How Mindfulness Can Help With Mood Disorders

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Mindfulness is a much used method of relaxation and it can help you with a lot of different issues.

Some people have a little bit of a misconception about mindfulness and about meditation in general.

People often try to meditate in order to help deal with things like anxiety and depression and find it to be an ineffective treatment.

In some cases, it is ineffective and it’s never going to cure your condition completely. However, a lot of people just don’t actually know how to properly practice mindfulness.

It’s not about sitting down in a quiet room, closing your eyes and taking deep breaths. It’s something that takes a lot of effort and a lot of concentration.

True meditation has a history of reducing the symptoms of certain mood disorders when you master it. There are a few different ways to meditate, the most effective for this is mindfulness, although any type of meditation practice can help reduce stress, improve learning and memory, and improve emotional regulation.

Practicing mindfulness can help you a lot in dealing with some of the most debilitating mood disorders. Here are a couple that you can use it for:

1. Bipolar Disorder

As we’ve already said, it’s not going to cure your bipolar disorder completely, but it can help give you some relief from the symptoms.

Oftentimes, people who suffer from bipolar disorder will find it complicated if they are feeling stressed.

The disorder causes extreme highs and lows in the mood of those who suffer from it and when you’re stressed, these highs and lows can fluctuate much more aggressively and unpredictably.

And then people are likely to get even more stressed as a consequence of feeling the effects of bipolar disorder.

Practicing mindfulness will help you to stabilize your mood. When you’re practicing, the goal is to focus on how you are feeling at that very moment and be completely aware of all sensations.

Doing this will allow you to develop an awareness of anything that could potentially be causing your stress and how you are feeling in that moment.

By having this awareness, you can disengage from these thoughts and feelings and allow yourself to relax more easily.

This will help with the stress problem but it will also give you an understanding of your mood imbalance which will allow you to feel more at ease with your feelings.

Again, this won’t cure this or any of the mood disorders we’ll be discussing but it should help you feel better.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is not always a mood disorder. Many people just suffer from some form of anxiety in their lives but there is something called General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD.

This is one of the more common mood disorders and there are a lot of sufferers around the world, but it’s also one of the easier ones to deal with.

Mindfulness can treat regular sufferers of anxiety, but it can also be used as a treatment for the effects of GAD too.

Anxiety is yet another problem that happens as a consequence of stress. Stress is something that people should be more familiar with because it causes many mental issues.

The stress of anxiety, in particular, is caused by unproductive worries which people assign too much power too.

Thoughts that wouldn’t normally be a cause for concern for most people but that the anxiety sufferer makes too big of a deal out of in their own mind.

The thing about mindfulness though, is that it will give you a chance to really focus on these thoughts and put them into perspective in your mind.

You can make it clear to yourself why you are thinking these thoughts and why they are irrational.

You will have to train your brain to think differently and the only way to do that is to put an active focus on actually thinking.

After practicing mindfulness for a while, you’ll begin to recognize these thoughts in your day-to-day life and deal with them as you would while meditating.

effects of yoga on the respiratory system mindfulness

3. Depression

Much like anxiety and bipolar disorder, depression is an issue that can be severely complicated by stress.

In the case of serious, clinical depression, you should probably seek professional help which will potentially result in prescribed medication, but mindfulness is helpful for side effects.

Some of these side effects of depression are things like forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a general distortion of thinking.

Practicing mindfulness will stabilize all of these specific symptoms by allowing you to understand the thoughts that are contributing to them.

Your depression will not disappear by practicing mindfulness, but you can prevent it from infiltrating your life in other ways.

Depression can completely take over your livelihood if you allow it to. Mindfulness ensures that you maintain a relaxed outlook and balance of your thoughts.


So to sum up, many of these mood disorders are amplified by stress and some of them are even caused by it.

As we’ve said repeatedly, meditation won’t fix your mood disorders, but by eliminating stress it can help you control how the disorders affect you.

Quick Tips for Stress Reduction


Stress is so pervasive in today’s world. Just about every person I meet is struggling with stress and stress management. We have so many demands placed on us daily and in our strive for perfection, for climbing to the top we forget to slow down, to get off of our computers and take time for relaxation. Sometimes as a yoga instructor I feel like I’m expected to be perfect, to have my shit together, when really there are some days where I am literally just hanging on by a thread…. just like everyone else. Sometimes I forget to practice what I preach, so maybe that’s why I am writing this blog post. To remind myself that reducing stress can be utterly simple… it’s just a matter of using the tools we’ve been given.

The physiological signs of stress are the same for everyone: increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and constricts peripheral blood vessels. How it outwardly manifests varies from person to person. Some react to stressful situations with an overexcited stress response characterized by being quick to become fired up or by being quick to express agitation or anger. Others may react with an under-excited stress response characterized by depression or by shutting down in stressful situations. Your “typical” stress response will determine what kind of activities you need to truly reduce stress. Those with overexcited stress responses will need activities that are quieter, while those with under-active stress responses will need more stimulating exercises.

Maintained high levels of stress are associated with all sorts of health problems including, but not limited to: obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma. High levels of stress may also lead to adrenal fatigue, accelerated aging and premature death. If stress management isn’t part of your daily routine now may be the time to start.

The following is a short list of activities for stress management.

  1. Focus on your breath. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath. Become aware of the quality of your breath and the texture of your breath. Begin to lengthen your breath. Inhale for a count of 4 or 5 and exhale for a count of 4 or 5 and allow the breath to deepen without strain. If you find it hard to focus on your breath place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Witness the breath for 3-5 minutes. Notice how you feel afterward.
  2. Move your body. Go for a walk. Practice a few yoga postures (1/2 sun salutations or more) in which you can connect breath with movement.
  3. Get some fresh air. Eat your lunch outside. Leave your phone in the office. Take a walk around the block. Go for a hike/bike ride before or after work.
  4. De-clutter your workspace. Having a clean workspace means you aren’t wasting time shifting things around on your desk. It also means that those pesky tasks that are piling up won’t be staring you in the face.
  5. On the same note. Get organized… perhaps even hire someone to help you become organized. Time management is a huge part of stress management. You’ll be able to spend more time doing the important tasks and less time doing the menial tasks.
  6. Reach out to a calm friend that is also a good listener and enjoy a little face time…. real face time, not the cell phone version.
  7. Make time for meditation. Any type of meditation. There are plenty of apps that you can use if you’d like a guided meditation. Some option are listed here in my meditation blog post. You don’t need to meditate for 20 minutes or an hour. Start with 5 minutes and work from there. Taking just a few minutes a day for quiet meditation is proven to work wonders.
  8. Yoga nidra is another technique that can be used for stress management. There are many recorded classes on YouTube of varying quality and length, I have a downloadable yoga nidra on offer for those that subscribe to my newsletter. You may also find that some of the local yoga studios and wellness centers offer live guided yoga nidras.
  9. Massage. The power of touch is phenomenal. Whether you visit a professional for a massage or give yourself a 5 minute massage you will feel much more relaxed afterward.
  10. Drop into a yoga class. A good class will include plenty of movement, breath work, meditation and also time for rest.


37 Stress Management Tips from the Experts

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Autumn Adams

Owner, Founder, & Retreat Leader at Ambuja Yoga
Autumn founded Ambuja Yoga in 2014 to share her love of adventure, yoga, and travel with her fellow yogis. Ambuja Yoga has morphed into more than she could have ever dreamed and she is thrilled to have a "job" she loves. She is forever grateful for the opportunity to facilitate personal growth and self love through yoga while taking yogis to off-the-beaten-path destinations worldwide. Follow Autumn on Instagram @autumnadamsyoga.
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Reduce Stress On Your Wedding Day With Yoga

Practicing yoga on your wedding day brings harmony to your body, mind and spirit amidst all of the chaos of last minute wedding preparations. It provides an opportunity for the bride, bridesmaids, mothers and aunts to share a special moment before the festivities and guarantees that each person will feel rejuvenated, balanced, and centered for the day’s festivities.

How does yoga rejuvenate, balance and center?

Yoga unites the body and mind and can bring balance and a sense of calm when practiced correctly and regularly. Some yoga postures are more relaxing than others, but even the challenging postures can bring relaxation as we learn to work though discomfort. The focus we apply on the mat helps us cope with stressful situations by balancing the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).

Our SNS is responsible for our fight-or-flight response to stressors and when stimulated it releases stress hormones (including cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine), increases heart rate and respiration, increases blood pressure and blood sugar, suppresses the immune system, slows digestion, and causes loss of hearing and auditory function. In today’s world we are constantly being stimulated and bombarded with information, noise, work, etc. and we live in a state of heightened arousal and chronic stress.

Our PNS, on the other hand, stimulates our rest and digest response. It slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases intestinal and glandular activity, and relaxes the sphincter muscles. Yoga’s combination of asana practice, breathing exercises and meditation can stimulate the PNS and bring harmony and balance to the nervous system.

These are my favorite postures for wedding day relaxation:

1. Balasana aka Child’s Pose

This restful yoga pose helps develop an inward focus by drawing attention to the breath and allowing the mind to be still. This posture also creates space in the lower back and can also be a gentle shoulder and upper back opener.


2. Uttanasana Standing Forward Bend

This moderate forward bend, when done safely can soothe the nervous system and relieve stress, anxiety and mild depression.

forward fold

3. Trikonasana aka Triangle Pose

Triangle pose provides an intense lateral stretch to the side body while alleviating anxiety, reducing mental stress, building focus and developing willpower. This posture also helps improve digestion and circulation, increases muscular endurance and may relieve symptoms of sciatica.


As you come into this posture imagine that your legs, hips and shoulders are all against a wall.

4. Dhanurasana aka Bow Pose

This intense backbend can bring internal balance and harmony. Bow pose also strengthens concentration and mental determination, enhances elasticity of the spine, massages the internal organs and strengthens the core muscles. Backbends tend to also be energizing and invigorating, so they are best done early in the day.

dhanurasana backbend

Couples who practice together stay together.

5. Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana aka Supported Bridge Pose

Bridge pose and it’s many variations open the heart, increase circulation to the digestive and reproductive organs, and reduce stress, mild depression and anxiety. This backbend is gentler than some of the others like Camel Pose or Wheel Pose and can be done as a restorative posture by placing a bolster or block underneath the hips.


6. Halasana aka Plough

Plough pose is a variation of shoulder stand, it’s an intense forward bend and an inversion; it enhances physical and mental relaxation, develops inner balance and mental poise. Halasana also improves circulation, massages internal organs, and can relieve cervical and shoulder tension.

plow pose

7. Upavista Konasana aka Open-Angle Pose

Upavista Konasana soothes the nervous system and relieves stress, anxiety and mild depression. It’s also great for opening the hips, groins and shoulders, stimulating the digestive and reproductive systems, and increasing circulation to the liver and kidneys.

wide legged forward fold

8. Restorative spinal twist

This posture brings peace of mind while massaging the vertebrae of the spine and increasing suppleness of the spine.

restorative yoga twist

9. Reclining Bound-Angle Pose Supta Baddha Konasana

Supta Baddha Konasana is probably my favorite pose, and it’s no wonder why the benefits are endless: draws the senses inward, relieves mild depression, anxiety and stress, opens the chest and heart chakra, opens the groins, improves digestion and circulation, promotes reproductive health and relieves fatigue and headaches. This pose always helps me relax and get centered no matter how emotional or stressed my day was.

reclined butterfly pose for back, chest and hips

As your lower back begins to release over time you may reduce the incline of the bolster.

10. Savasana aka Corpse Pose

Savasana reduces stress, mild depression, and anxiety, calms and centers the mind, reduces fatigue, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes & rejuvenates the body. This posture can be done anytime of day for any amount of time.


Corpse pose, savasana in Sanskrit, with knees supported helps relieve tension in the lower back.

It is important to find a experienced yoga teacher to show you the proper way to warm up for these postures and the proper alignment once you’re in the postures to prevent injury. Before beginning a new exercise program please consult your doctor.

Ambuja Yoga offers Beginner’s Yoga Series‘ in Bend, Oregon and Wedding Wellness Yoga Packages throughout Oregon. Wedding day yoga is a great way to relax and unwind with friends and family before the festivities of the day begin. After your wedding day yoga session you will feel relaxed, rejuvenated and centered. Book your Wedding Day Yoga today!!!

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Autumn Adams

Owner, Founder, & Retreat Leader at Ambuja Yoga
Autumn founded Ambuja Yoga in 2014 to share her love of adventure, yoga, and travel with her fellow yogis. Ambuja Yoga has morphed into more than she could have ever dreamed and she is thrilled to have a "job" she loves. She is forever grateful for the opportunity to facilitate personal growth and self love through yoga while taking yogis to off-the-beaten-path destinations worldwide. Follow Autumn on Instagram @autumnadamsyoga.
Autumn Adams
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