Yoga for Depression
¨Our being is a brilliant pattern of energies, a spectrum of possibilities. At every moment we have the capacity to experience the open dimension of what we are.¨ Ngakpa Chogyam and Khandro Dechen
¨Emotions are intelligent expressions of energy that can lead us to our awakened nature.¨ Reggie Ray
Depression, like any other emotion is not a problem. Depression is simply an expression of awakened energy.
With depression it is often difficult to turn towards the energy of the emotion because we are so wrapped up in the story and the judgments around the experience. Our entire being may hurt. We feel heavy, empty, stuck, weighted down, unable to move forward, like we are wrapped in darkness and shadow. We may feel a lack of interest and motivation and freeze under stress.
As we learned in the emotional awareness class, emotional awareness allows us to experience an emotion and let go into that direct experience. We can be immediately present with whatever emotion is experienced in a direct way. We can experience each emotion in a fresh and new way.
What is emotional awareness? It means being completely present and open with the emotion. With emotional awareness we are free in the experience of whatever emotion arises. Reggie Ray says, “When we let go of thoughts and judgments about depression, we can take the energy of depression as object as an object of mindfulness and it can liberate us from the reference points that cause us to suffer.” Reggie Ray
When we tune into the energy of depression it may appear to be an absence of energy. However, it is an incredibly powerful and potent energy. Depression is very dark, low, and empty. When we take the time to explore its energetic qualities we will find a lot of subtleties in our experience of it.
Usually, as my teacher Reggie Ray says, we cannot handle the intensity of the experience of the emotion of depression and so we check out of the embodied, energetic experience and we start thinking about it. We start judging it and telling ourselves stories about it. We tell ourselves stories of, “Poor me, what am I going to do about this, my life is empty, my life is meaningless, I am worthless, everybody else is happier than me, everybody else has their life more together than mine, everybody else is living a more meaningful life than me, I can’t do this.” All of the thinking and storytelling that goes on with depression is self-referential and feeds back to solidify an egoic sense of self that is empty, negative, dark and hopeless.
What my teacher Reggie Ray instructs us to do is to leave that storyline and thinking behind. Instead we drop into our bodies and the felt sensation of the emotional experience. It takes a great deal of courage to leave that sense of known self and storyline behind. Invite in the feeling of depression (not the storyline) just raw texture of depression, the feeling component of depression, the quality of energy, arising from your body. It takes courage. Feel the depression in your body, feel the weight of it in your body, roam around in your body and feel deeper into your body.
My teacher Reggie Ray says that when we get to know the energy and the embodied feeling of depression, there is an innate intelligence to it that leads us towards our unfolding journey. His teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, “Depression is the closest suffering state to enlightenment” What does that mean? Reggie explains that with the innate intelligence of depression we are seeing through the rainbows and unicorns overlay that normally glosses over our life keeping us distracted. We are seeing that there is something more to be discovered on our human journey.
Resrouce: Reggie Ray Depression is a Gateway
Nancy Liebler and Sandra Moss Healing Depression the Mind Body Way
Thank you so much for your donations :
Donna, Cornelia, Donna from Oklahoma, Christine, Hilary, and Phyllis (thanks for all your comments).
At the beginning I told you I would give you a resource to tell you the signs of depression.
Today’s class is about depression. Depression is a serious mental health issue that will affect 11% of men and 16% of women in Canada in their lifetime.
If you are unsure if you have depression then download the signs of depression for Health Canada’s List of 8 Signs of Depression & their recommendations for treatment.
If you are looking for my best yoga class for depression then I highly recommend my 50 minute Yoga for Depression class in my membership community: