The West’s traditional method of treating depression involves psychotherapy and medication, but with the rising popularity of yoga across the world, it’s become more difficult to ignore yoga practitioners’ claims of uplifted moods and eased ailments. Scientific research on the benefits of yoga for those suffering from depression remains sparse and generally comes attached with a cautionary warning that the findings may be unreliable.
Yoga and the Scientific Community
Have a heart-to-heart with any devoted yogi—not just someone who’s in it for the cute pants or the weight loss—and you will hear a train of praises for the physical and psycho-emotional benefits of the art. In fact, in 2004, the University of California, LA, conducted an experiment that involved 28 mildly depressed young adults on campus who participated in two hour-long sessions of Iyengar yoga weekly for 5 consecutive weeks. “Subjects who participated,” reports the abstract, “demonstrated significant decreases in self-reported symptoms of depression and trait anxiety. . . . Changes were also observed in acute mood, with subjects reporting decreased levels of negative mood and fatigue following yoga classes.” (See the abstract of the study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15055096?dopt=Citation.) The study was typical in its findings as well as its call for greater level of scrutiny, which remains underway today.
Yoga and Your Body
On a (mostly) physical level, regular practice of yoga can alleviate depression by reducing the physiological manifestations of stress. This means easing cramped shoulders, stretching tight hips, and triggering the release of endorphins—the happy hormone. Even slower and less physically strenuous versions of yoga (such as Iyengar and Anusara) can help the body release toxins by providing deep muscle and organ movements as well as strength and flexibility. Individuals suffering from low self-esteem or feelings of weakness (such as after the loss of a loved one) can benefit from feeling powerful through yoga, which tones muscles and encourages deep breathing. Sun salutations, shoulder stand, and the warrior poses are particularly powerful, ego-boosting poses that involve upward motions and stretching or wide stances and feelings of grounding.
Yoga and Your Mind
Yoga has psychological, emotional, and—for some—spiritual effects, too. Yoga often entails meditation, which encourages shedding of stress and earthly concerns in favor of intense awareness of things beyond the self, often provoking a feeling of universality and nothingness at once. Practitioners of course experience varying sensations and bring different philosophies to yoga and meditation, but mindfulness, being in the present, and loving kindness to oneself as well as others are key points in both practices.
Yoga as a Tool to Heal from Depression
This is not to say that severe depression or chemical conditions such as bipolarity can be utterly solved through yoga—many cases still require professional aid. Mayo Clinic and other institutions now admit, however, that yoga may be a complementary method of treating depression.
Yoga holds a few advantages over traditional methods of treating anxiety and depression.
- Personal practice is free, and even lessons and books cost less compared to medication or therapy
- No need to depend on someone else’s schedule; a yoga practitioner may heal whenever he or she wishes.
- Healing without medication and through the power of the self may provide increased self-esteem.
Make sure to join a class or study yoga and its safe execution before attempting its regular practice. (Improper training can result in physical injuries, however slow the style of yoga.) If you suspect you suffer from severe depression, do not attempt to self-treat. Remember that yoga is not a cure-all but simply a helpful, soothing, and invigorating tool to get you back on your feet.
Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where recently she’s been researching the highest paying associate degrees versus the lowest paying associate degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
I look forward to your thoughts and comments!
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Today I am interviewing Rebbie Straubing. Rebbie and I knew each other in college. We had lost touch over the years (a scary number of years–how did we get this old?), but one day I was in a “I wonder what happened to….” googling mood and I found her! She was doing something called the Yoga of Alignment, had written a book about it, Rooted in the Infinite: The Yoga of Alignment, and was teaching people about her alignment system as well as working closely with the law of attraction and the Abraham-Hicks materials. I read her book, we reconnected and I’ve been a recipient of her JHE sessions (more detail later) ever since. I’m a big fan of her work and am excited to share it with you.
1. You wrote a blog post recently about your transition from being a chiropractor to asking the Universe to “use you.” Would you share that story with my readers?
Interesting you should ask that, Atmara. I rarely talk about this, and even here I will make it brief. But I think you recognized the core of this story which is probably true for you, too, and for most of your subscribers. I had a time in my life of crisis and great loss. I think many people have experienced this to one degree or another. And if you have, you know that those moments tend to strip away everything that is not important and not true for you, and they bring into focus the true calling of your soul.
I was a chiropractor with a private practice on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I was doing work that I absolutely loved. I was, as they say, “at the top of my game.” But I became ill and after pushing through it for a few months, I could no longer work. I hired someone to cover the practice for me for two weeks. Well, about three years later, still not able to work, I went to the office to close it. I was sitting in one of the adjusting rooms, slowly packing things up. I was coming face to face with the reality that I was not coming back to that office, or that life.
This is a moment that looks like a moment of great sorrow. I think many people have had moments like this too, perhaps not as extreme, but most of us pass through times of feeling defeated and hopeless.
At this moment in my life I called my sister Marsha. She told me about a song by Rickie Byars Beckwith and Rev. Michael Beckwith called “Use Me.” I said, “Use me?” She explained that this was about letting God work through you. It was about making yourself available for God.
The song says, “Use me, Oh God. I stand for you and here I’ll abide as you show me all that I must do.”
At that moment (in the mid 1990s) I chose to take on that stance. “Use me.”
2. I find your YofA system as outlined in “Rooted in the Infinite”, with it’s focus on the root chakra and the x,y,z axis unique. I’ve explored a lot of models for how energy works in the body, but none like this. Would you give us a brief summery of the system itself, and tell us how you develop or discovered this system?
The YOFA® System of Inner Alignment is like a tripod. Its three legs are:
- The ancient science of Yoga meditation
- The Abraham-Hicks teachings on Law of Attraction and Inner Guidance
- The healing philosophy of chiropractic
These three fundamental influences merge in this system and branch in several directions. For example, YOFA offers:
- a unique perspective for living a spiritual life in a physical body
- a specific system of Inner Alignment meditation
- a method of remote Inner Alignment Sessions
- a deep integration of Law of Attraction into daily life and spiritual practice
This system came to me in a series of revelations over the course of years. And so, the book, Rooted in the Infinite, pieces together these influences so that you can see that they are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Once you see how intricately they fit together, they set the context for the specific YOFA® revelations that came more specifically through my instrument.
So let’s see if I can give you the system in a nutshell. We all want out lives to be joyful, prosperous, loving, etc. Another way of saying that is that we want our inner garden to flourish. This system teaches you how to do that. It’s a system of inner gardening that leads to inner beauty, fruition of talents, loving relationships, and the fulfillment of the true desires of the heart. That’s the “in a nutshell” version.
I can get a little deeper into how all this works if you like. Here goes: We live in a three dimensional physical world, right? Well, we don’t often realize it, but those three dimensions have metaphysical counterparts that live within our consciousness. You can picture a map of the three dimensions like a set of old fashioned monkey bars. There are physical monkey bars in the outer world and there are energy monkey bars in the inner world.
Each axis of this three dimensional world corresponds to a profound aspect of being human. And at the center of this three dimensional system, is hidden an unnamed dimension where we find pure consciousness. This is where we are rooted in the infinite.
It’s very useful to understand the meaning of these axes. By watching how our desires run along these axes, and how Law of Attraction responds to these movements, we can dramatically shift the course of our lives in a more satisfying direction. We become less dependent on circumstances and we manufacture our own joy from within.
By practicing the meditation aspect, you can bypass years of “trying” to meditate and move swiftly into advanced, beneficial states of meditation. The book Rooted in the Infinite outlines the system so that you get very grounded in your understanding. Then, there is a practice section in the back of the book. There is literally a complete training in that little book! And the recordings of the meditations are available as mp3 downloads or on physical CDs. You can use the book and recordings to train yourself into alignment and start harvesting fulfilled desires in all aspects of your life. Rooted in the Infinite looks like a paperback book but it is really a complete home study course. You can find out more at http://RootedintheInfinite.com.
3. You offer something called “jhe” sessions. Would you explain what this is?
Some people sign up for physical “healing,” others for relationship issues, some for financial issues, many for general well being. I also have a free service I do for people dealing with autism. (Parents can sign up their child who is on the autism spectrum at www.UnconditionalLove.info .
The first thing that members usually notice when they receive these sessions is a feeling of lightness. They feel physical and emotional lightness. You know the expression, “walking on air”? That’s the feeling people usually get when they are in love. That feeling is an indication of Inner Alignment. And so, when you come into alignment through the YOFA® Inner Alignment Sessions, you feel something like that even though the conditions in your life may not have changed. (Atmara: I can confirm this–I even felt this from reading the book!)
As you spend more time in that state, and as you get more fluent in finding your way back into alignment when you’re out, you start manifesting different conditions. And so, eventually, conditions can actually change quite dramatically. We’ve seen years and years of chronic pain go away. We’ve seen job offers come in at a significant increase in salary (double in one case). We’ve seen years of stressed family relationships morph into happy loving holiday celebrations. These things change so radically and so beneficially because Law of Attraction has a chance to bring you the true desires of your heart. When you are in alignment with the desires that vibrate with your inner truth, they manifest.
By the way, you may have noticed that I put the word “healing” in quotes before. I prefer to use the word “jhe” which is an acronym for “joyful harmonious expressiveness.” I like to use this phrase, or word, to replace words like “health” and “healing.”
I do this because words like “health” have collected a very mixed vibration over the years. And words are powerful. So, if you are seeking health, you certainly want your words to be helping your efforts, not hurting them. When you think of healing your body, don’t you instantly think of a body that is less than well? When you think of healing your finances or your relationships, doesn’t your mind immediately start wondering what the problem is? Our minds are a little bit like rubber bands. If you give the mind a word like health, it stretches briefly toward the real meaning of health, but then it lets go and springs forcefully toward its opposite.
I came up with the word formula “joyful harmonious expressiveness” because, at least for me, it more accurately conjured the desired state. If it works for you, I invite you to use it.
I do the YOFA® jhe Sessions, or Inner Alignment Sessions, in service to each member’s joyful harmonious expressiveness in all areas of their lives. What many people love about this membership is that there is nothing they need to do. I find that people have so much to do and so little time. Many people don’t want one more thing to read or to listen to. They just can’t fit it in. Since I do these sessions for you, it takes none of your time. Isn’t that great? In fact it can even give you more time because as you come into alignment, you become more efficient and things go more smoothly. Of course I have to add a disclaimer. I am not a medical doctor or psychologist and I do not diagnose nor treat medical conditions. I cannot guarantee that you will have any of the improvements that others have had. What I can guarantee is that if you don’t feel that it is working for you, I will refund your payment, so you get to try it at no risk. I think a refund was only requested once. But I love having that “no questions asked” guarantee because I really prefer only having members who love the jhe sessions. It’s best for everyone.
And many people stay on for years. It’s like brushing your teeth. You don’t stop doing it after you’ve done it a few times. It is a way of life. Inner Alignment is like that. It is a way of cleaning up your vibration on a regular basis. I recommend that members also do the meditations themselves, but it is not necessary at all. You can find out more at http://AlignmentforHealing.com.
4. What other products and services to you offer?
One of my favorite of the YOFA® products is the “I Am Love” Affirmative Contemplation recordings. These are guided meditations of spiritual affirmations. They focus on the cultivation of Divine Love. There are short recordings for the morning and lunchtime. There are longer recordings for going to sleep (excellent for insomnia). These are available as mp3 downloads at http://AffirmativeContemplation.com or as a physical CD on CD Baby.
I also have a popular ebook for finding your soul mate. It is a Law of Attraction method for creating your new relationship. It has worked over and over again. It’s more of a method than a book. The instructions are clear and all you have to do is follow them. You can get that at http://greatrelationships.net
You can also get the free ecourse called “7 Secrets for Manifesting Your Heart’s Desire.”
These low priced (and free) products provide an excellent entry into the YOFA® perspective. Of course there are others and anyone who is interested can find out more about YOFA® at www.YOFA.net
5. Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to encourage people to love themselves. Not in an egotistical way. In a pure way. One of the affirmations in the Affirmative Contemplation collection is “I love being me.” This specific word formula makes a wonderful mantra for bringing yourself into alignment. You can also sit and write a list of reasons why you love being you. This is a great way to get a joyful hum going in your life.
Of course, you can use the phrase, “I love myself,” but this might bring some static into your vibration. “I love being me” is a clearer path, I believe, to a pure state of alignment.
I strongly recommend choosing words that feel good to you. Words seem like they mean the same thing to everyone. After all, you can look up their definitions in the dictionary. But they are actually very personal. So be sure to find the words that feel best to you and use them often. And if you like the feeling of, “I love being me,” I’d be honored if you use that in your inner journey.
Thank you, Rebbie, for taking the time to do this interview. It’s so great to reconnect with you in this way.
If any of you have had experiences with Rebbie’s work that you would like to share, please leave a comment.
I look forward to your thoughts and comments! (if you are reading this on the home page the link to comments is found to the far right of the post title)
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