General Approach: Yoga & Depression: Introduction

When the mind is depressed, it simply is incapable of seeing clearly. Everything is a house of mirrors, and the more you think about the causes, the more depressed you are likely to be… The direct approach simply will not work. You cannot say, “I know I just feel depressed because I didn’t get that raise, so I hereby shake this depression off.” The mind will only laugh at you. [See Mantra/Sound below for Easwaran’s suggestions.] – Eknath Easwaran

Expert Yoga Therapist Gary Kraftsow recommends the following general approach:

  1. Begin with brahmana (stimulating) postures to increase energy and raise the spirit.
  2. Follow with langhana pranayama to reduce mental activity.
  3. Practice pratipaksha bhavana, assuming another point of view.
  4. In Yoga for Wellness, Kraftsow demonstrates a holistic approach with his clients, encouraging other important aspects of wellness. In the case of depression, this includes charitable work, playing with or teaching young children and prayer or spiritual community.