NotSoZen YogaJen

No Really, I’m Depressed!

Posted on: April 18, 2010

I went to an awesome yoga class early this morning at a studio I’d never been to before with a friend.  The awesome teacher created a really great flow, a totally fun vibe, and played hip-hip and R&B music to boot, which, whenever my two favorites of yoga and hip-hop/R&B are combined, the result is Nirvana.  After class, my friend and I were talking to the teacher, and I told her about my new yoga blog and she asked me what it was about.  “Well,” I said cheerfully,  “it’s about how I’m really anxious and depressed and how yoga really helps me!”

You’re depressed?” she asked.

“She hides it well,” my friend said.

“I’m highly functional!” I said.

I might possibly be one of the most upbeat and optimistic people you’ll ever meet.  But I’ve also struggled with severe depression for much of my life, which you wouldn’t know unless you walked in on me crying on the floor of my apartment.  I’m dramatic, so when I’m depressed I like to go for it full-out and hit the floor.  I live in a studio which makes it really convenient – I can cry on my bedroom floor, kitchen floor, and study floor by just moving a few feet this way or that.  And my favorite floor, when I reaalllyyy want to relish in my depression, and made popular by Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love, is the bathroom floor.

At my last job, I had a co-worker who used to ask me, “Has anyone ever called you Polyanna?” and “Are you ever not in a good mood?”  I’d smile and shrug in way that subliminally conveyed, That’s me!  Always happy!  I hide it well.  I’m highly functional.  But I’m not so into hiding it anymore.

I’m getting better at managing my depression, which isn’t to say that it still doesn’t take me out every once in a while.  But yoga makes me happy.  There are studies to support this but I don’t know what they are offhand so I’m not going to cite them here, and this may not be true for everyone, but for me, yoga lifts me up when I’m feeling down.  It puts the brakes on my thoughts when they’re racing fast and furious.  And when I consistently practice, it helps me to live in a more equanimous and balanced way day-to-day.  I’m rarely completely balanced and blissed-out, but it takes the edge off my high highs and my low lows.  To quote Naughty By Nature’s Hip Hop Hooray, yoga helps me “Smooth it out now!”

What benefits do you experience from your yoga practice?  How do you feel when you get away from it?  And then when you go back to it?

Namaste!

YogaJen

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2 Responses to "No Really, I’m Depressed!"

Jen, you have inspired me to do some yoga at the place down the corner from me. Additionally, i am organizing a private group glass for kids there (I need to get at least 6 kids) because my 8 year old is definitely type A and i want her to get and appreciate the effects of yoga at a young age. they don’t ordinarily offer a children’s class but will if I get the children. Anyway, just wanted to say hi!
steph

Hi Steph! Thanks for your comment! And I am THRILLED to hear about your organizing a kids yoga class, so wonderful! Keep me posted and let me know how it goes! xoxo

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