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Deep Winter Blues
13 October 2015

Deep Winter Blues
13 October 2015

Deep Winter Blues

I don’t pretend to be an expert on depression. I am not a psychologist but, like many of you, I struggle with occasional bouts of the blues that are, while not debilitating, not much fun either. My friend Nancy and I were snowshoeing yesterday and marveled that at 4:45, when we got back, it was still light! It felt like a small victory: so much of seasonal depression stems from the very short days. Even with the recent abundant (if cold) sunshine and lengthening days, however, there are no major holidays to distract me from the impending stretch of winter. So out of the storage closet comes my happy light, which I regularly set up in front of my mat this time of year.

There are lots of great resources out there for understanding clinically why and how yoga can help combat depression, but as with most things yoga related, what I ultimately trust is my own experience. I know that when I’m down, it might take a Herculean effort to unroll my mat and get myself on it. There are times I’d much rather crawl back into bed and put the pillow over my head. but I know that at the end of 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, I will be in a much better place. There are poses and sequences designed specifically for depression, but my experience is that the fact of practicing matters more than the specific postures. Truly. When I’m really in a hole, it’s sometimes hard to remember how deeply I know this.

I’ve learned that I need to listen to the reasoning side of my mind when the sabotaging side of my mind calls me back to bed and tells me not to bother. I want to be honest here because I have felt shame around my own bouts with mild depression. As a yoga instructor of twenty some years, shouldn’t I have power over this? The interior dialogue goes something like: “I’m 50 for God’s sake; have I really not outgrown this?” I know there are a lot of us fighting depression of varying degrees. I know I am not alone in dealing with depression’s second cousin: shame.

And I want to clarify something: we do not judge you. We instructors are there to support, to create a nurturing and inspiring environment for you to take care of yourself. We are glad you came to class, and we do not need you to be anything other than who you are in that moment you walk through the door.

Next time you feel down, make a commitment to come take a class, or to unroll your mat at home for whatever time you can spare. I can tell you with some authority that you will not regret it. While a single yoga practice won’t permanently banish your depression, I promise you will walk out feeling lighter and happier. In 25+ years of practice, I have never finished a practice and said: “well, that was a waste of time. I’m going back to bed.”


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The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

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Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.

Practice on an empty stomach

If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

No food or outside beverages inside the studio

If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.

Bring your own mat

Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.

Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

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Newcomers! 3 for $30

If you are new to Upper Valley Yoga, you can purchase a 3-class pass for $30! (For our first-time guests only, package expires 15 days after purchase)

Single Class, $18

Drop in to any regular weekly class

Single Class, Student or Senior* Rate, $15

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

10-Class Pass, $145

Expires after one year

10-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $130

Expires after one year

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

5-Class Pass, $80

Expires after 6 months

5-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $70

Expires after 6 months.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

Unlimited Yoga Passes

Monthly, Auto-Renew with credit card, $99/mo

Unlimited yoga. 6-month commitment is required; early cancellation fee of $50 applies if the auto renew is canceled before 6 months. This is the best value if you plan to attend at least 2 classes per week.

One month, unlimited, $150

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

One month, Student or Senior* rate, $140

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

3-Month Unlimited, $390

Unlimited yoga, 3 months

If you don’t yet have a mat, borrow one from us and please clean it afterward with the mat wipes.

We have a limited, need-based scholarship fund available for those who are struggling to pay for classes; please email or call us to inquire. We also gratefully accept donations for that fund in any amount. In addition, there are occasional work/study opportunities. If you are interested in being on the work/study list, please let us know!

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