There is way too much shame in the modern world. It is a sickness – and all of us have it in our power to transform this shame. Kindness goes a long way, as does respectful and compassionate listening. Understanding we have different bodies and different experiences and allowing each other to feel confident in making our personal choices is often the difference between supporting someone in their suffering and making someone’s suffering worse.
A few months ago, a reader in the yoga teaching community commented under a post in the Shut Up & Yoga Forum Facebook group: “Lately I have been approached at my studio by apprentice teachers who are struggling with mental health problems but are afraid to go on medications. I’d say more than five, less than ten. They are afraid it will make them not a yogi and they are asking me how I do what I do and still practice. I think it’s crazy that this is an expectation, and I’d love you guys to cover this.”
When I saw this request for more exploration of such an important topic, I knew I wanted to throw my hat into the ring. This is an issue we are almost entirely silent on in our yoga community and its bedfellows. And yet this individual’s experience is far from rare.