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Yoga for Depression, Anxiety, Restlessness , Mental Health

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

A good sportsperson is not merely recognised for his skill to physically perform, but also have the ability to focus, calculate and react with the presence of his mind in order to win in a competitive sports environment. A sportsperson depressed or stressed does not perform quite at the same level as the one who is mentally happy and healthy.

Yoga for Depression Mental Health

The science behind yogic meditation

The Yogis for thousands of years have understood the power of mind and creation. The mind is a powerful projector and a center of activity which has multiple functions to perform simultaneously. Broadly speaking it performs

  1. Recognition and cognitive functions – It differentiates between objects, colours, smell, sounds, images, sensations based on the data bank that it creates in a space called the memory bank. Every time a sensation occurs in form of sound, smell, touch, vision taste or even thought, the sensation is processed in the following manner. It is to be understood clearly that even a THOUGHT is a sensation.

  2. Ability to distinguish - Another function of mind is the ability to distinguish one thing from another, intellectualise.

  3. Memory Bank of emotions & thoughts - Mind stores the experiences we have and emotions we feel and our whole consciousness as it is coming, happening, rising and passing away.

  4. Control of body and physical functions - The mind is the seat of all physiological, conscious and subconscious functions.Thus the body heats up as the weather cools down and tries to cool itself as the weather is getting hotter. The mind controls functions of stomach, heart, liver and ever possible conceivable nerve and organ we can think of inside the body.

  5. Projector of Life - One of the most important functions of mind – is being a projector. Nobody talks about it yet everyone understands at some spiritual level or subconscious level that there is some connection between WHAT we are thinking and feeling and what is actually happening in our life. A lot of people when faced with anxiety or periods of hardships are reminded by loved ones “Think Positive”. In this function the mind actually creates everything that you feed it , irrespective of whether it is good for your or bad for you and that is why we refer it to as the projector function of the mind. How are we feeling (which is in turn determined by how are we reacting to the sensation outside of us and thought sensations inside of us ) lead to the feed function of this projector and we become truly the creator of our bad or good luck and life as it unfolds.

Mental Health & Reaction of Mind causing Suffering
Processing of Sensation and Reaction

In the above diagram it can be easily understood how one sensation that is processed and classified by the brain, COMES – RISES – GET CLASSIFIED into a BOX – and as it is passing , we REACT and create another sensation.

If we were to not react, the sensation would merely COME – RISE – and PASS AWAY, however the reaction leads to another sensation as shown in the diagram above. So one sensation becomes two, two sensations become 4 and sometimes this 1 sensation can result into millions of sensations. During his enlightenment Buddha realized that 99% of the physical sensations that are occurring in our bodies , are not as a result of sensations captured from outside of the body, but are being generated inside through the continuous reaction of the mind and resulting subsequent sensations.

In all of the above if we were to understand mind as a machine which performs multiple functions and while doing this multi-tasking, we intervene and interrupt this process through REACTION, since REACTION leads to more than the original SENSATION. One sensation becomes two, two becomes many, sometimes millions - it will be clear to us that over creation of sensations – is like OVER USING or EXHAUSTING THE MIND in thinking function continuously which leads it to failure on other functions.

Thereby the control of the body goes out of balance and so does the memory retention and focus and concentration. When we keep reacting to every sensation, leading to multiple million sensations, we start living in the unreal world of our own sensations, which can lead us to over reacting, multiple emotions caused merely in our mind (independent of our reality) and continuous sadness or excitement none of which has a visible outer origin except for our mind creating it through reaction. This leads the mind to fail in other functions, leading to imbalance of the body functions and then leading to affecting the projector function of the mind whereby mind keeps projecting what we feed to it and mostly we end up feeding it, our fears and things we are most insecure about, leading to more reactions and more unreal sensations that never cease to end.

Whatever we react to, gets processed in reality as reality and our fear / desires become real. It should also be clear through the above discussion that if we were not learn to react less or not react at all , the mind will become more empty since since it would become free from function of reacting and recreating multiple sensations and continuously analysing them.

In nutshell if we chose not to react or chose to react half of the times, we would create less UNREAL SENSATIONS, with less processing happening to analyse them and multiply them and the mind will be able to perform the rest of its functions more efficiently. Buddha preached this skill to not react while observing and called it Vipassna which in Pali language meant to Observe without reaction.

In the most powerful meditation which was taught by Buddha himself, we learn the art of observation, first to create a focus or Dharana and then to go deeper into our consciousness known as Dhyana. The technique is called as Vippassna. As the mind learns to observe, it starts releasing the previously held reactions and emotions and traumas and thus releases the body of the pressure of holding so many thought and emotions physically inside. He understood during his enlightenment that REACTION was the root CAUSE of all human suffering and thus until his death he kept teaching how to Observe without any reaction and be in observation of one own Breath and Body.

The ability to not react releases our mind and helps in healing problems of OVER ACTIVE MIND, which causes sleeplessness, stress (since body is busy reacting instead of functioning) and it also activates high levels of accelerated healing.

Beyond the asanas , come learn yoga of the mind and meditation. Seek assistance today.

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