In today’s post I’ll be sharing something quite personal. It is difficult, but the reason why I started this blog was not to just share articles that sound great in theory, but also to share personal stories of struggle and solutions I found that helped me overcome these challenges; to help anyone going through similar struggles.
Last September I read an article about a young woman who had suffered from a tumor. After 3 months of practicing the Sudrashan kriya as taught at the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Art of Living program, her tumor had disappeared. You can read her full story here:
At the time I had been suffering from severe depression, severe insomnia resulting from traumatized nerve cells, and horrible panic disorder for 7-8 months which started in early 2014. I had dealt with anxiety disorder in the past, 15 yrs ago and had overcome it with the help of Ayurvedic (Indian herbal) medicines. This time around the problem was exacerbated due to the severe insomnia, leaving me with no respite or temporary escape. I lost 13 pounds in 4 weeks. I couldn’t swallow food and had to force food down by washing whatever little I could chew on with some juice or milk or water. Even prescription sleep meds failed to give me sound sleep. My own doctors didn’t handle my case properly. They were just interested in putting me on a long term anxiety med, which did not address my severe sleep situation that needed immediate help. I had no energy and couldn’t function at all. I was utterly confused and couldn’t understand what was even wrong with me from a medical stand point. I displayed symptoms that mimicked symptoms of other auto immune and neurological illnesses but all test came back normal. But it kept eating into my subconscious that something was wrong and doctors were taking it too lightly resulting in me spiraling into a deep depression. Four months of this torment continued, until one of our family friends who is also a doctor prescribed me something to take at night to help with the sleep and anxiety. For the first time in months I woke up feeling rested mentally and physically. I continued taking the medicine to get to a stabilizing point. But after months of not being able to function normally I was in a hurry to get back to my normal self. I would get off the medicine and then find that I was back on again which is what (I believe) caused me to develop a tolerance to this medicine. I had to increase the dosage and even that barely helped me with my sleep. I was still very depressed and hopeless about my condition and worried if it would ever really go away. I spent a lot of money on things like acupuncture and other therapies hoping and praying they would help.
Two months into my health crisis I had attended an Art of Living Program upon my sister and brother in law’s behest. It was a very difficult period for me as I barely had the strength. A complete stranger (now a friend) who was also attending the program and lived close to me drove me to the center and back 40 minutes away for the 3-4 days. I learned the kriya/technique but wasn’t able to practice it as recommended at the time due to too much weakness. In June I made a trip to India and sought Homeopathic and Ayurvedic treatment. The herbal preparations helped pry me out of the deep well of darkness that I was in. It strengthened my nerves, but the insomnia prevailed and I was still struggling with the decision of whether or not to take the prescribed medicine for insomnia. It was as if my nerves had snapped after being stretched to their maximum limit. I decided to take the prescribed medicine for insomnia and anxiety regularly, but I continued to feel hopeless that this waking hellish nightmare would never end. The panic disorder symptoms had gone down considerably, but were still present. It was like after some steady improvement with the herbs, my progress plateaued and I was ‘stuck’.
After I read the article about the young woman mentioned above, I told myself I would do the kriya also for a period of 3 months and see if it made a difference. I religiously practiced the kriya without analyzing it or judging it. I noticed a subtle difference the very first time. It was small but it was there. For the first time I found myself laughing and cracking a joke in months. As time went by I found that I was returning to normal routines and day to day tasks, laughing, socializing. Slowly the dosage of my sleep meds went down. After 3 months I stopped taking the meds completely and switched to over the counter milder forms. After a month I stopped even that and survived with just minimal, poor but natural sleep which left me feeling tired. But I continued with kriya. My nerves are now almost back to their normal state. I have been getting naturally drowsy and been sleeping at first just 4 hrs/night then 5-7 hrs/night. Mentally I feel happy, strong, confident and positive like never before. This Sudrashan kriya has really been a blessing, miraculously improving my health. It is the best gift for people in this time and age when there is so much stress and worry.
I have always been a health conscious person and strived to lead a healthy life, physically and spiritually. But sometime a problem creeps into our life and before we realize it takes over and devours us. Everything that I had learned and that had helped me in the past just seemed to be having system failures. Meditations, mudras pranayams all just failed. I couldn’t understand why. Looking back I realize my problem had become too big. I had also stopped my meditation process for several month prior to this, due to a bad job of prioritizing and at the same time I was taking on excessive worry and imagining fearful outcomes. So consumed was I that I didn’t even realizing the damage I was unleashing on myself.
Anxiety disorder and depression carry a lot of stigma in places like India even in this day and age, where people are quick to mock and judge attributing this illness to weakness. It is not considered a real problem by people who have never suffered from it. Sooner or later we all go through it but in varying degrees because sooner or later we all go through some tragic or traumatic life changing event, whether it is a job loss, loss of a loved one, loss of health or financial insecurity. If the emotions associated with such loss persists for a few months it manifests as depression and panic disorder. No human being is immune to the lows of life.
This ordeal made me more spiritual, more empathetic and compassionate (not that I wasn’t before, but it took me farther and deeper). I leaned heavily for support on my family, parents, sisters and brothers-in-law, mother in law and select friends. They were my rock. It brought me even closer to the Universal Spirit/God and my loved ones. I read the famous religious texts Ramayan and Bhagvad Puran (as translated by Kamala Subramaniyam) from which I derived immense strength. I am even more hungry for spiritual evolution than I’ve ever been).
If you are suffering from anxiety/panic disorder, depression, stress, excess worry, negative thought don’t be hopeless. There is CERTAIN help. You will get better. You will laugh again. The dark clouds inside will disperse and the sun will shine again and your world will be a beautiful place once again. Please give this Sudrashan kriya a try. It’s the BEST GIFT you can give yourself. It is not meditation. Just a technique which involves repeated sets of breathing at different rhythms. Very Simple; Even a child can do it.
Ayurveda ascribes anxiety disorder/depression etc. to three factors:
Poor diet/nutrition, poor lifestyle that increases the element of air/vayu and mental agitation and weakness and also astrological reasons. In the past I have shared my experience with astrology (not your daily horoscope as printed in magazines and newspapers, but your customized horoscope based on your personal birth details). The shadowy planet called Rahu (the head/dragons head) is responsible for all sickness and disease above the neck which I know now. My horoscope shown to few astrologers by my dad in India and upon my request indicated a severely bad phase of mental stress due to Rahu.
You can read more about the Ayurvedic Approach to Anxiety at this link:
Please feel free to share your questions either in the comment box or privately through the Contact Me form. I’d be happy to help and answer your questions.