Yoga and depression

depression1600x1200If you’ve never experienced depression, then much of what I am going to say won’t make sense to you. Or maybe you can use it to understand somebody close to you who experiences it, because it certainly has a way of reaching out and effecting others.

When I talk about experiencing depression , I’m not talking about the normal sadness that people experience from time to time. Perhaps after losing a loved one or during a particularly difficult time such as the dark days that followed the attacks of 9/11. I’m talking about depression that reached out and settles itself into all the nooks and crannies of your being and sucks the life out of, well, life.

See, the horrible reality of depression is that nothing is actually wrong. It’s the same life you’ve been living for some time period leading up the episode. And then, just like that, everything about it is awful. Just bone crushingly awful. For me, I would poke around for a while and try to fix this or that or blame my husband for not being some other way than the way he’d been for the entire time I’d known him. That never went well.

The next phase would be a patch of resignation where yes life sucks but there’s really nothing to do about it but survive until it’s over. This is the phase where I start jettisoning things that I see as responsibilities and just sit and do whatever I feel like doing. Which is usually nothing.

Years of practice have taught me that all the fixing and changing and jettisoning don’t actually do anything except upset the people around me and make me feel worse. And that’s where my yoga practice comes in. It’s important to understand that when I’m in that dark place, the very LAST thing I want to do is a yoga practice on my mat. So I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about being. Just be. That’s the essence of yoga. The thing under all the movements and accouterments.

When I can connect with my being, then nothing is wrong. Connecting with who I am right in this very moment, then there can’t possibly be anything wrong. Who I am has nothing to do with how I look or what I do for a living or who I’m married to or where I live or whether my kids have cleaned the kitchen. Who I am is eternal and universal. It just is. Nothing to fix. Nothing to jettison.

Settling into that place has done more to draw me away from the darkness than anything else. Try it. Even if you’re not depressed. Just being is a nice experience.  Now, go be.

Categories: Health

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