Everyone on this planet has their own personal life experience. Aside from our obvious physical differences, our emotional experiences are quite different as well. There are the common emotions that we share such as joy, sadness, peace, anger, excitement, and fear, however all of these aspects manifest in different ways. Many individuals suffer a great deal on the inside and do not allow it to show. More and more people are coming to realize that they struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a myriad of other situations that often make them feel separate from others. They are not separate, they are you, your family member, your friend, your spouse, you co-worker, even your family pet.

This blog is inspired by an amazing training that I just completed called Yoga For Depression. This is actually an amazing book as well written by the creator of the training Amy Weintraub. My specific course was instructed by her master student Rose and two fabulous assistants, Marcia and Allie. So for those of you that think Yoga is only about placing your foot behind your head you couldn’t be more incorrect (although yes some Yogi’s can put their leg behind their head…but it doesn’t mean that they do not suffer from anxiety!) The style of Yoga itself is called LifeForce Yoga and it is an amazing blend of practices including breath work, posture, chakras (energy centers), mudras (hand positions), guided imagery, and Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation and intention setting) inspired by one of my favorite teachers Richard Miller PHD, the author of IRest.

The fact of the matter is that 1 in 4 people on this planet will suffer from some some form of depression, anxiety, or trauma related stress at some point in their lives. So for those of you that are Yoga teachers or leaders of large groups, keep in mind that 1 out of 4 at that moment are dealing with a lot. And we can never, never judge a book by the cover. The face that someone shows you may not be the face that they see in the mirror or in their heart. In knowing this, how can we be anything but supportive to the people in our lives? Be mindful of the way you word things in your classes or social situations, because everyone is fighting some sort of battle.

” Yoga saved my life” is a a phrase that I have heard more times than I can count from myself, fellow teachers, and students. Did holding tree pose save my life? No, but the mindfulness to hold the weight of my body on one ankle did. How did childs pose save my life? Because it gave me the humility to bow down to mother earth and surrender. Did learning about the Chakra system save my life…well actually yes! It helped me to understand my physical, emotional and energetic body. Did learning how to breath with mindfulness save my life…absolutely 100%!

These are just a few shining examples of how the system of Yoga and mindfulness can help you to find balance in a world that is not always a comfortable place to reside. If you or someone in your life, is struggling, keep in mind that Yoga and all of it’s many healing aspects is a wonderful tool. And just like that amazing Pixar movie, “Inside Out” suggests, emotions are absolutely necessary and they all play a role in our day to day life. However, sometimes our emotions can hop on a fast moving train and take over our sense of well being. Be mindful, be open, be kind, as we are all in this thing called life together, and even though we often feel separate or different, we are not.