Today is ‘World Mental Health Day’ creating awareness and support for those suffering from their mental health. It’s a cause very close to so many of our hearts, especially those of us that have lost loved ones through their battle with depression.
It’s estimated that globally 300 million people of all ages are suffering from this illness and 450.000 people in Ireland. However, the figures are probably a lot higher as so many people, unfortunately, hide their suffering and never get help.
I can personally relate with those scared to open up about their depression as it took me many years of suffering in silence before I could open up. This was primarily due to the terrible stigma in our society attached to depression.
I feel very blessed to have found Ashtanga yoga as it was transformative in my healing process. Unfortunately, it’s not a magic wand as the ‘black dog’ still rouses his head at times but this practice has given me a daily anchor – i.e. a tool to help me through the darkness. Over the many years of teaching, I’ve been amazed (and deeply saddened) by the numbers of my brave students that have shared their stories of their battles with depression with me. These brave souls have really highlighted the extent of the problem in mainstream Irish society and more importantly, that we desperately need to lose the stigma attached to this illness. Hence, I’m deeply passionate about getting people to use the deeply transformative practice of Ashtanga yoga to help them through the darkness…
As a society, we are conditioned to thinking, feeling and reacting a certain way when life presents its challenges but the solution does not come from the outside. It comes from within. So many of us are trapped in the mental stories of our minds but Ashtanga teaches us to work through this through moving our bodies with the study of our breath.
It’s the darkness that has given me the appetite to work hard on the asanas to help me face my fears. It’s been my experience that the lightness can only really come once we’re willing to step out of our comfort zones to peel back the layers.
Developing a regular practice helps us to develop a discernment between the stories of our minds and reality. This, in turn, gives us a sense of lightness not only physically, but more importantly on a mental and spiritual level.
So, please don’t suffer in silence and use your practice to help you through the darkness to the light. In the words of Ernest Hemingway ‘we are all broken, that’s how the light gets in’.
New Year Retreat
Monalea Retreat Centre
January 19th-21st 2018
Escape for a weekend of Ashtanga yoga and amazing organic vegetarian food at the idyllic Monalea retreat centre! This weekend will be a deep immersion in traditional Ashtanga yoga consisting of morning mysore style classes, afternoon workshops and evening guided meditation classes. The retreat centre is nested in a valley on the high hills on the Wicklow Wexford border less than an hour from Dublin.It’s a peaceful haven with many walks and woodlands nearby including delicious organic vegetarian food and shared en-suite accommodation.
Aware Christmas Yoga Event
Saturday, December 2nd
Roll out your mats for our annual Christmas Event in aid of Aware (www.aware.ie) It’s a great way to raise money (through participation, sponsorship or donations) for Aware’s nationwide free-of-charge services for people who experience depression or bipolar disorder and their loved ones.
Spaces are limited, email Gillian at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space