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3 Ways Restorative Yoga Relieves the Pain of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Restorative yoga

Restorative yoga helps relieve SAD pain through gentle, relaxing poses.  Blankets, blocks, and pillows support the body in beneficial yoga poses and are held for a few minutes.

SAD is a type of seasonal depression that can result from shorter days and less sunlight.  Seasonal affective disorder can start in the fall and go through winter.  It can cause some people to feel lethargic, depressed, and inactive.  

Restorative yoga can help to ease the pain of SAD by addressing the mental, physical, and emotional aspects of seasonal affective disorder.  


Learn more about SAD here and seek a medical professional for help if necessary.


How can restorative yoga help relieve the pain of seasonal affective disorder?

1.  Restorative yoga can bring you into present moment awareness

Being in the present moment just means paying attention to how you feel right now.  How does your body feel?  What is happening with your breath?  What is going on with the thoughts?

That might not sound great if you’re feeling the effects of SAD – why would I want to really pay attention to THAT?!  But slowing down to notice how you actually feeling can help.

When you practice restorative yoga, you invite ease and release to both the body and the mind.  You make the practice about just noticing what is going on right now.

And this can translate into everyday life where you catch yourself in a negative cycle of thoughts or notice that our shoulders are tensing up by our ears.  Then, just reinvite some ease just as we did in our yoga practice.  And you might have to do this again and again.  And that’s ok – that’s the practice!

Present moment awareness can ease the mental fatigue caused by seasonal affective disorder.


2.  Restorative yoga can ease pain in your body and get you back into your body.

If you’re affected by SAD you might be depressed and your body might even hurt.  This can create a cycle of negative thoughts and lead to not moving  because there is discomfort – both of which leads to more discomfort and on and on.

In a restorative yoga session, you learn to mindfully come into a posture and to do what you need to to find support for your body.  Every part of your body should feel supported and relaxed.  You need a good teacher, practice finding ways to support yourself comfortably, and it takes really paying attention to your body right now.  

By paying attention to your body and placing It into positions that provide openness and a sense of ease and relief, you will create a positive cycle of 


3.  Restorative yoga teaches you to honor where you are right now

Restorative yoga is a practice that invites you to look around for the best way to support yourself in a pose comfortably.  By definition, it encourages you to honor if something is too intense and find a way to get a benefit without feeling intensity or work.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that in our lives off of the mat also?

If you’re more tired from SAD or don’t want to do all the things you usually do right now, maybe honoring that is what you need.

While a case could be made for the motto motivation follows action, sometimes we need to honor how we feel and grab a prop to be more comfortable.

And if in our life off the mat that means saying no to something, taking a nap, or just not beating yourself up over not feeling like your “usual self”, then that’s practicing restorative yoga.


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