn your pants if you made your store accessible to women of every size. You miss out on the big bucks from big ladies looking to get into yoga in hopes of getting fit. You’ll also miss out on the big bucks of the big ladies who are already fit who want to see if the hype surrounding your precious pants is legit. It’s just a whole lot of closing yourself out of the conversation, just because your worldview is narrow and tired — oh, and it’s not working out for you financially, either. So sad, too bad.

It’s just another way in which the world gives fat people mixed messages — lose weight, fatty — but, uh, do it in an xxl Hefty bag in the corner of a dark room SO THAT THE SUN SHALL NEVER KNOW YOUR HIDEOUS FAT FOLDS. If exercising is the mythical path to skinniness, doesn’t it make sense to give fat people workout clothes that fit so we can be less fat? Yes, I think you can all see what I’m getting at here (or at least Lululemon’s new CEO should be able to — he/she must be a magical yogi unicorn who poops goji berries and pisses coconut water, after all): I blame you for obesity, Lululemon.

So, fuck you, Lululemon. Fuck you and your see-through pants, your Ayn Rand, and your child labor. Plus-sized customers are expected to spend about $332 million on athletic wear this years — and that’s at specifically plus-sized stores alone! — and you won’t get one fucking penny of that — or of the $14 billion plus-size apparel industry. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

In dramatic conclusion: I hope your business continues to die in a ditch, and then I hope you’re run over by a tractor driven by a pair of $34.94 size 26 Old Navy Women’s Plus Active by Old Navy Compression Yoga Pants.