Asana & Sequences: Yoga & Depression Practices to Consider

Clinical work convinced me that the body holds an essential key to healing anxiety and depression. – Bo Forbes PsyD

Potential Benefits

  • Poses that are practiced with a focus on connecting with the breath may help to reduce symptoms.


If depression makes it difficult for you to begin exercise, start yoga very slowly by spending a few minutes a day doing yoga breathing exercises. You can do this for a week or more until you feel ready to begin a routine. – Larry Payne PhD & Richard Usatine, MD

Some considerations to ease symptoms of depression include:

  • With rajasic depression, follow the recommendations for anxiety, remembering that as with anxiety, students may need to begin with a more active practice to calm excess energy before moving to restorative poses.
  • With tamasic depression, students can be encouraged to gently draw the shoulders back and lift the heart, enabling them to breathe more deeply.
  • Backbends can be energizing and uplifting and counteract the closed chest and shallow breathing common in depression.
  • If someone suffering from depression can practice just one pose, B.K.S. Iyengar recommends that it be Supported Setu Bandhasana (Supported Bridge Pose). (Nina Zolotow)


You can find an excellent sequence for students experiencing depression in Yoga for Wellness and another in Yoga RX.