Therapeutic intervention of yoga in postpartum depression


Dr Anita Kant    28 April 2018

Postpartum depression (PPD) represents a type of clinical depression observed in women after child birth. Postpartum blues or baby blues is commonly seen in women with PPD. The synchronization between manas (mind) and sharir (body) can be achieved with the help of yoga. A paper recently published in the International Journal of Research in Indian Medicine highlighted the therapeutic interventions of yoga in PPD.

Yoga practitioners have reported musculoskeletal and mental health improvements with the practice of yoga. The physical exercises (asanas) tend to increase the patients physical flexibility, coordination, and strength, while the breathing practices and meditation may calm and focus the mind to develop greater awareness and decrease anxiety. The set of asanas which have proven effect on management of PPD include Bhramari pranayama, Nadishodana pranayama, Navasana, Bhujangasana, Urdhva prasarita padasana, Makarasana, Adhomukha svanasana, Ardha merudandasana, Tadasana, Ardakati chakrasana, Vrikshasana, Shalabhasana, Gomukhasana, Vajrasana, Mulabanda/mahamudra, Savasana, etc. These increase galvanic skin response (GSR), and increase the EEG-alpha waves. Increase in theta, delta, and beta waves is also seen during various stages of meditation. Psychological benefits are also seen, such as increase in subjective well-being, self-acceptance, self-actualization, social adjustment and decrease in anxiety, and depression. Improvement in hand grip strength, eye-hand coordination, choice reaction time and steadiness is also noted. Many researchers have also noted improvement in integrated functioning of body parts and better psychomotor functions. Improvement in cognitive functions such as attention, concentration, memory and depth of perception is also seen with yoga. Yoga thus helps women find physical and emotional balance as well as self-acceptance. It helps in achieving a happy and healthy postpartum period.

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