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Defining and Curing Depression: A Yogic Viewpoint

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.

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    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.

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    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.

    The Cause

    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.

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    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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    (Photo credit: Silhouette of a Man via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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