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Eliminating Depression the natural way: Ayurvedic wisdom shows how
“True, grandparents, even in the West, emphasise these. For the West’s vast army of stressed and depressed wanting a quick fix at no expense, I would say that a G5 solution of air, water, sleep, diet and cardio should be grasped with both hands. It’s simple and instinctively right.”
This is not a rocket science. The principles and practices have existed almost everywhere in the world for generations. The grandparents in the East and the West would be in complete accord. The richness and diversity of experiences in life will have a wider meaning to you if you are in tune with your existence at the very basic level of being a living creature and a human being.
Neeraj Arora, London based author of ‘Depression Undercover’ in a recent interview emphasised the need of setting basics of life right to help eliminate depression from life. G5 (air, water, sleep, diet and cardio) as mentioned above are those basics. Add a few more. Regular elimination, maintaining good daily routine, not submitting to repression would make it G8.
Ready to go an extra mile? If you think G8 needs expanding, consider Yoga Asanas (physical postures for flexible body and alert mind), Pranayama (deep breathing exercise) and meditation (transcending to relieve stress and fatigue) make it more complete.
This recently published notable book on Depression and Ayurveda warns against excessively relying on clinical solutions to cure depression. The author said, “Clinical help can be crucial and life-saving. However, nip the weed while it is still budding. You may not have reached a stage ripe for medical intervention. Ayurveda recommends reversing the process of accumulation of disorder as soon as possible. There are six stages to sickness, and medical solutions are normally available in stage five or six. That is when visible symptoms start to appear, persist and disrupt your daily life. Why wait for last stages, when it is possible to reverse the process much sooner?”
Depression is often seen as a complex disorder. Doctors suggest it normally takes four to six weeks for a clinical treatment to show initial results. Researchers are still trying to work out the clinical pathology of depression. Most drugs available in the market are based on lightening the mood by improving serotonin levels. Psychotherapy is popular and helps but is not an exact science either. Our understanding about the human mind is evolving. When asked, what can Ayurveda offer in this field, the author pointed to the relevant sections in the book as follows:
Ayurveda has a wealth of traditional wisdom to offer in this realm. The following table shows how various mental characteristics are influenced when key markers in Ayurveda known as doshas are in balance or out of balance.
How doshas influence your state of mind? (Taken from chapter 4)
Dosha Balanced Out of Balance
Clear and alert mind, enthusiastic, energetic, vivacious, imaginative, expressive, bubbly, cheerful, ability to act quickly
Anxiety, emptiness, futile worries, living in world of fantasies, fears from imaginary or unfounded dangers, over exertion, chronic fatigue, insomnia, tremors, seizures, spasms, unpredictable moods
Enterprising, joyous, confident, brave, sharp intellect, good power of concentration, orderliness, healthy ambition, articulate speech
Short temper, irritable, impatient, over-demanding, obsession with perfection, sarcastic, over-critical, sadness, indecisiveness, emotional disturbance
Calm, self-contained, higher stamina, steady energy, tranquil and relaxed manners, steady actions, affectionate, tolerant, forgiving, better ability to handle crisis, methodical Heaviness or dullness, thick headedness, slowness, over-attachment, lethargic, lazy, oversleep, inertia
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are nothing else but ancient Ayurvedic principles to denote movement, metabolism and structure respectively. Achieve the right balance of these three and you see the natural way working in your favour. You start with managing your inner universe as the author asserts you can do by following Section II of the book with a special focus on chapter 7.
Once you have done enough as in section II to bring your inner universe in balance, you can build on these fundamentals as in section IV. That is to understand and practise how to manage the outer universe. This includes understanding basic pillars or prime objectives of life in principle. The book beautifully describes how to manage interpersonal relations and how to make the most out them without letting yourself fall prey to the often-compulsive nature of modern day relationships. Later chapters describe how to handle stress and fatigue from repetitive jobs, imperfect living and working conditions and environmental factors.
Then what is in section III? The author described as follows, “ I like my readers to understand key markers of Ayurveda. They don’t need to remember anything by heart but it would be useful to understand how Ayurveda sees depression. You can break up the complex disorder of depression in a number of smaller disorders by categorising your particular symptoms and following the recommendations about correcting them. For example, Sadhaka Pitta is type of Pitta (metabolic principle) that relates to registering, processing and interpreting emotions. There are other markers like Prana Vata and Tarpaka Kapha that may play a key role in a typical case of depression. In fact, Ayurveda describes fifteen sub-markers known as sub-doshas. Each dosha of Vata, Pitta and Kapha is divided in five sub-doshas. It is relatively easy to relate given symptoms of depression in individual cases to the corresponding sub-doshas. Ayurveda has used these markers for thousands of years. It has also accumulated a wealth of practical wisdom as to how to correct occasionally or frequently occurring imbalances denoted by these markers.”
Ayurvedic principles are based on common physiological parameters. It is a fascinating theory of the functioning of human body and mind. You can see it happening within you at any moment in life. You can apply the same basic principles with some adaptation to your particular situation. For example a chapter on obesity related depression describes key issues related to excess Kapha (structural issues) and how to restore balance. Similarly a chapter on women and depression discusses women related issues that the author calls additional triggers and sustaining factors for depression, which are specific to women only. The chapter also discusses a potential link between PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and depression.
So what next for the author? He said that he is pleased with the warm welcome the book has received and has also now remodelled the book in the form of a ten-hour corporate programme. He is also writing another exciting book about Emotional Intelligence of the East.
In summary, the book contains a lot of new material about depression. At least, it has not been discussed in this way in the West. It is definitely worth a read. The ISBN-13 code is ISBN 9781434375100. It is available widely in the United States, the United Kingdom and other parts of the European Union.