What is depression?
Yoga for Depression. In my opinion, 99% of all depression is self-created. Only 1% seems to be pathologically. I count myself among the 99%. Before a shitstrom breaks lose, let me explain.
Think about your own situation. How do you feel when you are sitting in your hole again? Lost? Unloved? Alone? Overwhelmed? Discouraged? Powerless? But what else is there? Are you hoping that someone will come and hug you or show you pity and tell you how poor you are and that you cannot do anything about it? That's what I think depression is self-created.
Note: I was classified as clinically depressed by the age of 16, so I write this blog post with experience and with the empathy of someone who has gone through all these feelings, situations and relationships. It is not my intention to offend anyone. I just describe my point of view and the approaches that helped me find my way out of depression after 6 years.
A Pattern of our childhood
Already in our childhood, our subconscious mind learns that it is a great thing to be ill. You do not have to go to school, your mother takes care of you, you are allowed to watch TV all day long and you get an extra portion of attention from everyone. That sounds like the life of a king or queen. The subconscious mind remembers this and begins to produce disease so that we are cared for again. Therefore we learn this pattern in our childhood and then carry it into our adulthood.
As an adult, however, no cold is big enough to get the attention of our partner, our friends or our family. That is why it needs something bigger, e.g. a full-blown depression. Do not get me wrong: you do not consciously and deliberately create your depression. Your subconscious mind does this for you to fulfill your deeper needs such as closeness, affection or love.
Depression needs strength
You show an incredible strength to throw yourself into depression. You create very strong thoughts and emotions - but unfortunately in the wrong direction, because these thoughts and emotions work against you.
Get out of depression with the help of Yoga
If you do not have strong feelings, you cannot be depressed. Using techniques of Yoga, you can learn to control your mind in a certain way. Learn how to can create feelings and emotions that will serve you, instead of letting you fall deeper into your hole.
Yoga for depression - Asanas
Asanas (physical exercises) that help with depression:
Ardha Matsyendrasana (half spinal twist) stretches the muscles in the back and stimulates the internal organs and adrenal glands by putting pressure on the stomach. Deep breathing reduces stress.
Kandharasana (shoulder pose) relieves tension in the lower back, stimulates digestion and opens the heart and lung region. This asana helps to find creative solutions and express your own needs.
Virabhadrasana 1 (warrior 1) stretches and strengthens the abdomen and strengthens the chest and arms. Through the heart-opening stretch, you gain strength to be confident and powerful.
Parvatasana (mountain pose) stimulates the blood flow in the brain and brings clarity and inner strength. It relieves fatigue and mild depression. It calms body and mind.
Yoga for depression - Pranayama (breathing exercises)
Prana is life energy or life force. With the help of pranayama, we can increase the life energy in us and stimulate the entire energy flow. When you catch your breath or even hold your breath, it's time to sit down and breathe calmly and deeply. It's best you set a fixed time every day for your regular breathing exercises. You can just practice calm and deep breathing. This will give you serenity and confidence.
You can also go one step further and practice Alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana). Here you find a detailed guide. Alternate nostril breathing cleanses all energy channels and harmonizes female and male (light-dark, warm-cold, sun-moon) energies in your body and mind. It makes you balanced and calmer.
Yoga for depression - Meditation
In classical meditation, we try to calm the mind and stop all thought impulses. This true form of meditation is NOT recommended for people with depression. The risk of losing oneself in your own mind game and falling deeper into feelings like fear or loneliness is too great.
For depression, you can do a guided fantasy journey (falsely also called guided meditation - you will find many videos on Youtube) or practice Metta meditation.
Impurities in body and mind
If our digestive fire does not work well, undigested food can accumulate in the tissue (Dhatus). These impurities are called Ama and can cause both physical and energetic blockages. Above all, blockages on the mental level are built up through undigested emotions, terrible experiences and stress. The energy can no longer flow freely and diseases arise.
Cleaning techniques for depression
To release these blockages, we need to cleanse our body and mind. On the materialistic level, we can do that with a Panchakarma cure. However, this should only be done under professional guidance. If you have neither the time nor the money for such a cure, you can still do something. The ayurvedic spice mixture Trikatu stimulates the digestive fire and burns Ama. The spice consists of pippali (long pepper), maricha (black pepper) and shunti (ground ginger) and can be used for cooking. Blockages are released and the energy can flow freely again.
Yoga for depression - A healthy diet
Another important step is not to add more impurities to the body. A change in diet away from heavily-processed, artificial and unhealthy foods towards fresh, nutritious and healthy foods is needed. Even a vegetarian diet is recommended - especially in depression. In addition to antibiotics, meat also contains a whole range of stress hormones that are produced during slaughter. These can cause aggression, anxiety, and depression in the human body.
Sportive activity for depression
In yoga, it is further assumed that a large part of today's depression is caused by too much food and too little exercise. In order to maintain the chemical balance in the body, it is extremely important to move the body. From generation to generation the physical exercise is decreasing and more and more people lose themselves in a sulk. One of the easiest steps to get out of depression is, therefore, to do sports - especially outdoors. Already as a child, we should regularly be outdoors and come in contact with all the elements (earth, water, air, fire, and space).
Self-love and nature
When worries and fears once again gain the upper hand, we speak of a Vata imbalance in Ayurveda. There is an excess of air and space in our body. To regain balance, it helps to go into nature and seek contact with the earth (walking barefoot, gardening). A walk in the woods will calm your nerves and your mind.
Finally, I would like to say some word about self-love. I know how hard it is to feel positive about yourself during the dark hours. Much easier is to condemn yourself and reject entire parts of yourself. It is very important to accept yourself as you are and to learn to love yourself again. Try this first in your good hours and extend the feeling of self-love slowly and steadily into the dark phases. Remember, you have to love yourself before you can truly love someone else.
I wish you a lot of strength and the ability to question your own thought patterns as well as the ability to find out which needs truly lie behind you depression (see above "What is depression?").
Leave us a comment and tell us how to deal with depression and what helps you
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