depression and yoga

yoga has been part of my life for a few years now. off and on, but in the past year or so it's become a major part of my life. i don't want to say it defines who i am, but i am very passionate and inspired by the journey it unfolds for me. i practice various styles quite frequently and have completed a 200 hour teaching certification.

So, let's rewind to about a year ago... something happened to me, and i wasn't quite ready for it. i was turning 21, struggling with finding my place in this world and hit a complete dead end. or maybe that's what i thought happened. sadness comes from so many different sources and if you don't face it it manifests in your every day life. sometimes you don't even notice where it goes. things suffer, and most importantly you do.

i woke up every day uninspired. i didn't feel like communicating to many people and when i did, i found myself with a lack of things to say. i felt that i had no purpose or any direction. my depression was crippling me from the inside out. people that i loved were driving me crazy, and the things that i found happiness with i no longer participated in. i was sad, and i couldn't help it. i would have some good days, but i remember there being a time when just getting out of bed was monumental...

it was time for change. even though i was sad i knew that my life was worth it. because, i was worth it. i had the power to change. i was stronger then i thought i was. there was light (as tiny and as far away as it seemed) and i was going to reach for it.

the gears were turning. for me to feel good about what was in front of me i had to go deep down inside and confront what was troubling. i had to trust my intention, and not to second guess it. i had to release guilt that i was miserably holding on to. i had to find the strength that was locked away somewhere. i had to find peace in growing up. most importantly, i had to realize the past brought me to this place, but i have the power to choose where i'm going to go.

it's you who decides if you will fall into the pattern of the past. while that may be comfortable in some scenarios it's not generally the safest. at that moment i decided to live consciously and move in this world with a purpose. to feel, to live and to love.

and thats where yoga comes in. this practice has helped me tremendously. to be a better person. be a more patient person. cultivate self awareness and find compassion for myself. so i can be a more compassionate person to others. every time i step on the mat i learn something new about myself. whether it be physically or mentally i take something with me, so i can live my intention off the mat. it's that 60 minutes you give to yourself, to just stop the chatter and to release. what yoga has taught me is that for everything you shed, you gain something new.

i am a true believer that yoga comes to you when it needs to. you can take it or leave it, but this practice has made me overcome some of the toughest times in my life. and the times i have found myself the happiest, yoga was integrated somewhere in the mix. yoga came to me during that time of sadness. it gave me the strength to confront my fears. it gave me the support to feel good about myself. it gave me a community that cares about my growth. it gives to me everyday in ways i can't explain. and for me personally the ability to teach this practice i learn more then i ever have in my life. that means so much. to witness people find compassion in their lives is my purpose. that is why i want to teach yoga. i have a direction to follow. it may feel uncertain at times but it's something.

i don't think that happiness is the ultimate goal by any means, but finding contentment and gratitude have allowed my days to become so much brighter. to realize that being a good person and working hard counts. to express when you need to and reach out when you feel depleted. in our society, it seems like we find extremes to live with. we are either extremely depressed or extremely happy, but when it comes down to it, where is just being okay? why is it hard to just be okay? what is so scary about that? nothing really. that's where contentment is... where being able to work hard and appreciate your free time lives. where you find yourself: right in the middle, present and on the path where compassion will guide you.

"illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the inward journey to discover it."
- b.k.s. iyengar


  1. This is a beautiful post and inspiring post griffen, thank you. I am glad you are stronger than you thought you were. I hope we all are. It definitely helps to have a direction to follow. The journey towards balance is a long one, perhaps life long? I am in the early days of my yoga journey but am loving it. I've tried nonspecific classes, Iyengar and now Bikram. I'm loving Bikram. There is an element of the extreme in this practice which appeals to me when seeking for balance.

  2. @ antony, thanks this post came to me the other night. i am in a another teacher training and the people around me i was learning so much from. =) and yes i think it is life long. and keep doing the good thing. i know yoga is the key. the practice is just so beautiful. the process, the awareness and simply how it makes you feel. bikram series is awesome, because it's consistent across the board and you know what to expect. you have the same sequence but learn something new about the poses all the time.

  3. lovely! thank you for sharing. you are a fantastic writer and a beautiful spirit. i so enjoy your blog, griffen. xoxo

  4. @ kelli, i really appreciate that =) it means so much to me really. and i enjoy to read your blog as well!!!

  5. Griffen,
    You inspire. Your writing, your thoughts, your photos. You help us grow. Keep this beautiful love flowing. You are gifted and we need more of you in this world. :o)

  6. @ ms. a, seriously thanks so much, I take that to the heart :) you also keep sharing what you know and what brings you happiness :)