Anxiety and Depression: How Yoga Therapists Can Help


So often, we find our moods fluctuating up and down based on what is happening around us, or inside of us. One of the profound applications of yoga therapy is the potential to restore mental balance; and that’s good news, psychotherapist Bo Forbes tells us, since the World Health Organization has predicted that by the year 2020, depression, and therefore anxiety as well, will be the number two health problem on the planet—and by the year 2030, it will be the number one global disease burden.

One of the things Forbes is looking into is how yoga therapists can assist clients in cultivating the essential tools to tune into their bodies daily, or several times a day—a listening practice that neuroscience calls interoception, which means to pay attention to fluctuating, internal bodily sensations as they arise and change from one moment to the next. Forbes states, " … despite the sophistication of modern medicine, pharmacology, and psychotherapy, we really haven’t been able to make a dent in the epidemics of anxiety and depression. And to me, it’s because those issues are mind-body issues. They’re not simply biochemical or genetic.”

She reasons that we also need to investigate how the different elements of our mind-body network—such as the immune system, the autonomic nervous system, and the enteric nervous system, which is our belly brain—express or practice anxiety and depression, so that we can use this embodied knowledge to learn how not to practice anxiety and depression. She  sees “... yoga therapy as one way of going in to do that work.” Click the video to hear Forbes in her own words.

How do you work with clients in your yoga therapy practice? Please comment below.

We sat down with Bo Forbes at the recent New York Yoga Journal Conference to chat about yoga therapy, neuroplasticity, and the healing power of yoga.

About the Teacher

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Bo Forbes
Bo Forbes is a clinical psychologist, yoga teacher, and integrative yoga therapist whose background includes... Read more