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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 December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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