Yoga for Depression
I used to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Every year like clockwork, when the first hint that summer was ending and longer nights lay ahead, my internal rhythms would shift. My enthusiasm for life would wane, my moods started to get darker and my energy would plummet.
I would slow down and feel heavy. Though I loved the changing of the leaves and the crisp fall air, my physical, energetic and emotional heaviness kept me indoors, under a blanket most days. It was debilitating.
In 2013, the year of the three-day blizzard, I decided to start a daily practice of being outside. My goal was to go for long walks by the beach or in the forest. In the beginning this goal seemed unattainable. Not only did daily responsibilities loom, but my energy was so heavy and physically I felt weak.
In the beginning it was just a walk a few houses down the block and back, or simply sitting on the steps outside.
If I wasn’t even feeling up for getting outside, I would settle for a few moments resting by a window allowing the sun to stream in through the panes, warming my face.
Eventually, through daily practice and consistency, I was able to get outside daily, and go for walks on the regular. To be sure I still felt sad on occasion, but overall my energy and mood were so greatly improved that I couldn’t imagine going back to my former ways. By the time the blizzard rolled around, I was so hooked on my daily dose of fresh air, natural rhythms, and vitamin D, that I simply layered on as many warm clothes as I could (yes I looked like the kid from a Christmas Story) and marched down the banks of snow, sometimes sinking waist high, but reveling in the aliveness I felt and the connection to nature and childlike enthusiasm for the wonders I got to experience which had previously only been a dream.
This practice of being in the elements each day and connecting to Nature and the natural rhythms within eventually brought me to the practice of Yoga and so many other Mindfulness and Wellness practices. Today I lead a life of balance, celebrating my own internal rhythms and honoring their connection to the greater rhythms of Life and Nature which we are all a part of.
As we step deeper into the cooler, darker months of Autumn and Winter, I find myself turning to these five practices to continue my journey of transformation, honoring my intentions and manifesting my goals at each step.
5 Natural Ways to Find Freedom
Take long walks outside. With the Earth beneath you, Air above you and animals and living plant life all around you, this immersion effortlessly attunes you to the energies and rhythms of nature which help you to keep your own emotions and biological cycles (think Circadian Rhythms, etc.) in balance.
Find a safe space to cultivate gratitude, aspiration, and inspiration. In my home, I place candles and pictures with items that reflect the changes in Season. You can choose anything that calls to you; think pinecones, fallen feathers, leaves and stones. I always look for such items during my walks, knowing that what I find will retain the active energies of your natural environment and recent memories.
Focus your meditations and writings on the natural world around you. Place objects meaningful to you in front of you, or at the four Cardinal points (North, South, East and West). Take a walk around your meditation seat, pausing at each point and reflecting upon each associated element, season and meaning.
Practice Yoga Postures to help deepen your energetic connection to the cycles of Nature and your own internal rhythms, and encourage balance and release.
Eat warming foods. Think soups, teas, and porridges. Use plenty of invigorating spices, like cinnamon, clove, ginger and garlic. Among my favorite Fall go tos are Turmeric Ginger Lemon tea, Butternut Squash Soup and Red Lentil Bisque.
[box type=”bio”] Sally S Bruno is a Mother, Yoga Teacher and Herbalist in training. She loves the feel of cool earth between her toes, sun on her skin and wind in her hair. Earth is our Mother and Healer and Sally delights in exploring and sharing practices that help us all find that connection. She teaches at local yoga studios throughout Monmouth County, privately for schools, businesses, individuals and athletic teams, and owns and leads the inspirational team of outdoorsmen and women at Flow Paddle Yoga, a standup paddle board, sup yoga, kayak and outdoor adventure community. You can join Sally for international yoga retreats (Costa Rica in February 2018, Thailand in April 2018), group or private instruction and teacher trainings. For schedules, products, online yoga flows and meditations, delicious recipes and in depth explorations of the subjects of her articles visit sallysbruno.com and flowpaddleyoga.com . Email firstname.lastname@example.org[/box]
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