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Defining and Curing Depression: A Yogic Viewpoint
Various yogic and ayurvedic texts look upon depression as a state of mind, that, it is not a physical ailment, nor a neurological disorder. That, it is strictly a condition of the mind. External factors and incidents can cause profound damage to one’s mental state, self-esteem and identity. It is that damage to the mind that translates into physical symptoms of depression, among many other ailments.
Please note that by yogic texts I am not just alluding to those texts that talk about asanas, body postures, alone. Body postures form a tiny part of the overall system of yoga. By yoga, I mean well being of the consciousness, of soul, of mind and body. In fact, the Sanskrit word yoga means, to join, to become one. It is the process of joining individual consciousness with the all-pervading Supreme Consciousness.
I have known many people who suffered from depression; some were affected so severely that they quit their jobs and virtually locked themselves in their homes, almost like solitary confinement. When one is affected by depression, the kith and kin experience it too. But all the others in the family have to cope because if they start to express their own depressed state, the patient suffers even more.
The Yogic Perspective
Today, I am going to share with you about depression from the yogic and ayurvedic standpoint. Ayurveda is India’s ancient medical science, where all treatments are based on natural herbs, minerals and metals alone. However, please note that I am not a medical but a meditation specialist. My perspective here is based on my years of yogic kriya, practices, study of the yogic texts and thousands of hours of intense and secluded meditation.
According to yogic and vedic texts, you have three bodies, namely, sthula sarira, gross body, sukshama sarira, subtle body, and, karana sarira, causal body. Your gross body is made from flesh and bones. Your subtle body is made from your consciousness. And the causal body is made from your soul (read Self or Mind). On the causal body rests both the gross and subtle bodies.
Modern medical science claims that depression, especially clinical depression, is caused due to imbalance in such neurotransmitters as serotonin etc in the brain. And that, such imbalance can cause stress, indisposition, mood swings, loss of appetite and so forth. That is not the view shared by Ayurveda or yoga though; it propounds exactly the opposite in fact. Most ailments of the physical body are not actually the cause, they are merely the symptoms. They emerge when consciousness is polluted, when one has gone through emotional turmoil, a period of mental stress and unfulfillment.
Denial of your basic emotional, psychological, and physical needs in life, not allowing yourself room to play, false and vain affirmations that you are okay when you are not actually okay, continuing to accept mental, emotional or physical abuse in a relationship against your will, all these take a serious toll on your consciousness, it greatly affects the health of your mind and soul. And when these two are affected, it is expressed in the body through the form of diseases. Such diseases that may range from blood pressure to brain tumor, from common cold to clinical depression, basically, from the most simple ailment to the terminal condition.
Just like when you are unhappy internally, you may express it through your words and gestures, similarly, when your soul is unhappy, unwell, it often expresses itself by way of ailments in the physical body. Trying to cure a disease in the physical body is only treating the symptom. Let’s assume that someone is suffering from cancer but they don’t know yet. They also get bouts of severe headaches as a side-effect. If they keep taking pain-killers for headache, they will only get a temporary relief. Because headache is just the symptom and not the cause. Ultimately, it is cancer that must be treated to permanently get rid of the headaches. In much the same manner, tending to the needs of your soul and consciousness can help you overcome just about any disease in the physical body.
Coming Out of Depression
Depending on the severity of the depression, there are certain steps that can be taken to flush it out of your system forever. Those steps involve taking care of your physical, subtle and causal bodies.
Your mental state is a product of your desires, emotions, beliefs and thoughts. Your physical body is greatly affected by the state of your mind. With certain yogic practices, if you work on the mind, you can amaze yourself by healing yourself, by unlocking your hidden potential you never knew you had. If you work on the three aspects, that is — body, consciousness and soul, you will see tangible results within a period of twenty eight days. Doing it continuously for forty days will stabilize the energies. (To gain a better understanding of the actual practices for the three aspects and for an in-depth understanding, you can read up on a post here.)
Most yogic practices take six months to show their full effect. So, doing it for six consecutive months can help you get rid of your depression all the while transforming your state of consciousness and the spin of your chakras. You will stand completely healed.
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