As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, yoga “is a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation.”
The ancient practice of yoga has been shown to have psychological benefits for both healthy people and those with a psychiatric disorder, such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). A 2010 Boston University School of Medicine study found that yoga may be more effective than other forms of exercise in its positive effect on mood and anxiety.
Because mood swings are a common symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder, yoga can be a great form of treatment for people with BPD. Yoga and meditation help cut through the clutter in your mind, and help you focus on the present. Yoga postures help pump more oxygen into your body, which can help to strengthen your immune function.
Yoga can be a great supplement to therapy for BPD treatment, and is often included as a holistic therapy at BPD treatment centers. There are various types of yoga that can be effective in managing the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Kundalini yoga has been found to be quite effective in abating symptoms in people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder, and is promising for helping to manage the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
“Kundalini” refers to untapped energy, or prana, at the base of the spine (also called the Muladhara chakra in yoga terminology). Practicing Kundalini techniques can free up the trapped energy, which rises through the spine and reaches Sahasrara chakra, located at the top of our head. Once this energy reaches the topmost chakra, it awakens the soul and soothes the spirit.
Kundalini is both physically and mentally intense. It is also more spiritual in nature as sessions generally involve chanting hymns. Apart from poses, sessions comprise a set of special breathing techniques called pranayama. A typical session ends with meditation and chanting.
If you’re looking for a yoga supplement for your BPD treatment, the Sudarshan kriya is also something you can choose. Developed by the founder of the Art of Living (AOL), the Sudarshan kriya combines yoga and breathing. It has been shown to relieve symptoms of depression.
To learn the Sudarshan kriya, you will be required to enroll in one of the various courses offered by the non-profit AOL foundation. Besides the kriya, the courses involve various activities that help individuals take their mind off the daily grind and be in the moment. Participants are also introduced to the AOL philosophy.
A kriya session is typically an hour long. However, there are shorter 30-minute variations that can be practiced at home.
Cautionary note: While yoga has its benefits, you should not start practicing yoga at home in the absence of a trained supervisor. Some yoga asanas can be physically strenuous, and you should not perform them until you have your doctor’s green light. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, then it’s a good idea to discuss that with your yoga teacher.
If you are enrolled in a BPD treatment center that offers yoga therapy, it may be a good idea to try it there first. The yoga instructors will engage you in a way that will enhance your treatment, and you will get a good idea of if yoga is something you would like to continue once you have completed BPD treatment.