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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 January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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