Kim Lewis: Emerging from a rough patch

Kim Lewis: Emerging from a rough patch

16 Comments Just B Blog

Kim Lewis is a yoga instructor at Just B Yoga. She teaches 40+ Yoga and workshops on depression and yoga.

I’m emerging from a rough patch.

It’s been a few weeks since I dipped into depression, but I’m finding my way out now. And this experience has me
questioning my yoga practice. After all, I teach workshops to others about how to use yogic techniques to heal depression.

What does it say about me if I get depressed? Does it make me a phony if I’m not depression free? And does it shake
my faith in the power of yoga?

This depression would probably have been just a little dip, but then I couldn’t do my usual asana practice because of tendonitis in my heels. I like to do about 10 sun salutes to get warmed up, so it’s a big change to practice seated postures without that flow to get started. And it’s hard to sit if I haven’t been moving first. Just goes to
show what it takes to begin to settle my mind. But that was the way it had to be for a little while.

And so I slipped in a little deeper.

Those familiar feelings. Waking up in the morning with limbs of lead. Mind spinning uselessly. Sometimes having to tell myself to move each limb, piece by piece – just to keep moving. My breath shallow, sometimes barely perceptible. That feeling of wading through a dark, swamp.

What would I usually do when my mood dips? Usually, I move, I breathe. But more importantly, I can make a connection to the part of myself that can watch what’s happening to my mind.

In yoga this is known as the Witness – the part of us that sees what is happening and can step back to watch without becoming entangled in the experience. But it’s hard to make that connection when your thoughts are very dark. When you are disconnected from reality. When the idea of death is always hanging around. It’s uncomfortable to watch.

And yet, that Witness was also telling me that I’ve seen this before. And I’ve seen such dark moods lift before. The connection was still there – a thin thread that I could hang onto. I believed that things would change. Before developing my yoga practice, I sometimes felt that these unbearable feelings would never go away. Sometimes the darkness gripped me for months at a time.

But this time it felt more like trudging across a rough, muddy field shrouded with fog, and I knew the fog would lift.

So, really, the lifeline of my yoga practice was there all the time. My true Self, the quiet, still, place at my core, was there.

There are always new lessons to be learned. I don’t want to deal with these moods, but there is a gift inside. I come out reassured that can make it out. And surely these experiences build compassion within me for others who are suffering.

How about my faith in yoga? For a while, it seemed to shake a little, but now it stands firm again – and it gets stronger through every test along the way.

16 thoughts on “Kim Lewis: Emerging from a rough patch”

  1. Raquel Johnson says:

    Kim,

    Thank you for the wonderful blog post. I’ve been struggling with depression for the last 4-6 weeks and haven’t been able to find my way to my mat in at least 4 weeks. It’s so comforting reading your story and knowing there is hope for me.

    Peace and love,
    Raquel

    1. Kim Lewis says:

      I’m so glad that you found the blog post helpful. I hope that you begin to feel better very soon and that you find your way back to your mat. Sometimes it’s hard to get back, but you will. You will come through this and feel better. Love and light, Kim

      1. Raquel Johnson says:

        Thank you Kim. I know I’ll find my way out of the darkness sooner rather than later. I’m taking your lead and I’m going back to the mat TONIGHT! 🙂

        1. Kim Lewis says:

          Good for you! It’s definitely a step towards lighter days. Enjoy your practice 🙂

  2. Emily says:

    Thank you to Kim for being an incredible teacher and being. I appreciate your willingness to share your story and to help the rest of us dealing with anxiety, depression and all sorts of “crazy” emotions. A lesson that I’m learning over and over again is that yoga is not a magic pill. It doesn’t cure us. It doesn’t get rid of anything. It allows us to cope, to mend, to heal and to shine out.

    1. Char says:

      Thanks Kim for sharing your journey through depression with us. I too deal with it and find that your authenticity about it is really a demonstration of courage and faith in the practice of returning to yoga – no matter what shape we’re in, again and again and again.

      Namaste.

      1. Kim Lewis says:

        Char, So good to hear from you. I appreciate your kind words. And yes, we can always return to our practice, even after a rough patch!

    2. Kim Lewis says:

      I’m getting more used to sharing. We often feel alone when we’re dealing with these emotions and end up feeling a bit “crazy.” I love the way you say that “yoga is not a magic pill.” I suppose if it were magic, we wouldn’t have to develop a practice! Yoga has certainly brought huge changes into my life. I think you sum up the power of the practice beautifully.

      1. Kim Lewis says:

        Emily and Char, Sorry I just hit the wrong button. This first reply was in response to Emily!

      2. Emily says:

        It’s all good 🙂 I found your response. Really good point regarding the need to develop our own practice!

    3. Kim Lewis says:

      Emily, I sent a reply under the wrong message! You can see my message below

    4. Kim Lewis says:

      I hope you can find my reply to your message on this blog!

  3. Lori Bruner says:

    Thank you so much for your courage to write this post! I know it took some major guts!!! Anxiety and depression are both very near to my heart – and judging by the comments from others, it’s close to MANY people’s hearts. Often, the worst part about our feelings is that we feel like we’re “alone” or that no one on earth is feeling this way. The more we can talk with each other about it, the more we can help each other out and realize that we are a million miles away from “ALONE!” I had a teacher who once said: “If we can’t help each other, then why are we here?” You might be a person who experiences anxiety and depression, but you are NOT the anxiety and depression. You are a beautiful, courageous, fun, kindhearted and giving woman, and I’m so fortunate to have known you for so long! Thank you, Kim!

    1. Kim Lewis says:

      Lori, Thank you for your kind words. It is true that we often feel alone with these things. I love the way you say that we are not the depression or anxiety – it is not who we are. If we can hold on to the fact that these are feelings that will pass, it helps us get through. I’m so glad that our paths have crossed – I feel lucky to know you

  4. Monica says:

    Kim, Thank you for sharing. We struggle through things and you are right… we find compassion for others who suffer. You are amazing 🙂 Much love and light to you!!!

    1. Kim Lewis says:

      Thank you, Monica. It has taken me a long time to begin to open up about these things. It is lovely to make connections with others who relate to what I have experienced. Sending love and light to you too! Namaste

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