Bipolar disorder often referred to as BD is a mood disorder characterized by shifts, in mood and periods of depression.
Conversely during times the mind can enter a state of heightened activity with tendencies making it difficult to stay still or fully enjoy life. In those moments it feels like everything else fades away leaving the racing thoughts.
However there is hope. One aspect of life worth exploring is the practice of yoga. Yoga offers a pathway to understanding and managing both the body and mind. It teaches us how to navigate through moods and sensations by cultivating self awareness that aids in managing inclinations. The use of yoga poses (asanas) and breath control techniques (pranayama) can be particularly effective in addressing feelings of stress, anxiety and anger.
Patanjali expressed in his Yoga Sutras that “Yoga is the calming of the fluctuations within the mind.” This ancient wisdom can be applied to disorder well since yoga aids in stabilizing and enhancing brain activity. Practices like meditation and yoga nidra (guided meditation) help soothe the mind. Through yoga practice one can regain a sense of control.
It’s crucial to remember that while yoga should complement your treatment plan, for disorder it should not replace it entirely. A combination approach involving medication counseling support and incorporating yoga into your routine can help reduce symptom severity and prevent relapses.
This comprehensive approach is a pathway, to stability and well being.
Now lets explore some of the treatments for bipolar disorder. These strategies can be incorporated into your life gradually;
Sleep; Establish a consistent sleep routine to stabilize your mood.
Alcohol; Limit alcohol consumption as it can worsen mood swings.
Exercise; Regular physical activity is crucial for well being.
Seek assistance; Consult your healthcare provider regarding medication options.
Sunlight; Exposure to light can have an impact on your mood.
Yoga; As we’ve discussed, practicing yoga can help restore balance.
Therapy; Talk therapy is invaluable for managing disorder.
Mindfulness Meditation; Cultivating mindfulness promotes self awareness and emotional regulation.
Self Tracking; Maintain a journal to monitor your mood and identify triggers.
Positive Affirmations; Repeat affirmations like “Everyday in every way I am getting better and better” while truly feeling it.
Positive Company. Surround yourself with joyful and positive individuals. Spend time with them.
Good. Movies. Watch inspirational movies. Read books that motivate you.
Now let’s emphasize the connection between mind and body, through exercise, yoga.
Yoga offers an opportunity to discover peace and harmony. It’s a mindful journey that allows you to connect with your body and breath while also tuning into your emotional well being.
In yoga the focus is on developing strength without pushing your body hard. You ease into poses giving yourself time to reflect on both your sensations and external experiences. Negative thoughts fade away as you stay present in each pose with intention. Yoga enhances core strength, fostering balance and mental equilibrium.
As you start moving on your yoga journey it’s beneficial to consider finding a studio, experienced yoga teachers or Yoga Teacher Training course which can provide guidance. Their feedback ensures that you practice safely and effectively. The time spent in yoga classes acts like a breeze amidst life’s stresses leaving you feeling peaceful, strong and centered.
Remember that finding the right exercise routine is as unique as finding the medication for an individual. Hatha yoga, Vinyasa flow and breathing practices all contribute to cultivating strength and tranquility. As Patanjali once said; “When inspired by a purpose or extraordinary project all boundaries of thought dissolve; the mind transcends limitations; consciousness expands in every direction; leading us into realms of greatness.”This sentiment applies to your journey, with disorder and yoga.
When seeking stability and well being it’s important to consult a psychiatrist for cases. However you can also take control of your well being by incorporating activities and regular meditation into your routine. The yoga poses we will discuss can be practiced at home providing a way to regain balance and inner peace. As the wisdom of yoga teaches “Yoga is the journey of the self through the self to the self.” You have the courage to begin your being journey from this moment take charge in your hands and you’ll discover the path to wellness.
Starting with this yoga practice can be a beginning. This practice can be done comfortably at home to promote both mental well being timing it according to what suits your body
Warm up (5 minutes);
Begin by sitting in a position. Close your eyes. Take a few breaths to center yourself.
Neck movements (1 minute); Gently move your neck side to side, up and down in one direction and then, in the other to release tension.
Cat Cow Stretch (2 minutes); Come into a position.Start by arching your back, in Cow Pose and then round your spine as you exhale in Cat Pose. Repeat this sequence for one minute.
Next we’ll move on to some strengthening poses for five minutes;
Downward Dog (1 minute); Begin in a position and lift your hips up into Downward Dog. Press through your palms. Engage your core. Hold this pose for one minute.
Plank Pose (1 minute); Transition from Downward Dog to Plank Pose. Keep your body in a line from head to heels while engaging your core. Take breaths.
Chaturanga Dandasana or Knee Chest Chin down (moving); Lower your body down as if you were doing a push up. Hold this position comfortably for 30 seconds to one minute.
Upward Dog (10 to 15 seconds); Transition from Chaturanga to Upward Dog. Keep your thighs off the ground lift your chest and roll your shoulders back. If it feels more comfortable for you you can place your thighs on the ground well.
Warrior II (30 seconds to 1 minute); Step one foot forward into a lunge position rotate the foot. Open your arms out to the sides. Hold this pose for one minute, on each side.
Now lets move on to some balancing poses that will take four minutes;
Tree Pose (1 minute); Stand tall and place one foot on the inner thigh or calf finding balance with arms either extended overhead or resting at heart center.
Here is a sequence of yoga poses and breathing techniques that you can try;
1. Tree Pose; Stand on one leg and place the sole of the foot on your thigh or calf. Bring your hands together in a prayer position, at your heart. Maintain balance for 1 minute on each side.
2. Eagle Pose; Cross one leg over the other wrapping your arm under the other. Hold this pose for 1 minute on each side.
3. Relaxing Poses;
Childs Pose; Kneel on the floor sit back on your heels. Reach your arms forward while resting your forehead on the ground. Stay in this position for 2 minutes.
Bridge Pose; Lie on your back with knees then lift your hips off the ground. You can interlace your fingers beneath your back for support while holding this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Savasana; Lie on your back with arms by your sides and palms facing up. Close your eyes. Relax in this position for around 3 minutes.
4. Breathing Techniques;
Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing); Sit comfortably with a spine. Use your thumb to close off the nostril as you inhale through the left nostril. Then close off the nostril with
your right ring finger releases the nostril and exhales through it. Inhale, through the nostril close it off. Exhale through the left nostril.
These exercises incorporate both poses and breathing techniques to help you relax and find balance within yourself.
Continue practicing this nostril breathing for a duration of 5 minutes.
Bhramari (5 minutes); Find a seated position close your eyes and take a breath in. As you exhale create a humming sound resembling that of a bee to generate a soothing vibration. Repeat this for a period of 2 minutes.
Cool. Relaxation (5 minutes);
Gentle Spinal Twist (2 minutes); Lie, on your back bring your knees towards your chest. Gently lower them to one side while extending your arms out in the shape of a T. Hold this position for 1 minute on each side.
Final Relaxation (5 minutes); Return to Savasana allowing yourself to deeply relax. Focus on your breath and release any tension you may be holding onto.
Conclude your practice by transitioning into a seated position taking a deep breaths and expressing gratitude towards yourself for prioritizing self care through this yoga routine. This sequence combines elements of strength, balance, relaxation along with the incorporation of calming breathing techniques aimed at managing symptoms associated with disorder and enhancing well being.
Orenstein D. Survey finds benefits, risks of yoga for bipolar disorder. Brown university. 2014.
Uebelacker LA, Weinstock LM, Kraines MA. Self-reported benefits and risks of yoga in individuals with bipolar disorder. J Psychiatr Pract. 2014; 20(5): 345-352
With the help of
YNV Global Research Team
Yoga Healing|Yoga Therapy| Yoga Medicine