I’ve been fighting a case of the blues for the last several weeks—the kind that makes me want to sleep twelve hours a day and cry about every sad story I hear on the news. Friends cite lots of reasons why I might be depressed: a pet that recently died, another that is sick without a defined cause, the difficulties of running a business in our current economy, Seattle’s gray spring weather, even that dreaded life transition that happens to women of a certain age.
- Duhkha: Psycho-emotional suffering
- Daurmanasya: Depression or negative thinking
- Angamejayatva: Instability of any kind, including body, work, and relationships
- Svasaprasvasa: Disturbance in the breath, including uncontrolled crying, laughing, or bursting out.
Sutra 1.30 lists nine specific obstacles:
- Vyadhi: Sickness or disease
- Styana: Fixation or being “stuck in a rut”
- Samsaya: Doubt
- Pramada: Carelessness and impulsive knee-jerk reactions
- Alasya: Lethargy, burnout, and lack of passion
- Avirati: Inability to withstand the temptation of the senses
- Bhrantidarsana: Distorted self esteem ranging from low self esteem to arrogance
- Alabdhabhumikatva: Not achieving the level you expected of yourself and losing heart
- Anavasthitatvani: Achieving a level but not being able to sustain it.
And here’s the gift. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” The teachings say that each time I overcome an obstacle, I grow. I become more resilient and more able to withstand similar issues in the future. When I come out of this darker period, I know I will be changed. I don’t know exactly how, yet, but I’m sure I will be stronger. I will have greater clarity about who I am and the role I am meant to play in this world. And that is truly a gift.
So the next time you find yourself sad or suffering for no clear reason, know that yoga offers tools to help. Try not to run away or bury those feelings. Instead, give yourself the gift of time, reflection, guidance, and practice. Like a caterpillar painfully struggling in its dark cocoon, you may emerge brighter, more alive and more vibrant that you ever imagined!
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out my author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!