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A Yogi’s Confession about Depression

I’m no expert on #depression, probably because I have been in denial about it for so many years. But to be very candid with you, I have suffered from depression most of my life, and certainly from my teen years.

I am slowly realising, finally! At the age of 47 that I hold a deep sense of shame around my ‘depressive episodes’ and my emotions.

People are often incredulous when I share about this - incredulous because I come across as so independent, strong and capable (which I am) and sometimes, more crassly, because apparently I should have nothing to be depressed about (I think the latter is just common ignorance and most people who have had depression get this one thrown at them).

Is it any wonder that I - we? - find this emotional landscape a very difficult space to be in? I tend to seek the ‘doing,’ or adopt avoidance tactics, in order not have to inhabit that space.

But I think I have deepened into my decision to begin to start acknowledging my depression as clearly and plainly as I can, as I have always encouraged others to do. I can often be heard telling my kids that emotions are there for a reason and that accepting them and sharing them is the foundation to mental health. Similarly with my students I always remind us in class to return to the inner landscape, not notice what is arising and to welcome it.

The more I practise witnessing what arises through my yoga practice the more I realise how I have striven not to share my shadows because of the shame I hold around my often turbulent and dark emotional landscape. So now it is time for me to dismantle this shame, for me, for my children and for my students.

Today in this time-lapse video, I am sharing my morning practice which was a kriya (yogic exercise set) for Green Energy and Opportunity - a set that opens the heart centre which is, of course, the centre that shuts down when we are depressed.

The set begins with spinal flexes and body drops - moving energy from the lower centres, or chakras, along the spine (chakras correspond physically with the glandular system although they are energy centres and not organs. There is a close relationship between the glandular system and depression).

Then I did some running on the spot which became dancing (a Steph deviation from the kriya) and then crow pose with breath of fire, kundalini lotus with breath of fire and Trea Kriya with the chant ONG SOHUNG (‘I am aligned with my true source, Infinite Consciousness’).

At this stage the kriya moves into more energy healing and heart energy generating poses. I finished with chanting.

You see the reality of this legacy of mental health is that I need to manage the ebbs and flows of it in a very practical way, mainly as my daily practice. Every morning I need to re-set myself and by the end of my practice my heart is open again. Every so often I undertake a 40 or 90 day sadhana (specific, repeated spiritual practice).

So this sharing is a first step I am taking into taking ownership of this shadow of depression. I fully admit to some spiritual bypass previously on this, the shame of depression means that our society encourages always this positive, look-on-the-bright-side trope but that is just not available to everyone if they were never programmed to manage their emotions healthily in the first place. Yes, we have a degree of neuroplasticity and the ability to change but you just can’t bypass the witnessing and acknowledging stage of the healing. So in I dive.

I really hope to share more of this journey of sharing and de-stigmatisation with you.

I added the music on the video just to remind me and you to yes, be the witness and then - let it go, maybe with a smile maybe even with humour. Offer it up, lay it at the feet; Ong Sohung.

Please feel free to comment below how you manage your more tricky emotional landscapes - the more we share the more we heal #community #connection #sangha #sangat #ongsohung #anxiety #healing

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