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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Yoga for Depression: Motivation and Trust

By Paul Jerard

Yoga is an excellent motivational tool. When you consider starting your day with Yoga meditation, Pranayama, Japa, Yoga postures (Asanas), warm-ups, Sun Salutations, or a combination of any of these - Yoga offers many useful motivation techniques for all of us.

However, some of us like to sleep late, skip work, unplug the phone, and wonder where the day went. This lack of stress can cause depression. This is not an endorsement of a stressful lifestyle, but the reality is: We all require a little daily stress to stimulate, strengthen, and motivate ourselves.

How could an early morning Yoga meditation create motivation for the entire day? There are many types of meditation to choose from, but you could choose a form of positive visualization to raise your level of motivation.

This will require you to set aside a little time and solitude. You could start with a 15 minute Yoga meditation session and allow your mind some forgiveness - if it wanders. Do not judge your mind or any distractions around you.

This is a key to Yogic meditation, and Yoga in general: Be mindful, be kind, do not judge anything, avoid extremes, and live life in moderation. The purpose of your meditation will be aided - if you write down your goals, for the day, and meditate.

With this form of Yogic meditation, you will be pleasantly surprised with how often you accomplish your daily objectives. Keep in mind that Yoga meditation is just one technique to stimulate motivation. Pranayama, Japa, Asana, and Sun Salutations, all work well for stimulating the body and mind.

Another factor, which causes depression, is lack of trust in others, and from deep within our inner being. We must believe in ourselves before we have faith in others. This lack of trust can cause a form of scaring to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Can Yoga turn any of us into “eternal optimists?” The answer is, “maybe.” Most eternal optimists are born that way; but optimism can be conditioned, and you have the power to harness it, if you want to.

A Yoga student asks, “Teach me about self-empowerment.” The lessons are within all forms of Yoga, but you will find more answers within Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Karma Yoga.

Most Yoga students, outside of India, practice Hatha Yoga sub-styles. This is fine - but are you learning anything beyond the physical aspects of Yoga? Yoga is a vast topic, with solutions to many of today’s health problems.

However, can the world learn to trust a 5,000 year old health maintenance system, with a proven track record of success? On a global scale, most of the world’s population still seeks short-term health solutions in the form of pills.

Sometimes prescriptions are required; especially, in the case of severe depression. It is promising that Western medicine now embraces Yoga as an alternative therapy. This will create an evolution in health care which will improve the quality of life for humanity.