Hansaji on ‘Dealing with Depression through Yoga’

The topic for the English Satsang on Sunday, 8th September, 2013 was ‘Dealing with Depression through Yoga’

Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.

Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra
Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra

Listen to the Audio:

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“Depression. Every human being goes through this phase at some or other time of their life. There are many reasons for depression, eg. business is going down, some near and dear one has died, someone close to you starts behaving differently, failure in love affair, you are dependent on somebody and they don’t bother, etc. If we are aware of the reason or cause, we can manage it by developing an understanding of the laws of nature, about human personality, seeing how the world runs and realizing that our problems are nothing and understanding that a person must do their duty in life.
The point is, when we want to know why something happens, we get into depression, because there is no answer as to why a person behaves rudely, why he doesn’t like you, etc. That is human nature. So don’t think too much into the matter. Where you have to give a thought is what to do in the given situation. Action, the concept of duty is what is important.We humans form a habit of thinking too much. Stop asking why, start thinking about what you should do now. No one asked us whether we wanted to be born. It just happened. We have no choice of parents or relatives. Somebody may behave nicely, somebody rudely, we have no choice. Nothing is in our hands. The entire Bhagwad Gita is a result of Arjuna’s depression. It is the answer. Here was Krishna telling him to get up and do his duty.

When the mind is disturbed, the body has to take over. Use the body. In depression, mind gets weak and does not think properly. Get into physical activity. When someone who is depressed comes to the Institute, Dr. Jayadeva asks them to collect thousand fallen leaves from the garden. Here they have to bend, pick up, stand, count, it keeps the mind busy with work and they feel better. When in depression you should never merely sit with eyes closed and watch your breath. Instead you should count your breath. You should avoid too much of meditation. Asanas and Pranayamas are preferred practices for depression.

We should know how to identify depression. When we keep seeing negative things in the world, nothing seems right, we keep seeing mistakes and can’t see the good in people, those are the signs. Try and bring in some positivity. Do physical activities like walking, climbing stairs, Asanas, breathing, etc. Sometimes you cannot get sleep easily because of anxiety. We have to have faith and understand that our problems are not great. If you don’t get sleep, don’t sleep. Sit in your bed and start doing soft alternate nostril breathing. It is said that the breath and mind go together. You can’t control your mind but you can control your breath. Avoid sleeping pills as the sleep it gives you is a dull sleep which we don’t need and many times when we get up we will be very stiff. If you have too much backlog of sleep and really need help of medicines, it is better to go to a psychiatrist.

In clinical depression also, there is nothing much wrong and still a person goes into depression. That is what happened to Lord Ram. He began thinking, what is this life? etc. Too much of philosophy can take you to depression because we do not apply the philosophy in life, we only think. When Ram was in this state, his Guru explained to him that thinking and action should be parallel. He should learn to let go and do his duty.

When there is no reason for depression and you are unable to do anything, you can go to psychoanalyst, psychologists or psychiatrists. However, even the worst conditions also are not cured by just medicines. So a combination of medicine and yoga can help you come out. If your state improves, the doctor might decide to reduce your medicine, but don’t reduce on your own.

So don’t feel bad if you are in depression, because it is very natural in this modern world. But at the same time, we must do our part, work hard and try and uplift ourselves.”

– Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra


Satsang is an open meeting held every Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30 am at The Yoga Institute, Santacruz East, Mumbai. It involves an interesting presentation to the public, made by the students of the Teacher Training Course. Each week, a new presentation of a Yogic concept is made in a simple way through skits and decoration for the general public, followed by a short speech from our Gurus, Dr. Jayadeva and Smt. Hansaji Yogendra.
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