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Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  576 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Take the natural path to mental wellness

More than 25 million Americans are treated with antidepressants each year, at a cost in excess of $50 billion. But the side effects of popular prescription drugs may seem nearly as depressing as the symptoms they’re meant to treat. Veteran yoga instructor Amy Weintraub offers a better solution—one that taps the scientifically proven
Paperback, 285 pages
Published December 23rd 2003 by Harmony (first published December 1st 2003)
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Kate Wester
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
A decent overview. There is not much practical information. She encourages people to find a qualified teacher or therapist. One confusing point. She spends a whole chapter on The Art of Living's "sudharshan kriya", calling it the breath that heals. But she never describes what it is. After a little research online, it seems this technique is super secret, can only be taught by Art of Living, and you can't teach it to anyone else. So as someone in the healing profession, it doesn't make sense to ...more
Mar 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yoga-and-pilates
My doctor told me that I should do yoga to help with some of the symptoms of depression that I have. The exercises in this book are supposed to help relieve some of these symptoms. I have been doing yoga now for about a year and I have been doing some of these exercises and I believe that they do work. A lot of the exercises are geared towards getting blood circulating to the head. The ones I really like are the balance poses. Those poses take a lot of concentration and I feel that learning to c ...more
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
This took me a long time to get through as I have been reading a lot of other things at the same time. I've definitely read books that helped me learn more about yoga. This was more of a generalized book about different types of yoga with a handful of case examples of people with various conditions like depression, PTSD, etc., than a practical guide to actual yoga poses. She also mentioned a few breathing and yoga techniques but did not describe them and kept saying people just needed to find a ...more
Rachel Burton
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, yoga, non-fiction
This is good. Very good. The more I reflect the more I genuinely believe that there is a very fine line between depression/fibromyalgia/ME. I can already feel that this book is going to make a big impact on both my yoga practice and my day-to-day thought patterns. It is not one of those flaky yoga books that tells you to heal yourself and flush your meds down the loo, but instead works on balance - the balance of meds/therapy/yoga/meditation. Learning to stop being your depression or your fibro ...more
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome! Read it when I was struggling with anxiety on the reccommendation of a yoga teacher friend of mine. This book dives into the ayurvedic & buddhist breakdowns of our make-up. Im a pitta...& vata at times...& now know exactly why I feel anxiety at times (Vata imbalance) or sluggish (kapha imabalance) or pissed off (PITTA imbalance) & what the heck to do to balance it all out. It is highly interesting & each person, even the most balanced person, can benefit from the knowledge ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful and complete book by a wonderful woman and yoga teacher. I have met Amy and taken Yoga workshops with her that are amazing. She knows her stuff and has extensive research to back her up. Great books if you like yoga or are looking to get yourself out of a slight depression without medication and use yoga to enhance your life.
Stephanie Fellenberg
This book is an awesome guide for people who suffer from depression and anxiety and want to be empowered to change the way they feel. I attended Amy's workshop at a conference last year and she is just amazing! ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
Great resource for yoga and depression. She tells stories from her own experience and from people she knows and has worked with. She also cites some case studies. It is and easy and compassionate read. It is well balanced between information and story, practice and practical suggestions.
Kate Lumsden
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
full of great information. not a book you want to race through but it shines a light on an area that's much needing it. ...more
Meg Dizzle
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
chose this book to do my final paper for Yoga school. This non fiction story is one of strength, determination and will power. Great read
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and informative read on the overall benefits of Yoga for those with depression. The techniques are truly helpful. My day often begins and ends with poses suggested by Ms. Weintraub.
H. V.
Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: yoga
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Bussinger
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-health, yoga
What a delightful book. Not just about depression, it's also a great resource for yoga teachers hoping to understand mental health, therapists looking to incorporate yoga, or people with depression, anxiety or PTSD hoping to get more emotional balance from their yoga practice.

Between this and Weintraub's other book, "Yoga Skills for Therapists," this is far superior. Some healers are just more gifted in explaining the philosophy than the how-to, and Weintraub is one of them. Her writing is info
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
My therapist loaned this to me, and I found it motivating for slowly picking up a bit of yoga practice that I'd dropped during a depressive episode. The author does some interesting mixing of personal anecdotes, Hindu philosophy, and medical studies about the effects of yoga, and I'll admit that I came away with a bit of skepticism. (Studies about yoga and health are notoriously tricky - small sample sizes, different things that are considered "yoga," hard-to-determine causation, etc.) But the g ...more
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
first of all--this is a treasure of a book regardless of whether you currently feel depressed or peaceful, angry or joyful. frankly it's a great find for anyone interested in learning about why people get such a natural high after taking a yoga class, and explains the changes in the biochemistry of the brain and endocrine systems while practicing certain postures. the author skillfully breaks down and recommends which poses to do based on whether you are trying to activate your tapas (inner fire ...more
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Good book, detailed, offers yoga poses after each chapter incorporating the theme of that chapter in the poses. A lot of resources are listed at the end which may be useful to readers. My favorite part was a short story near the end - one neighbor digs holes in his yard looking for water, only digging deep enough to look into the hole, he doesn't find water; while the other neighbor digs one hole very deeply and then finds water. Moral is to delve deeply into fewer projects and you'll ...more
Steph Fisher
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a good guide for using yoga as a stress-reliever & natural anti-depressant, even for those of who aren't clinically or seriously depressed. We all go through hard times. We all have those days when life seems pointless (right?). For me, practicing yoga gives me something tangible that I can DO to help my moods and keep my spirits up. The author provides a nice balance of yogic philosophy and modern medical research on how yoga can really help relieve depression.

May 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
The idea that yoga is a good treatment for depression is interesting, but I found this book poorly written, full of poorly sourced scientific claims, overly anti-medication and badly organized.
There is some useful information about types of postures and breathing exercises that can be activating or relaxing, depending on what you need. But it was hard to find amidst the rest of the meandering examples.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bodies-and-minds
Western medicine is starting to recognize (and validate, as though that were necessary) the benefits of yoga for controlling depression, as well as helping to decrease the effects of bipolar disorder and others.

This is a practical guide to employing yoga practice to change brain chemistry and feel better -- without drugs.
This is more of a written description of the use of yoga and meditation for responding to depression than a how too book that shows pictures to follow. There are some photos. But the reader would need the background of yoga lessons to find them useful.

I do really like the extended discussion of breathing and meditation.

All and all I highly recommend it.
H.A. Fowler
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone suffering from depression and interested in yoga
One of the best yoga books I've read in quite a while. It's a very broad overview of many of the benefits and paths of yoga all in the format of gentle care of the self and focusing on depression. I loved it and can't recommend it enough for people who struggle with depression or bipolar disorder! ...more
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Very slow read and I felt like she was repeating herself a lot. Bottom line is yoga is good for depression of all kinds if you can practice every day. I think I'd rather go see her speak/teach then read her book in future. ...more
Jenn Lambert
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
really wasn't what I was looking for. She kept recomending that you find a yoga instructor to show you things. not very helpful at all. The more I read of it, the less help I thought it was. finished it a little while ago, just forgot to add a review, and take it off my list. ...more
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
great book - tons of excellent ideas for on the mat and off - i love amy's real writing style and the way she incorporates a bit from all genres and isn't saying one form of yoga is better than all the others...... ...more
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Not quite what I was expecting I guess. I've already read tons about mindfulness and yoga and how it helps with anxiety and depression. I guess I was hoping for some sample pose sequences to practice during my daily yoga sessions. Something less theoretical and more practical. ...more
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Love this book. Great advice on how to take a natural path to mental wellness. Read it back in 2004 and am rereading it now. A beautiful and compassionate guide.
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
A really great take on yoga therapy from a Kripalu-educated instructor. The writing wasn't terrific, but it was caring and down-to-earth, and very knowledgeable regarding the subject of yoga. ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga
This is a brilliant book - it is not a "how to" book but encourages you to get on with it and start a daily yoga routine. It offers great insight into depression and ways to deal with it. ...more
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
such a good read with great ideas and basic poses to help improve mental health
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not fully sure how to rate this. For a while I was going to give this four stars and only omit the one star because I found the spiritual side of this book a little uncomfortable. I admit that I don't really know what to think about the spirituality of the yoga practice but the references to God and divinity made me a little uneasy. I let it be for now.

What I liked about this book was the deeply caring and compassionate writing style of the author. The way she wrote about yoga as a way to re
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Amy Weintraub is a pioneer in the yoga and mental health field and the bestselling author of Yoga for Depression, and Yoga Skills for Therapists. She is the recipient of the Allen Tate Memorial Award for the Short Story and a finalist for the William Faulkner Award for the Novel. Amy is proud to be both a teacher and student of yoga. A sought-after speaker, she's been interviewed on radio, podcast ...more

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