Brilliant afternoon sun danced on Sedona’s red rocks as I rode with a friend through Oak Creek Canyon for a meditation and writing retreat. As we crossed the Midgley Bridge, my friend said “A woman jumped off Wednesday—third one this year.” She shook her head. “I don’t know why anyone would do that.”
“I know why she jumped off the bridge,” I said. I have lived in that dark place before, planning and fantasizing my escape. She asked why, but in that moment my words couldn’t convey the misery and desperation that leads someone to throw it all away.
It’s true what they say about suicide—it’s not a sudden, impulsive, reckless choice. It’s a well-considered decision born from a pain so long-standing and so intense that the will to live is worn away like the walls of the Grand Canyon.
“More people die by suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge than at any other site in the world.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Gate_Bridge
If we’re born full of bliss and innate curiosity, how does this joy de vivre drain out of us? Continue reading →
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.
Yoga shows us that we already have everything we need, including the love of pure spirit, which infuses every part of the universe.
How do we bring this level of yoga into our daily lives?