Author: Maharishi Ayurveda Date Posted:1 June 2016
Depression is becoming more common among the overall population today. Recently I was asked to visit a local school to talk about depression and how Maharishi Ayurveda helps recovery from depression. It was both enlightening and alarming to see how aware these young adults were about depression, with a number having first hand experience of it within their communities. So this week we thought to look at the causes of depression and suggest key strategies for preventing or recovering from depression.
Did you know?
Women are more likely to suffer from depression and are especially vulnerable to it after the birth of a child.
On reflection in many ways western society has forgone traditions and rituals celebrating birth, puberty and menstruation, marriage, menopause and death; substituting the passing on of knowledge and wisdom from the elders to the young, for a society where you are left to work it all out yourself.
Many people feel increasingly lost and isolated as they attempt to cope with life and live up to societal expectations.
The demands of daily life can make it seem hard or nearly impossible to live a balanced lifestyle. In turn our daily choices for sleep, exercise, nutritious food, adequate rest and relaxation and fulfilling work are less than ideal. As we feel depleted our behavior becomes less ideal too and our relationships suffer. Just when we need it, we may be unconsciously isolating ourselves and alienating those who could support us in our hour of need.
Over time our neurochemistry becomes depleted with the constant mental and physical activity as the “on button never switches off.” Initially this may be experienced as feeling low in mood and feeling physically drained. Over time our serotonin levels drop and eventually it becomes depression.
Maharishi Ayurveda has a holistic understanding of what is behind depression. In terms of the doshas, Maharishi Ayurveda understands that depression is a result of aggravation in Sadhaka Pitta, which is the subdosha that governs the heart and emotions. Pitta is increased by mental stress, physical strain and overwork, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and spicy, acidic food. Increased Pitta disturbs the lubricating quality of Tarpaka Kapha, responsible for coordinating the heart and mind, which in turn leads to imbalance in Prana Vata which governs the mind. The excess heat from Pitta, frustration and the changeability in the mind from airy Vata combine to dry up the lubricating, stabilising quality of Kapha.
By understanding what is really happening on the physiological level, the Maharishi Ayurveda herbal preparations and aromas bring balance and nourishment to all the areas that are out of balance. For example Maharishi Ayurveda Blissful Joy promotes emotional balance by nourishing the heart, mind and the link between the two. Each herbal preparation contains a combination of herbs that treat the imbalance, provide overall balance to the mind and body, and assist with assimilation of the key herbs.
- Blissful Joy take 1-2 tablets 30-60 minutes after breakfast and evening meals for a minimum of 3 months.
- To aid sleep if necessary: take a drink of Slumber Time Tea along with 2-4 tablets of Peace of Mind 30 minutes prior bed. Take note of the bedtime recommendations below.
Taking advantage of the cycles of nature can help to provide consistent energy levels and sound sleep. Arising before 6am is vital in preventing the heaviness of depression. When you get up with the rising sun you experience the lively, light energy of Vata time. Sleeping into Kapha time, past 6 am, creates sluggishness in the mind and body as the channels of the physiology become blocked with impurities. Kapha time at night, between 6pm and 10pm is the best time to go to bed as the Kapha’s heaviness produces a deeper, restful sleep. If you stay up past 10pm into Pitta time, you tend to get your second wind and it is harder to unwind and fall asleep. Pitta time at night is for processing and cleansing impurities from the body. If you are awake at this time, this function of metabolism is impeded and you tend to feel groggy and lethargic when you wake up. Getting plenty of rest and feeling refreshed in the morning is essential for emotional wellbeing.
Walking in the early morning also helps to open the channels and stimulate digestion and elimination. Exercise helps move blocked emotions and hormones from the body and increases the production of positive neuro-hormones to elevate your thoughts and mood. Yoga asanas are also very good for balancing the emotions, integrating mind and body, and cleansing toxins and impurities from the body. Swimming, cycling and brisk walking are a great way to stimulate and enliven the physiology.
A diet of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains provides optimal nutrition without the heaviness of fast food, leftovers and packaged food. Natural and unprocessed foods are more easily digested by the body. Pears, walnuts and boiled milk are nourishing for the mind and emotions. If you are feeling depressed it is best to avoid any cold, heavy foods such as yoghurt, cheese, cold milk and chocolate as they will only increase the mental heaviness. Small amounts of spice such as ginger, fenugreek, turmeric, cloves, black pepper, cumin and coriander assist with digestion and clearing impurities as well as offsetting the sluggishness of excess Kapha.
So, if you or your loved ones notice a tendency for low mood that doesn’t go away, then first use the approaches above to help restore balance to your mind and body. If after 3-4 weeks you feel you need further help then get professional help. Consider a pulse consultation with an Ayurveda Consultant near you or via skype. If symptoms persist then also visit your doctor to bring their advice into your programme.
Wishing you the bliss of balance.