Monthly Archives: May 2015

I think these days most of us have had some experience with depression, either personally or through someone we know. For me, depression reared its ugly head in my late teens and initially I didn’t even notice. I just didn’t really like myself, so a combination of low self esteem and depressive thoughts affected who I was. I always felt low, I avoided social situations where I could and where I couldn’t I would drink alcohol to get me through. Not a great idea considering it’s a depressor! Depressed people generally have a lack of interest in things they once found pleasure in with lethargy and introversion being commonplace, so I should have seen the signs but when you’re in that dark place its sometimes difficult to see that there even could be a way out because it becomes who you are. I muddled through various treatments including medication, CBT and therapy. For a while I would feel better but inevitably I would find myself sinking back into the dark hole of depression. I came to yoga while traveling and sought it out as a way to improve my tight hamstrings, but now, four years since my last bout of depression I have yoga and meditation to thank for the change. This has led me to thinking about how yoga helped to heal me and what would the best practices be if one of my students asked me to suggest ways to help. Yoga is thought to modulate the stress response systems, causing decreased physiological arousal, decreased resting heart rate, decreased blood pressure and increased pain tolerance. There is also thought to be an increase in the amino acid GABA which helps to promote a sense of calm. So we can see that generally yoga is well placed to help with the symptoms of depression. In yogic philosophy matter or prakriti is made up of three qualities or gunas: tamas; rajas and sattva. We can imagine Tamas to be a heavy dense feeling, Rajas a feeling of heat, spice and energy and Sattva like a cool wind. Ideally these three qualities should be balanced in an individual but in depressed people we tend to see an increase in tamas the guna associated with inertia. Depressed people are also thought to have a low level of prana or life energy, which through yoga therapy we want to increase. Thinking from the point of view of yogic anatomy, we wish to stimulate the manipura chakra or the navel centre. Stimulating this chakra or energy centre can have an effect on the adrenal glands and adrenal insufficiency can cause depression and lethargy. So it makes sense that stimulating this chakra would have an effect on wellbeing. I’ve found the following asana or postures in the yoga practice help me with low moods- Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) due to its dynamic nature and ability to increase prana in the body. Dynamic asanas such as Camatkarasana (Wild Thing) for the same reason. Back bends such as Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow Pose) or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose) can be helpful in opening the heart and encouraging self love and self esteem. Plank or Dolphin Plank can be useful to activate the core, increase agni or the internal fire and therefore increase prana. Preparatory poses for Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) and the pose itself can be very energising and uplifting, increasing prana in the body. The postures that are good for stimulating the manipura chakra are Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend or intense stretch of the west), Trikonsana (Triangle Pose) and Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes). Apart from asana we as teachers can also offer pranayama or breathing exercises- Bhastrika or bellows breath which increases prana and is very energising. Kapalbhati which helps to clear the mind and strengthen the nervous system. Ujjayi helps to soothe the nervous system and calm the mind (if the student is doing vinyasa flow or astanga all the better as this is incorporated into the asana practice). I have also found chanting Om to be effective in not allowing negative thoughts to ruminate and the vibration is generally thought to be healing. This can be paired with some simple meditation techniques that are easy for the student to perform at home like focusing on the breathe or a candle flame. So healing the depressed body doesn’t just need to be about medication, we can use our bodies to help us heal and along the way maybe discover some inner peace and comfort that comes from within. Michelle Carter Address: Parimukti Yoga Center, Kanira Homes, Girkarwaddo, End of Magic Park Road, Arambol, 403524, Goa, India Phone: +919637521278 Email: info@parimukti.com Website: https://parimukti.com/ Yin Yoga Training Goa | 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training...
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One day I just woke up and realised, it takes far more energy to lovingly create and maintain a body, than it takes to mindlessly destroy it with excess and neglect. -Overheard in Dharamkot. Address: Parimukti Yoga Center, Kanira Homes, Girkarwaddo, End of Magic Park Road, Arambol, 403524, Goa, India Phone: +919637521278 Email: info@parimukti.com Website:...
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Last Friday our yoga group went to see Butoh dance as a part of the training. Before the performance, Merel suggested us that we could take the experience as a form of meditation. Butoh dance can arouse deep feelings in the viewer to, feelings that one may not have been even aware of before. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butoh...
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                   Address: Parimukti Yoga Center, Kanira Homes, Girkarwaddo, End of Magic Park Road, Arambol, 403524, Goa, India Phone: +919637521278 Email: info@parimukti.com Website: https://parimukti.com/ Yin Yoga Training Goa | 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Goa | Meditation Teacher Training Goa
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“All I’m saying is that to liberate the potential of your mind, body and soul, you must first expand your imagination. You see, things are always created twice: first in the workshop of the mind and then, and only then, in reality. I call this process ‘blueprinting’ because anything you create in your outer world...
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Loving one’s body can be a difficult task. Media, culture and social surroundings create norms about how we all should look and how our bodies should be. In reality, people come with different body shapes, sizes and capabilities. Some are more sportive, some more artistic. Some are more feminine, some are more masculine. Some have...
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There is one thing very close to my heart right now and that is Recovery.  Recovery from what ever suffering is occurring in your life; addiction, intense self criticism, financial woes. I have  a lot of personal experience In this area.  I have battled with an eating disorder for many years and as a result...
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“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is that the pain of discipline weighs ounces while the pain of regret weighs tons” Address: Parimukti Yoga Center, Kanira Homes, Girkarwaddo, End of Magic Park Road, Arambol, 403524, Goa, India Phone: +919637521278 Email: info@parimukti.com...
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“A state in which opposing influences or forces are balanced“ Finding a point between giving and recieving is challenging. After much joy and self observation, this month thought me the importance of finding your own balance. It’s very easy to slip away into the past or find yourself anxiously projecting about the future. But what...
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Our last day. I am lost for words at how beautiful the ceremony was. Joy, tears and excitement overwhelmed the room.  We shared, danced and gave gratitude to each other.  The perfect ending to a new beginning..        Address: Parimukti Yoga Center, Kanira Homes, Girkarwaddo, End of Magic Park Road, Arambol, 403524, Goa, India Phone:...
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