In a Yoga-perspective depression can be viewed as a manifestation of Tamas Guna. Tamas is an inhibiting and tricky force, it is hidden, you can’t experience it directly. It’s kind of like a black hole that swallows everything – you know it’s there because of the absence of other things. Depression is also it’s own “survival” mechanism – by preventing you from doing anything at all it also guarantees that you won’t do anything to alleviate it’s affects on you. It is very effective in keeping you down. So what can you do to work with depression? Apparently very little – which is a great place to start.
With that in mind here is a very simple practice you can do lying down in bed, on a carpet or if you’d like – on a yoga mat. Yes, this means that you don’t even need to get out of bed to do this practice.
A recurring pattern in the practice will be your breath – and for that I would suggest focusing on two things: try lengthening your breath and try introducing a short break (1 or 2 seconds) after every inhale (holding the air in). Using this pattern of breathing – count 6 breaths in every step of the following practice. The practice is incremental – so each step is a slight modification of the previous step – so it should be very easy to follow.
- Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest – feel your breath moving your body. Count 6 breaths.
- Bend your knees and place both feet on the bed (or floor) – leave the hands as before. Count 6 breaths.
- Place both hands on your abdomen and focus on the word “That”. Count 6 breaths.
- Place both hands on your heart space and focus on the word “That”. Count 6 breaths.
- Place both hands on your eyes (covering your eyes with your palms) and focus on the word “That”. Count 6 breaths.
- Place both hands on your heart again and focus on your breathing. Count 6 breaths.
That is all for now – 6 easy steps – 6 breaths each – it only takes a few minutes (you can do it whenever you feel like it).
If you wish to take another step forward – you can this same practice using Ujjayi breathing – Ujjayi is a simple technique that will enable you to lengthen your breath even more.
Practice this for a while, then we will explore a few more things you can add to this.