Finding Sattva: Adapting Yoga to Cope with Anxiety and Depression
Yoga philosophy provides profound understanding of the human condition.
It describes the full continuum of common human limitations and extraordinary potential, and enables us to see that humans living in 2017 and 2,000 years ago are very much the same in their mental concerns and capacities. Arjuna, the “Everyman” in the Bhagavad Gita struggles with symptoms of both anxiety and depression when he feels doubt and confusion about what to do in a stressful situation.
This means that one of the core texts that outlines the 4 paths of yoga takes as its starting point how yoga can guide and support us when we are anxious and depressed. Anxiety and depression often alternate, pulling our minds and energy in 2 different directions in an attempt to find ways to adjust to circumstances that feel beyond our capacity. When anxiety and depression are both present it can feel even more distressing to be in our own minds and lives than when one or the other is predominate. It also presents more of a challenge to our yoga practice because our bodies, minds, and energy are in conflict about how to be. Yet, it is common to feel this way, and when we do, we need something that reliably helps us cope.
In this workshop, we will explore the influence of the Gunas (Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva) in shaping our mental attitudes. Then we will experience a yoga practice designed to shift us toward energetic balance, finding a relationship of mind, breath, and body that enables us to feel integrated rather than conflicted.
Lisa C. Kaley-Isley, PhD, C-IAYT, E-RYT-500
[U.K. / Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma Course (Board Member), Yoga in Healthcare Alliance]
Lisa Kaley-Isley, PhD, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT is a clinical psychologist, yoga teacher, yoga therapist, and yoga therapy educator in London, UK. Lisa is a long-term student of Yogarupa Rod Stryker and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait in the Para Yoga and Himalayan Institute traditions. She studied yoga therapy with Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute. Lisa integrates her experience as a clinician, researcher, and yogini to provide yoga therapy, and she trains yoga teachers and therapists to adapt yoga to facilitate mental health. Lisa presents at conferences and has published articles on yoga for adolescents. Lisa is on the Board of Directors for the Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma course. She teaches and supervises students on the course, and is Director of the Yoga Therapy Clinic in Islington. Lisa is a member of the Yoga in Healthcare Alliance, working to promote inclusion of yoga in the UK National Health Service (NHS).