Have you ever thought of yoga as medicine? Depression, anxiety and stress are things that many of us suffer at some point in our lives. But extreme depression can be so debilitating that you often don’t realise how depressed you were until after you’ve healed.
The journey to wellness is often slow, especially as when you’re fighting depression it’s hard to summon the energy to even get out of bed, let alone leave the house. Other people, even very close friends, sometimes don’t understand how much you’re struggling and you end up feeling guilty, as well as depressed, when you turn down social invitations because you simply can’t face the outside world. It’s a vicious circle that’s hard to climb out of, but, with the right tools, it can be done.
“At school I was very into gymnastics and I did it for twelve years,” Natasha Marie tells Lumity Life. “In my teens when I was at High School I fell head over heels in love. It was my first love and I was smitten. But when I was 18, we split up and I was utterly bereft and heart-broken. It sent me spiralling into a two year period of depression.
“Finally one of my friends came over and literally dragged me out of the house to a yoga class. It was a 90 minute class which felt so long to me, but I stuck it out and in the final five minutes I felt a sudden shift. I was different, and things didn’t seem so bleak. From that moment on I was hooked and it became my focus and passion. I started going to a yoga class every single day and each time was like watering a withered plant, it was feeding my mind, body and soul and I started to heal. As my body grew stronger, my mind did and everything seemed brighter and more positive.
“And, it became a daily practice that healed my heart and the rest of me too. It completely changed my life: I was going to go off and go to college, but instead I went on to do my 200 hour yoga teacher training and now I have a list of clients that I love, and I am doing my best to pass on the lessons and wisdom that I have learned and to help others, in the way that I was helped.”
Like, all of us, Natasha Marie still has days when she’s down, or feels anxious and depressed. But she tells us that she has a set of yoga poses, that anyone can do that she calls on knowing that they will instantly calm the mind and soothe the body:
“For anxiety, any pose that is seated and on the floor, for example child’s pose, really helps with anxiety. Turn the lights down low, get on the ground and really focus on deep breaths. it’s much better and swifter than anxiety medicine. For depression, I find that standing poses are the best, really stretch and do some back bends. It’s all about bringing yourself out of your mind, soothing your thoughts and inner-monologue and really breathing and returning to the moment.”
Another piece of advice that Natasha Marie has found useful is setting aside ten minutes for yourself each day: “If you can just give yourself ten minutes a day to yourself you will see a huge change in how you feel,” she explains. “You can sit down and journal and write down your thoughts on what is stressing you out, or what is making you happy. It’s a useful way to gather your thoughts and work out what is really bothering you or which goals you want to work towards. It’s very telling when you go back, say, four months and read what you wrote as you can see how far you have come and which changes you made to your life worked, and adjust accordingly.
“You can also do yoga, ten minutes of yoga coupled with a positive mantra, will really make sure that you end the day on a positive note. If you have kids, it’s a great thing to do once they’re in bed, or if you have a stressful office job it’s a brilliant way to draw the line after a long day and make sure you don’t continue obsessing and thinking about work during your own time because you have been in work mode all day.”
And finally; Natasha Marie says that with food, and in general, treat your body as if you were caring for a precious best friend or loved one: “You wouldn’t feed a loved one things that you know are bad for them. Listen to your body, try and nourish it with food that will make you feel good, but if you do have a bad month or two where you have been eating too much or too little then don’t beat yourself up about it.
“Food, like yoga, is also medicine.
“Each day is a new day, the sun rises reminding us that we have a chance to start again afresh.
“If you have been living on pizza, ice cream and wine all summer, instead of feeling bad about it focus on what you’re going to eat today to feel great.
“Don’t worry or fret, or make yourself feel bad and start getting stressed about going on a diet, instead just start over. Have a breakfast that will fill you with a gentle source of energy, eat a plate of vegetables and lean protein for lunch, eat mindfully and drink lots of water and satisfy any sweet cravings with a healthier option like some blueberries.
“Feeling great is something which each and every one of us deserve.”
Did you enjoy this? Here’s how Miranda Kerr got over heartache and used meditation and positivity as medicine, or perhaps you’d like five tips on how to feel happier, if you’re often tired here’s how to double your afternoon energy. And here, Gloria Latham tells us her five favourite tips for wellness.