Yoga Therapy for Depression

Dear yoga community,

I have experienced depression on and off since I was a teenager, and these last few months pulled me back into the darkness of depression, hopelessness, apathy and lethargy again.

I have been teaching on yoga and depression for several years now, and I remember telling students yoga has not made the experience of depression go away. Yoga has changed my relationship to depression though, and I am reminded of my words as I navigate this struggle again.

This time as I met the depression, which is very different than my old pattern of fighting it, I allowed myself to do less. I let myself sleep more and do less cooking. I took more naps and more baths. My yoga practice was more savasana (corpse pose) than any other asana. My meditation was about getting to know the sensations of depression instead of being caught up in the thoughts (i.e. when is this going to stop? Am I ever going to feel like myself again? I have to do more.). The sensations were heavy, foggy and curled up in a tight ball. I cried more and asked for support more.

As I emerge from this dark place, I am again reminded of the power of my practice. Yoga and meditation did not make the depression go away, but it did help me navigate it with kindness, acceptance and awareness. My practice helped me ride the wave until the wave changed. The wave is changing now. I am not sleeping as much. I am motivated to do things I love (i.e. movement, writing newsletters, creating workshops, playing with my dog, etc.), and the sensations in my body feel lighter, more expansive and energized.

As the lightness returns to my body and mind I am moved to share with others the power of yoga and meditation for depression and other challenges we face as human beings. I am looking forward to offering monthly 2-hour workshops on yoga therapy for a particular challenge. This month’s focus will be depression.

If you feel the darkness of depression is taking ahold in your life this might be the perfect way to spend a Friday evening.Go here to learn more and register for the Friday, January 22 workshop (or look ahead at other topics we will cover in the next few months). If the workshop does not work for you or you want support for your individual and unique experience contact me for a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation to see if yoga therapy may be a good fit for you.

I bow to the light and darkness that resides in all of us,