Depression, melancholy, lethargy, apathy, fatigue or disorientated states of mood can affect anyone of us. In order to treat this symptoms medicine offers a variety of psychotropic drugs that are about to cure these diseases. Yoga poses on the other hand are said to be a natural way of returning to the emotional balance - through the practice of asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises). The practice of yoga, like any other physical activity, increases the level of serotonin (hormone of happiness) and allows us to find the purpose in life and giving it a meaning by creating a desire to experience life more.
IN YOGA SUFFERING FROM MELANCHOLY, MISERY, SADNESS AND DEPRESSION IS DIVIDED INTO TWO CATEGORIES:
1. Dominated by tamas. It is a guna responsible for lethargy, stability and stillness.
Such people are lazy, apathetic and experience constant sense of hopelessness. A sunken chest, limp arms and hollow eyes characterizes their bodies. Their breath is very shallow, weak and barely perceptible. From the yoga point of view thamasic people lack of vital energy - prana. Such people should perform positions that allow them to breathe deeply.
The most recommendable sequence is "Sun Salutation" that shouldn’t be exhaustive, but slow and easy to deeper breathing and move the "prana" (vital energy) within the body. The most important thing of this sequence is to focus on the movement and breathing. Finding adjustment of the body in these positions is less important.
Next highly recommended positions are backbends - but not exceeded. Be aware that exceeded backbends can increase anxiety and nervousness. When you practice properly, the body corresponds to the secretion of the hormone of happiness – serotonin.
2. Dominated by rajas. It is a guna responsible for a mode of action.
This is a very common type of depression. Such people have a rigid body, overly excited mind and are very chaotic. They experience changeable mood very often prone to anger. They have a problem with a full, calm exhalation. Often with no reason they have a feeling of fear and anxiety.
The most recommended practice for this group of people is a dynamic practice that will burn excess of their nervous energy. The sequence should be as intense as the need of a body to reach a fulfillment in the form of relaxation. Be careful when working with the body not to force it and don’t use this form of practice as a permanent way to discharge anger within yourself. The main goal of a practice is to keep a concentration for a long time.
Here, similar as the tamas group of people backbends are highly recommended. It is also beneficial to perform any relaxation positions however remember if any dark thoughts appear within your mind keep your eyes open and focus on your breath. Pranayama and meditation stimulates the left hemisphere of the brain, allowing you to feel greater peace and happiness so try to add it at the beginning or end of your practice. (try for example Nadi Shodana pranayama-of-a-week-nadi-shodana-or-alternate-nostril-breathing.html or Simhasana which you can find it a next post)
To achieve the necessary balance is good to perform reverse positions that organize the endocrine system. Especially important is the balance between the serotonin and melatonin secretion. If there is too much of serotonin within your body you’ll get a feeling of joy if there is less melatonin the feeling of drowsiness and helplessness fades away.
During yoga practice, our attention is directed towards inside of our body and there is no room for thinking about things of everyday life. Which, as a result calms the mind down and relaxes it. Regular practice of yoga and pranayama teaches us to achieve a state of absolute happiness and as a practice can be a very useful to deal with any problems starting with constant feeling of cold, fatigue, stress, misery up to anger and depression. Of course I do not urge you to withdraw of any medication you take but I just would like to propose you those methods to try them, feel them and see their effect on yourself.
1. Ayurveda and the Mind by David Frawley
2. Yoga and Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization by David Frawley