By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Coping with depression is not easy, and severe depression is truly a tough road to travel. Yet, Yoga training contains many alternative methods to lift your spirits beside Laughter Yoga. Hatha Yoga has many aspects, which will aid anyone in times of depression. A Yoga teacher is not a substitute for a psychiatrist, but Yogic practices are beneficial for a holistic approach to mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional health.
One way to lift your spirits is to practice asanas, which will raise your endorphin levels. Endorphins are hormone-like substances. Endorphins naturally occur, within your body, containing amino acids, which attach to receptors, and stop pain signals to the brain. Chocolate could also raise your endorphin levels, but chocolate should be consumed in moderation. Otherwise, over consumption of chocolate, which contains plenty of fat, may result in taking on the shape of a truffle.
Attending regular classes will keep your mind, body, emotions, and spirit, occupied, while doing constructive tasks. This will draw the positive energy of your Yoga teacher and the class into your being. If you cannot find a Yoga class with the level of positive energy you desire, keep looking because there are many different types of Yoga.
The socialization factor, which occurs before, during, and after a Yoga class, will also take your mind off your problems. Many people benefit emotionally through social activities. The entire structure of a class allows you to purge negative energy from the core of your being. If you feel depressed often, self-analysis may not be in your best interest. Your therapist, close friends, and family will most likely be your best sounding boards. It is very unhealthy to keep your emotions locked up.
Therefore, you may have to allow yourself to cry. Believe me – it is not comfortable for any of us to cry, so you may want some solitary time to purge your body and mind by crying. When we lose a loved one, most of us cannot stop crying. Regardless of the problem, crying is a temporary release. We cannot cry forever, but crying can help. In Bhakti (Union by devotion to God), we learn to open the connection to God. There are sectarian Yoga classes for every religion on earth. Regardless of your particular religion – prayer, devotion to God, and giving to others, will help you.
When you feel sorry for yourself, look at the poor, and see what you can do to help. Even if all you can give is your time, you are helping someone who needs it. You will suddenly feel better because your acts of kindness are appreciated. You can visit a temple, shrine, church, mosque, synagogue, or Holy Ground, to realize how you might be able to help others. Helping others is one of the most uplifting tasks you will ever do, because you will feel self-worth and gratification.
© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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