I’m A Yoga Teacher And I Take Medication For Depression

This past weekend, I was visiting with my friend Tom.

Tom and I share an appreciation for cooking – though his appreciation is far more passionate than mine. He adores cooking. He would, and has, put it above all else.

“Whenever I’m sad or having a tough time,” he says, “I just go to the kitchen and start chopping or shredding and my troubles just melt away.”

Tom has said this to me so many times that he’s beginning to sound like the autistic savant Raymond on Rain Man. (“Melt away. Away. Troubles melt away.”) And I know him well enough to understand that the implication is that I should give this ‘cooking thing’ a try whenever I’m feeling down.

Tom means well, but he is unable to grasp that it’s not that easy for me. And I envy him this.

I live with depression. And not the “I’m so bummed they discontinued my bra” or “I can’t believe they kicked my favorite singer off of The Voice” kind of depression. Mine is of the “don’t leave the house and suffer paralyzing fear/anxiety that makes me want to strangle myself with my discontinued bra” variety. It isn’t pretty.

And for me, it’s terrifying.

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The Yamas – Breaking Down The First Limb Of Yoga

In the simplest of terms, yoga is like a tree comprised of eight limbs. Each one of these limbs represents a different level of the practice.

The yamas and niyamas comprise the first and second limbs respectively and are ethical precepts that apply to how one relates to oneself and to society. By the most essential definition, the yamas are restraints while the niyamas are observances.

In a nutshell, the yamas are as listed below :

  • Ahimsa – non-violence
  • Satya – truth
  • Asteya – non-stealing
  • Brahmacharya – continence
  • Aparigraha – non-attachment

Seems pretty cut an dry, right? Avoid these things, behave yourself and you’re golden.

Except we all know that it’s not that easy. If it were, we’d live in a world free of horrible things like assault rifles, child brides and TMZ.

Let me explain them as I understand them. I’ll keep it simple.

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Winter trees.

What I’ve Learned From Depression… And Ram Dass

“You can be still and still moving. Content even in your discontent.”     – Ram Dass

Over a decade ago, I was visiting Portland, Oregon when I saw a flyer advertising that Ram Dass was in town and speaking that night. It felt like one of those special deliveries from the universe. My exposure to Ram Dass at that point had been some older interviews and his indisputably trippy book, “Be Here Now.” I was geeked at the idea of being able to see and hear him in person, though I knew he’d had a stroke and had no illusion that he would be the vibrant soul I’d seen in interviews.

The joke was on me.

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