Yoga Philosophy or Spiritual Practices: Yoga & Depression Practices to Consider

It is the nature of depression for the mind to dwell on itself—on one’s problems, one’s failures, one’s inadequacies. – Eknath Easwaran

  • Bringing awareness to the present moment can be helpful in supporting an individual with depression, just as it is in managing anxiety.
  • It is likely to be a great challenge, but students with depression may find sustainable relief through learning to recognize and choose thoughts. The goal is to recognize destructive thoughts and consciously replace them with something more positive (pratipaksha)
  • The more positive thought could be a self-selected affirmation, a gratitude practice, or other.
  • Some experts such as Eknath Easwaran note that trying to get to the root of depression is a fruitless task. Why? Because not only may depression be defined as lacking an identifiable trigger but when experiencing depression, the mind is “a house mirrors” making productive thought impossible. On the other hand, when symptoms have been relieved through such practices as movement and sound, and the mind is more balanced, then perhaps self-study may lead the practitioner to recognize changes that need to be made in work or relationships, for example, that help to alleviate symptoms. (Timothy McCall)

See Also

Affirmation Suggestions

With yoga and especially meditation, part of the goal is always to control your thoughts… with successive practice, you learn to recognize negative or destructive thoughts and consciously to replace them with something more positive… You can choose your own affirmation or use the following: “Every day, in every way, I grow stronger with my body, breath, and mind.” Repeat your affirmation upon rising and on retiring at night, before meals, during your relaxation exercise, and whenever you start to have negative thoughts throughout the day. – Larry Payne PhD & Richard Usatine, MD