01/16/2015 05:35 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 10:59 EST

Using Yoga To Battle Seasonal Affective Disorder

Linda Malone

Feeling down about the weather is more likely to make you curl up into a tiny ball rather than stretch out your arms and legs.

Seasonal affective disorder — or SAD — is a type of clinical depression that affects people during the fall and winter months. And if you're experiencing SAD, it may be more than just feeling crummy about freezing temperatures and dark days. This mental illness can even change your appetite, weight and sleeping patterns.

Treatments for SAD vary depending on the person, but taking 10 minutes out of the day for yourself is a good way for anyone to de-stress. Not only does exercise improve your energy levels and mood, but studies have shown people with SAD who exercise are more likely to feel better about the "winter blues," according to

Linda Malone, founder of Blu Matter Project, a nonprofit that offers free yoga classes for people suffering from SAD and other mental health issues, says yoga is one outlet that can slowly help you improve your focus and mood.

"Alongside a healthy lifestyle and diet, mindfulness practices are strongly correlated with both positive structural and functional changes in the brain," she says.

Three years ago, Malone's younger brother committed suicide after struggling with bipolar disorder. On a hunt to understand her brother's condition, she created a space for people to practice yoga at Toronto studio IAM Yoga.

Below, Malone shows us three moves that will help with both creating a clear mind and working towards battling SAD.

"The postures improve circulation, the breathing oxygenates the brain and the final posture supports and stabilizes the nervous system (which tempers your stress response)," she says.

Photo gallery 10 Facts About Seasonal Affective Disorder See Gallery