Some Yoga teachers chose to talk about philosophical questions in their Yoga classes, because Yoga is not primarily an exercise but a philosophy. I’m hesitant with these so-called Dharma talks but recently I felt the need for one.
Some weeks ago Chris Cornell (singer, songwriter) died. He decided to set an end to his life. He had depression. In my opinion, this is a mental condition that you can never be cured from completely. There are times that are darker and times that are lighter.
Yoga is one way to support you when you are struggling with depression. It does not replace therapy or medication. Please be honest with yourself and seek every help that you need and that you can get. Yoga can be one helping party. It gives you the opportunity to explore your body and (re-)connect to yourself. Often, we have a certain picture of ourselves in our mind.
The philosophy of Yoga consists of the eight-limbed path (Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhiyana, Samadhi), which offers orientation how to achieve a Yogic state of mind (=peaceful, ultimately enlightenment). One of the Niyamas is Svadiyaya, which means self-study/-observation. Through non-judgmental observation we learn more about ourselves and who we really are. Yoga puts us face to face with our physical limitations and emotional strings to the past that keep holding us back or weighing us down. Ultimately, we find a safe space in Yoga to acknowledge those limitations and feelings but at the same time letting go of them to evolve, to loosen up our boundaries. Both in our bodies and our minds. This is not an easy process. It takes courage and openness. But it is based on the simple principle of: inhale – let, exhale – go.
A regular Yoga practice will not heal your depression, probably nothing will do. But it helps you to acknowledge your current state of body and mind and who you are. Gaining self-respect and self-love is one important step to happiness.
Be grateful to yourself for coming to your mat today.