Depression comes to all of us to some degree. It can be debilitating or subtle, and it shows up in a number of different ways including fatigue, anxiety, anger, or even becoming frozen in our lives. It wastes much of the precious time that we have been allotted here on Earth. After all, it is important for us to remember this: We are spiritual beings, having a human experience.
When we consider what it means to be in a human body, it is important to remember that each one of us has a mission. Many of us have actually incarnated in this life to help bring higher awareness to humanity. We’ve lived through a series of karmic lessons to understand the human condition, but at times we forget who we really are.
According to the teachings of Kundalini Yoga, in our current Piscean Age we have been trained to perceive ourselves as limited. In reality, we are vast beings; for example, our brain capacity is much more than we realize. In years to come, it is said that our subtle knowing will increase dramatically. Our current time is one of great transition and we are feeling the effects of this. Take time to connect to your soul and feel your strength. Make the conscious decision that you are the spiritual being, here to help bring higher energy to humanity. Serve, be creative, and project from the Heart.
Depression and Brain Balancing
Many problems, such as depression, stem from the brain itself. Ongoing stress, trauma, or fear can create brain imbalances affecting the brain cells. The different sections of our brain can become either over-activated or frozen when under long-term stress. Yoga and daily meditation can help even out the brain’s activity.
Everything Starts with a Thought
It’s super important to watch your thoughts. One small thought such as, “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough,” can trigger a downward spiral into depression. Don’t allow the negative mind to take over. Yogi Bhajan, my Teacher and Guide, once gave us this advice, “Win your mind, you’ll win the world.”
“Win your mind, you’ll win the world.” -Yogi Bhajan
We have three states of mind: negative, positive, and neutral. A negative mind arises to keep us safe. The positive attempts to balance the negativity. Your neutral mind negotiates between the two and helps you to decide what to do with all the information.
Choose your Mantra
Identify your go-to mantra for when depression creeps in – something that touches you and whenever you notice that you’re feeling off, start reciting this mantra immediately. A mantra with a high vibration has the ability to cut negative thoughts in half by calling on the Master Mind of the Universe.
Basically, any repetitive sound current can be considered a mantra. Mostly people have a mantra running through their heads. Someone’s inner, unconscious mantra might be something like, “I’ll never find a good partner. No one will ever like me.” (I have heard this one quite a bit.)
In order to develop a more therapeutic relationship with a mantra, one choice could be to select a positive sentence in English. I have seen people have success with a simple statement such as, “I am very lovable, and the Universe is bringing to me all the joy and love that I desire.” Choose an English mantra and beam it into your happy future. Don’t worry if the past has been grey; just create the bright tomorrow.
Wahe Guru: A Mantra of Ecstasy
The mantra “Waa-Hey Guroo” expresses the joy of merging into Higher Consciousness. Try using visualization to beam this mantra from your third eye for a few minutes each day. See what happens. It’s a mantra that is used by many seekers who are striving to clear their past, choosing to look to a bright, happy future. It also helps bring miraculous solutions.
I believe in the power of this mantra. A teacher once muscle-tested a student who was chanting “Wahe Guru”. The student tested stronger when he was chanting. “Wahe” refers to the ecstasy that comes to one from meditating on the Universal Joy. “Gu-Ru” is the wisdom that takes us from darkness to light.
How Mantras Work for Depression
Most of the mantras found in the Kundalini Yoga Tradition are in the language Gurmukhi – which literally means, “from the mouth of the Guru.” These mantras come from the poetry spoken during the lifetime of various saints, sages, gurus, and seers, who would meditatively enter a state of ecstasy, and recite certain passages. They would place their tongue on their upper palate to create that sound, hitting acupressure points in the mouth in a combination that can raise the human consciousness. Today, if we speak those exact words, imitating how the saints recited them, we can uplift ourselves into a similar higher state of consciousness.
I think both the English and the Gurmukhi approaches are valid as long as you practice your mantra continually—especially when you are feeling down and notice yourself ruminating over your problems. Just tell your mind, “No, I’m not getting into this now” and start your mantra. A positive mantra cuts the power of a habitual negative mantra in half.
More Yogic Tips for Handling Depression:
Exercise: Open the Flow
In moments when your energy feels stuck and all you want is to feel better—exercise! Get moving. Open the flow. Practice yoga. Walk in nature. Dance around your living room. Connect to all of the ways in which life can be fun.
Cleaning the Aura
Any form of falling water (including a fountain, a shower, or the ocean), can shift your subtle energy and your aura into a meditative state. If you feel low, step into a cold shower while vigorously rubbing your body, then dry with a stiff towel, and put on clean, preferably white, clothes. In the Kundalini Yoga tradition, we believe that wearing white extends the aura an additional foot around the body which is expansive and protective of our energy. Then sit and meditate. This will change everything.
You have the right—I believe that it is really an obligation—to keep yourself in positive environments. If a person or place doesn’t feel healthy, politely remove yourself. If you are watching TV and a show comes on that has negative energy or doesn’t feel good, turn it off. Sometimes we are in situations where we can’t change the environment, so instead use your meditative mind to mentally change your inner environment. We are sensitive creatures; respect this in yourself and maintain balance.
Most people are dehydrated. If you notice that you are feeling off, drink a huge glass of pure water and continue sipping on water through the day. It will help.
Connect Rather than Isolate
We’re social animals and we need each other. Join other people in meetings, clubs, or connect one-on-one. Reach out even when it feels challenging and you have to force yourself. Someone else may actually need you, so don’t be shy.
Talk Through It
Speaking our problems out loud can be a helpful way to relieve internal pressure and seek out a higher perspective. The danger, though, is when people talk just to gain attention and can end up overwhelming friends or chasing them away. When you need support, seek out an appropriate professional setting to discuss your problems and try to enjoy the company and time with friends who share a sincere interest.
Each one of us has a special food that makes us feel better. This could be a good salad, or a nice pasta dish. Pay attention to how food makes you feel and discover your healing foods. Support yourself in making healthy choices (as compared to comfort foods that may or may not be actually supportive). Eat with cozy gratitude. Gratitude allows the Universe to flow to you, bringing you opportunities.
In Emergencies, Turn to the Breath
In a dire emergency, immediately slow the rate of your breath while simultaneously deepening your breath. When you need to access greater reserve energy—the energy of the Universe — take a slow, deep breath, hold your breath for as long as is comfortable, then exhale and again hold your breath briefly. This draws in more of that reserve energy. We need energy in order to make positive choices and support positive thoughts. Shallow breathing creates shallow consciousness and perpetuates the feelings of depression and despair.
We need to keep growing in life. Set higher goals for yourself (ones that are realistic and achievable) and keep up that process of continuing to set new goals. Positive goals can be uplifting and can help us connect to the meaning in our lives.
Meditation is Key
We all have deep emotions bottled up inside of ourselves. When we meditate daily, we can allow the burden of the past to be released. Be patient and stick with it; it takes time to resolve some issues.
Listen: Answers Will Take Shape
This meditation, given by Yogi Bhajan, is said to stimulate the activity of the pituitary and help us break through depression. Practice it, memorize it, and share it with others. Most importantly, Practice It.
Healing Meditation to Break Depression
Given by Yogi Bhajan
Sit with a straight spine. Relax your hands in your lap, or in giaan mudra (index finger touching the thumb).
With the eyes slightly open, focus on the tip of the nose.
Inhale in four powerful sniffs through the nose, until the lungs are completely full. Each inhalation is quick, and so powerful that it causes the sides of the nose to collapse in slightly. It is important in this practice to focus on the breath and keep the sniffs of equal length.
Exhale one long breath through the nose.
The following mantra can be mentally recited on the inhalation:
On the exhale, mentally recite:
Practice for 11 minutes each day, for 40 days.
If it seems to be working, continue to 90 days, 120 days, or even 1,000 days for Mastery.
This breath kriya is used to heal one’s self and to break depression.
Tej Kaur Khalsa teaches Kundalini Yoga as shared by Yogi Bhajan in West Hollywood, at Ra Ma Institute in Venice, at Yoga West, and in teacher trainings, and worldwide. She can be found at: ninetreasuresyoga.com