"Crying is one of the highest spiritual practices. One who knows crying knows yoga." - Swami Kripalu
Depression is a difficult experience for anyone who has experienced it, including those who are close to loved ones that live with it.
It can feel heavy, heartbreaking, and at times numbing.
Sometimes it means staying in bed until early afternoon or skipping meals, maybe not sleeping at all and feeling like there is no point in trying.
This is not an ideal way to live.
I have been in the depths of depression more times than I'd like to remember. I've seen it negatively affect my life in so many ways. However, it also showed me the true essence of joy.
Yoga is one of the best ways to address depression because it allows us to move stagnant energy in the mind & body.
The yogic view of depression is seen as a constriction in the emotional body that then impacts the physical body. The practices of yoga remove these constrictions, physically & emotionally, so then we feel a connection to a sense of wholeness & something larger than ourselves - even if it's only for a moment.
If you experience depression & are thinking about starting a yoga practice know that it will look different for everyone. Laying on your mat & breathing for five minutes is a beautiful approach to understanding the deeper layers of self.
A physical yoga practice does not have to be full of postures or fancy moves, in fact, it's better to respect whatever emotion you are experiencing than try to perfect your physical posture.
It is about cultivating a safe and sacred container.
It is a space where you are able to be free from the external world.
Allow feelings to flow on the yoga mat, move the stagnation, release obstacles, and allow the nervous system to experience relief using the breath.
When struggling with depression it is important to meet the initial feeling with gentle, slow movements and gradually increase dynamic motion. Keep the movements simple & go at your own pace.
Whatever emotion comes up for you, remember to meet yourself with kindness & self-compassion.