Ever since I first published my book on depression in 2015, friends and acquaintances have opened up to me and started sharing their darkest moments. Some of these were men who suddenly felt safe to show that side of themselves too. My heart opens every time people are able to share their hearts with me. There is so much beauty in emotion. So much vulnerable depth. I was surprised that almost everyone I know has struggled with depression or anxiety at some point in their lives.
As I’m here writing from Mexico, I feel so blessed and absolutely in awe of the people I meet. People who go into the jungle to take medicinal plants to purge and puke their guts out to release all the toxicity from their bodies and mind which are causing them suffering. Contemplative souls who spend months in silent meditation retreats to face their own minds. Free spirits who dance to the rhythm of life while the sun and winds caress their naked skin. Men and women who live with minimum comfort, but with an incomparable inner wealth. People whose hearts are vibrating and whose eyes are awake. An invisible thread connecting us all. Love and knowing merging our hearts. I fall in love every day.
Everyone I meet has a story. It always includes suffering. But they didn’t let their suffering chain them. They put on a warrior coat and shield of humbleness and took off. Did what they had to do in order to release fear, guilt and shame so that today their eyes are shining with a light that comes from beyond.
I feel so blessed and guided by the universe which keeps bringing teachers to me. I learn from the water, earth and sky. I learn from people’s vulnerable hearts and deepest longings. Plant teachers and medicines speaking and initiating me into the mysteries of life. I heal and learn from all the people whom I share a moment of pure innocent love with.
Anxiety has been a steady companion throughout my own life. In fact, I was so used to anxiety that it didn't cross my mind that the way I was feeling wasn't how it is supposed to be.
A few years ago, I came across a practice which has become my staple when I'm feeling anxious, nervous or when my energy is stuck from having suppressed my feelings for too long. This practice is shaking ... and it's a practice known to many traditional cultures.
Shaking Medicine is also known as bio-energetic meditation. It’s one of the oldest medicines on earth. Shaking, rocking, vibrating, trembling, and oscillation are natural human reactions to stress and trauma. We inherently use oscillation as a tool to calm our nervous system. For example, think of why we rock a crying baby to sleep.
Shaking practices help to clear and release blocks that cause dis-ease and encourage the body’s inherent self-healing mechanism. During shaking, built-up tension, repressed emotions and stagnant energy are released. It brings all the body’s energetic systems into balance through which the body naturally shifts to a higher vibration.
For as long as we know, shaking practices have been used to induce trance and ecstatic states. Shaking medicine is known to many tribal cultures such as the Kalahari bushman and the Squaxin Indians, is called Seiki Jutsu in Japan and known to the spiritual practices of kundalini yoga and sufism.
Most people’s worst fear is losing control. Yet, much of our dis-ease is caused by holding on to too much. Holding on stops the free flow of life and creates energy blocks and stagnation. The paradox of our time is that the more we try to control ourselves, others, or our environment, the more out of control everything becomes. Repetitive movements allow us to enter into states of ecstatic arousal and the deep relaxation of trance which allows us to release, balance and heal.
Shaking Medicine releases fear and trauma, helps to clear the mind, develops body and energy awareness, builds strength, removes stagnation, releases emotional tension, makes you feel energized and is overall an amazing way to shake everything off.
You can shake with or without music, with or without making sound. If you’re feeling a lot of emotion, you can let it out through movement, sound and words. Just make sure you’ve got enough space and don’t hurt yourself in the process.
I love including this practice in workshops and healing work. I've also included it in my upcoming book, Depression Decoded: A Journey into the Heart.
There's no wrong way to shake. So just put on your favorite track and start shaking it all away!
Deniz Aydoslu is an international yoga teacher, yoga therapist, healer and author.
This article is an adapted excerpt from her upcoming book Depression Decoded: A Journey into the Heart.
Deniz offers yoga therapy in Belgium, international workshops and online consultations.