Balance is good. In fact, it is great. Ask any bipolar patient, and they will nod in agreement. And why is that? Because keeping their mind balanced doesn’t come easily to them. Only an alternative healing therapy like yoga can help them deal with their bipolar disorder.
Bipolar patients have shifty moods and are unpredictable. They suffer from alternating periods of depression and enthusiasm. About 51 million people across the world suffer from this condition, causing them financial, social, and work-related problems.
Apart from the regular treatment for bipolar disorder, yoga is an excellent way to treat the condition. Yoga reduces stress, which is a major trigger for extreme emotional states in bipolar disorder.
Yoga manages your bipolar disorder well by strengthening you mentally and physically to cope with it. Let’s learn how it does it below. Have a look.
Before that, let’s completely understand the bipolar disorder problem.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects the brain, causing extreme shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. It mostly occurs due to genetics and trauma like childhood abuse and long-term stress.
The mood swings range from extreme hyperactivity to absolute dullness and depression. They either occur alternatively or stay for prolonged periods before shifting to the other state.
The energized period is referred to as ‘manic’ and the dull phase as ‘depressive.’ During the manic period, the person is overly enthusiastic, extremely excited, and abnormally energetic. He/she becomes restless and finds it difficult to sleep.
As the condition worsens, the person has unrealistic thoughts, gets erratic and impulsive, and hallucinates when it becomes worst.
The other side to this is depression. In this, the patients have an entirely negative outlook towards life and suffer from anxiety disorders. They feel dull, lifeless, and suicidal. Nothing enthuses them, and they don’t feel like mingling with anybody.
The intermediary stage is hypomania, where the person is enthusiastic, excitable, and does work in a flow, making them highly productive. A manic period is usually followed by a depressive state and vice versa.
Now, let’s understand how yoga helps with bipolar disorder.
Yoga And Bipolar Disorder
When you suffer from bipolar disorder, stress is a major component that triggers extreme emotional states. Added to that is anxiety, which only makes it worse when you are in the manic or depressive stage.
Eliminating stress and anxiety makes it easier for a bipolar patient, and yoga does exactly that.
Stretching your body and keeping it healthy with yoga is one way of dealing with the problem. The synchronized breathing while getting in, staying, and getting out of the poses calms the body as well as the mind.
Pranayama and meditation balance and train you better to deal with mood swings. Yoga increases serotonin and gamma amino butyric levels in the brain, which help fight depression.
Thus, yoga is a helpful addition to manage bipolar disorder. It improves your overall health and enables you to deal with bipolar disorder better.
So, why don’t we learn some yoga exercises that work best for bipolar disorder? Check them out below.
Yoga Exercises For Bipolar Disorder
Yoga offers therapeutic poses that calm the mind. They divert the mind of the bipolar patient and channelize his thoughts in a positive direction.
- Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
- Upavistha Konasana (Seated Wide-Angled Pose)
- Dandasana (Staff Pose)
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
- Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
- Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand)
1. Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
About The Pose: Garudasana or the Eagle Pose is an asana named after the mythological king of birds, Garuda, who is known to fight off demons. It is a beginner level Vinyasa yoga asana. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach and hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
Benefits: Garudasana improves your sense of balance and stretches your calves and shoulders. It loosens your legs and hips, making them flexible. The pose also improves your concentration.
To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Garudasana
2. Upavistha Konasana (Seated Wide-Angled Pose)
About The Pose: Upavistha Konasana or the Seated Wide-Angled Pose is an asana that gives good practice to other similar wide-angled seated and standing poses. It is an intermediate level Hatha yoga asana. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Benefits: Upavistha Konasana calms your brain and helps you become peaceful. It stretches your legs, arms, and spine and opens your hips. It also stimulates your abdominal organs.
To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Upavistha Konasana
3. Dandasana (Staff Pose)
About The Pose: Dandasana or the Staff Pose is a warming-up pose. It is a beginner level yoga asana. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach or evening after a gap of 4 to 6 hours from your last meal. Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.
Benefits: Dandasana calms your brain cells. It improves the alignment of your body and enhances your body awareness. Dandasana lengthens and strengthens your spine.
To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Dandasana
4. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
About The Pose: Paschimottanasana or the Seated Forward Bend is an asana that gives your body an intense stretch. It is beginner level Hatha yoga asana. Practice it in the morning or evening on an empty stomach. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Benefits: Paschimottanasana is a stress reliever. It keeps anxiety, anger, and irritability at bay. The pose regulates blood pressure and stretches the lower back and hamstrings.
To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Paschimottanasana
5. Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose)
About The Pose: Ardha Pincha Mayurasana or the Dolphin Pose is an asana that looks like an inverted ‘V’ and is similar to the Adho Mukha Svanasana. It is a beginner level Ashtanga yoga asana. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Benefits: The Dolphin Pose relieves mild depression and headache and also stretches your shoulders. It is helpful for insomnia and therapeutic for fatigue.
To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Ardha Pincha Mayurasana
6. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
About The Pose: Setu Bandhasana or the Bridge Pose is an asana that looks similar to a bridge and is hence named so. It is a beginner level Vinyasa yoga asana. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach and clean bowels. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Benefits: Setu Bandhasana tones your core muscles and opens your shoulders. The pose strengthens your arms and legs and is therapeutic for high blood pressure and stress.
To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Setu Bandhasana
7. Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand)
About The Pose: Salamba Sirsasana or the Headstand is a complete inversion of the body. It is called the king of all yoga asanas. The asana is an advanced level Vinyasa yoga asana. Practice it in the morning on an empty stomach and hold the pose for 1 to 5 minutes.
Benefits: Salamba Sirsasana strengthens your spine and neck and enables a healthy blood flow into your brain cells. It treats depression and increases clarity of mind.
To know more about the pose and its procedure, click here: Salamba Sirsasana
Cautions To Be Taken
While practicing yoga works well for most of those suffering from bipolar disorder, there are some people who suffer from side effects such as agitation, rapid breathing, and becoming critical of their practice abilities.
Take care to practice yoga in an environment where you feel comfortable and acceptable.
Yoga is not a treatment for your bipolar disorder. Continue taking your medication for bipolar disorder along with practicing yoga.
Now, let’s answer some common queries on yoga for bipolar disorder.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Is bipolar disorder curable by yoga?
Yoga can treat bipolar disorder but cannot necessarily cure it.
How often do I practice yoga if I have bipolar disorder?
Make the yoga practice a part of your daily routine.
Bipolar disorder is consuming for you and those around you. It can take the life out of you, sometimes literally. Make it a little easy and manageable by trying the above poses. Go for it, make your life better.
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