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Work Your Body, Work Your Mind

It took me a long time to admit that I wasn’t successfully coping with my depression and anxiety on my own. It took even longer to come up with a plan to fight back against my own...

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Downward Dog Therapy

Downward Dog Therapy

If you knew that a few yoga classes could save you thousands of dollars in therapy, you would have signed up for a session ASAP, right? Some health experts are saying certain yoga poses may be just the emotional ticket you need; loosen your hips with a series of yoga postures, and you could find yourself searching for a tissue box.

The hips aren’t the only body part seeking mental rejuvenation. Yoga experts say many of the practice’s poses may be used to help further the body-mind-spirit connection, even in more serious cases, such as trauma survivors.

Researchers claim the practice could even be life-saving, especially for those suffering from distress from sexual abuse, domestic violence, chronic pain, depression, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder. Healing occurs, yoga instructors say, because oftentimes people who have experienced something traumatic are disconnected from their bodies, a symptom that the practice of yoga, or “union,” is known to help repair.

The good news is that yoga’s ability to build strength and flexibility is not something from which only those who are suffering can benefit. Such skills acquired from regular practice, are, in fact, everyday essentials—no matter your background. Try incorporating a few classes a week as part of your workout plan.

And anyone who is suffering from mental stress should not rely solely on yoga. Experts still recommend that the exercise be used in conjunction with help from a health professional. Yoga is not an overnight cure-all. The exercise takes time and practice for one to truly reap the benefits.

We’re curious: What type of exercise helps you cope with stress? [Chicago Tribune]

Posted: 7/1/08