Almost everyone has experienced depression on some level, either the fluctuations of mood with life’s ups and downs, or major depression, characterized by depressed mood or irritability most of the day, nearly every day. In the United States over 21 million people suffer from depression annually. According to current statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health between 6-10% of the U.S. population are suffering from depression at any given time. Adolescents are the most at risk. A study done by the Journal of Clinical Psychology reported that depression costs about $44 billion annually, which includes psychiatric care, lost work days, and decreased productivity. This does not include the 86 billion dollars a year that Americans spend on Antidepressants! These statistics are a few years old, and likely much lower than reality, because they only include reported cases.
The good news is that yoga can help all forms of mood disturbance. When you’re fully in yoga (union of body, mind and spirit) mood reactions to the events of life fade, because you’re present in the moment. Being present means flowing with life, versus judging it, so even the ups and downs don’t register as “good” or “bad” anymore. Events are just events and each one presents an opportunity. Our moods give us messages about our lives (such as “This isn’t working for me!”), and give us opportunities to make new choices that will make us feel better.
How do we bring this level of yoga into our daily lives?