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The journal of a depressed yogi

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

Yoga transforming challenging times. I feel fine, actually I do not feel fine. It can change moment to moment.

Here is a journal entry from April 21, 2018 - Nelson BC

"How do we feel fine in this big messy world? How do we sit with all the pain when the pain hurts so much it feels like daggers? I am having a hard time writing in my journal. I feel sad and so tired. I feel like my thoughts are unraveling and I am beginning to sink into fear. I have been trying to organise more things in the home and that does make me feel good. Most of the time I have no idea what I am doing. I seemed to think I knew where I was going with developing "Yoga Worry Away" and now I am not so sure. My experience with a yoga teacher I admired has fallen apart and I feel let down and disappointed. I know I disappointed her too. I have been listening to Brene Brown and one of her quotes is; " There is courage to tell your story with your whole heart." I try but I realise that I am not ok, I am not fine. As I walked in a walking meditation today I began to come to what I was feeling. I walked in bare feet and at first I noticed the coolness, then I began to feel grateful for this coolness. I then began to thank mother earth. I then began to notice my own being of how I am a mother, then I noticed the feeling in my heart. My heart thought brought me to how I am a mother to my daughters. I then remembered Karuna's words of how trusting the practice of yoga and staying in my seat. It helped. " I am so grateful to have this wonderful woman and friend in my life.

According to the research from College of Ayurveda in California there are three main kinds of depression and it effects each person differently. Whether you experience depression or someone you know and love, the symptoms can be extreme but most of the time quite subtle. To name a few;

  • Being sad, some become quiet and others my cry more.

  • Eating habits change, either lack of eating or eating too much.

  • Sleeping very little of sleeping too much

  • Lack of interest in life.

  • Less interest in social relationships, work and things typically enjoyed.

  • Difficulty in retention and comprehension.

  • Loneliness, especially in elderly.

When you read my journal entry, many of these symptoms stand out. There is constant questioning and change in that small page of writing. I began to turn to Ayurveda to help me re-group when things feel so overwhelming and so uncertain. This entry was three years ago! The world is more messier than ever, yet I am handling my life with more ease.... most days. I thought I would share the Ayurvedic view of the how to find more balance during times of change which really is more apparent in the fall and winter season.

When we feel very depressed this is a VATA imbalance. Vata is related to the element of air. The fall and winter increase the element of ether, resulting in a constant feeling of emptiness. Vata dosha's tend to always having a feeling of emptiness and this is also considered for treatment when women experience postpartum depression. When the baby is born there literally is an empty space where the Mother kept baby safe through development in the womb. Coming into fall and winter with the time change as well as darker days vata dosha is increased and there can be an overwhelming feeling of deep sadness.

The treatment for this imbalance is a bit simpler than those who have a KAPHA imbalance. With Vata the Oja's ( level of contentment) is low and the Prana (recognized in Ayurveda as spirtual light) is also low. Therefor the treatment is to treat oja's first and prana second. Key ways to treat vata imbalance, remembering that it is really important to BUILD UP YOUR OJA'S FIRST. When our oja's are low you feel less loved, even when other offer love to you. Begin by asking from your loved ones that you are feeling this way. You can also build oja's by offering your help to others which builds others oja's and also yours.

  • eat nourishing foods, think of warm soup, stews, root veggies.

  • raise the oja's first, with mediation, RESTORATIVE yoga and focus on self-care.

  • treat your self to a relaxation massage and self abhyanga massage.

  • get lots of rest.

  • introduce pranayama into your day such as alternate nostril pranayama.

  • when oja's are low you feel less loved, take time to bring in more ways for self-love.

The element for kapha is earth, think of moist and heavy. When kapha individuals feel imbalances they will become quiet but when pushed to do more in their life will become very sad and cry more. Persistent depressed individual and Bipolar individual's fit into the kapha dosha when both oja's and prana are disturbed. This individual lives in a constant low state and energy can fluctuate from very low and then to a bit higher.. Therefor the oja's tend to be a little higher than the prana. When we add on the fluctuation in fall with wind, rain, snow and time change the kapha indivudual can bring more balance the following ways;

  • each nourishing foods, think of warm soup, stews, root veggies.

  • oja's and prana can be treated equally. Gentle yoga and walking during the brightest time of the day. Restorative yoga is always a wonderful practice no matter how you feel!

  • treat your self to a relaxation massage and self abhyanga massage.

  • add oils that are uplifting into your daily self abyanga massage such as; jasmine, rose, honeysuckle. (Not recommended for Vata since nervous system is more delicate.)

  • introduce pranayama into your day such as alternate nostril prayanama. and also add oils that support prana such as sandlewood.

I hope that this brings a little light to your day. Know that you are not alone, and that it is ok not to feel fine. Know that you can speak about your highs and lows, cry or not cry, be sad or feel like you need time with others or alone. We all deal with life are own unique ways. One moment, one breath and one day at a time.

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