Protected from Darnkess: Fall 2013

I think most would agree that Fall is a glorious season. Visually, I think it tops the others, especially at its peak. When the leaves are vibrant yellow, crimson, gold, and green, and when the sunshine hits the trees it looks magnificent. Along with the visual images, the smells of autumn bring such joy and are comforting, soothing, and even nostalgic. I even get to celebrate my birthday this time of the yearJ! However, with this beautiful season, comes for me, an inner turmoil.   As I soak up all the splendor that surrounds me and enjoy a month long birthday celebration, my mood is quickly changing, and I begin my uphill battle trying to maintain inner peace for the next four or five months. I suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Though, it is a taxing, I am thankful I have ways to cope with it, such as being a part of the Sangha Space community.

I have been dealing with this since my early 20s, when I moved back to Philly after living in Miami for a couple of years. I remember feeling so alone, sad, tired, and just wanting to hibernate and eat. Once I realized there is an actual disorder that described what I was going through, others like me that experience similar feelings and ways to cope with it, my fall-winter months became a little more tolerable.   My husband gave me a Light Box two Christmas’s ago, and that made a HUGE difference! Last year, I started each day with my light lamp and Sun Salutations, which was a wonderful start to the day. However, I don’t usually bring it out until Daylight Savings End, actually today, right now, is the first time I am using it, so this past month has been challenging.   Though, I found that not only doing yoga, but being part of the Yoga community has helped me immensely.   Every time, I walked up the steps of Sangha my mood was lifted. There is positive energy inside that magical space that brightens my soul. The yoga practice itself always lightens my mood, but it’s the people that have helped me with my SAD lately.   Lori and the rest of the beautiful Sangha Space family truly are wonderful, along with all the lovely individuals that come into the studio to practice yoga.

Driving home after Zhenja’s class Thursday night, I realized that community is also a way to help SAD. To be part of something you believe in and to be surrounded with individuals that follow the same beliefs is truly therapeutic. Zhenja started her class talking about Diwali, India’s biggest and most important festival and shared the belief that there is an inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness. It was a beautiful message and I felt she knew those were the words I needed to hear. During these upcoming months when my darkness is trying to creep in I will think of Diwali and what Zhenja talked about during that wonderful class; I will continue to use my light box every morning, and I will look forward to participating yoga with the calming Sangha Space community. I am confident that when I am happily celebrating the arrival of Spring, I will look back and think “my SAD wasn’t too bad this winter” and be full of gratitude for the Sangha Space family.

“Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

~Joseph Cambell


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