The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality ...
The six tenets of Yoga of Recovery are:
- Life is Longing;
- Life is Prana;
- Life is Relationship;
- Life is Sweet;
- Life is Love; and
- Life is Progress.
Life is Prana, our second focus point in Yoga of Recovery – prana gives a feeling a vitality, lack of prana is described as depression, lethargy, lack of enthusiasm. We teach hatha yoga, breathing exercises, nutrition, sense therapies and EFT to help manage our prana.
We ingest prana, at the gross level, through food, heat, liquids and air (breath) and, on a subtle level, through sensory impressions (predominantly the senses related to air and ether: sound and touch). We need prana, and when our food, water and air are polluted, processed and devitalized, when we are removed from nature and bombarded with sensory stimuli, our prana is disturbed. When we are under stress we shift into the fight or flight response and our breathing becomes fast and shallow. This further disturbs the flow of prana and our body’s reserves of this life-force, which can lead to fatigue and exacerbate muscle tension in addition to creating a feeling of emptiness that somehow needs to be filled. We experience Pranic challenges:
1. If we are energy/prana-deficient we seek stimulation.
2. If we are hyperactive and constantly on the go, we seek sedation.
3. If the flow of prana is blocked and we are in pain, we self-medicate.
4. If we are under stress, we often seek instant gratification through our senses.
These coping mechanisms: stimulation, sedation, medication and instant gratification, are fully supported and even encouraged in our modern world of overdrive and hyper sensory stimulation. The short-term pain relief created, however, is outweighed by the long-term progression of disturbed prana that can lead to depression, mental stagnation, denial and addiction.
Writer, Andrew Solomon talks about depression in this TED talk - we know depression through metaphors – language and paintings. Andrew takes you to the darkest corners of his mind during the years he battled depression. That led him to an eye-opening journey across the world to interview others with depression — only to discover that, to his surprise, the more he talked, the more people wanted to tell their own stories. He says “Depression is the flaw in love…”
“I became much more tolerant of the vast world of alternative treatments”