Updated: Sep 19, 2020
By Adrian Molina
In 2017 I announced that I was dealing with a major depressive disorder via a well-received article in The Huffington Post: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-yoga-teacher-who-got-depressed_b_591cf48be4b0e8f558bb23be
I could no longer look the other way at the suffering of others. I could no longer ignore that we live in a world full of contradictions. And I no longer wanted to be a contradiction myself. I wanted to become an agent of change. Even if the change was minimal, at least I would not continue pretending everything was fine when it wasn’t.
Now, in 2020, with my depression in remission, I no longer suffer from the debilitating effects of a body that didn’t want to respond to my commands or a mind that for the most part was dozing off or planning the best strategy for annihilation. Yes, depression can look like that.
It’s been three years since that shout out to the world to wake up and recognize mental health as an issue, particularly in the wellness, yoga, meditation, and fitness communities, where we promise light and everlasting happiness with a few breathing techniques, mindfulness exercises, and a set of postures.
I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs at this industry that promotes wellness when everything isn’t fabulous out there and a lot of us are struggling.
My battle with depression lead me to establish The Warrior Flow Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides the healing tools of meditation, movement, yoga, and stress reduction to underserved populations. I understood that part of my recovery was making sure those in deep waters had resources.
I would go to the shelters and volunteer.
I would go to the hospitals and help.
I would go to the jails and bring hope.
I would go to the schools and share different ways of thinking.
I would go the firefighters and help them relax.
I would go to the cancer patients and comfort them.
I would go to the dying and hold the space for them.
I would see every human being through the eyes of compassion.
I began studying about mental health, trauma, community outreach, social justice. I took every single online training so I could direct my foundation to where it was needed the most.
Today, we have a group of almost thirty facilitators, and even though we are on standby because of Covid-19, we are entering the community and making a difference. And you know why?
Because when people who suffer get to the other side of their problems, they understand that the only way to continue living is by helping others. And even if you haven’t found your tribe yet, you are not alone—there are amazing people out there who are waiting for someone like you to connect and change the world.
I am sharing this with you because I think we are at a pivotal moment in history. Three years ago I spoke about my personal journey with depression. Today, I am bringing your attention to our collective mental health with the intention of alleviating some of the gloomy atmosphere that each of us faces every day in times of Covid, strange politics, natural disasters, and so much misinformation.
So I am calling on everyone—yogis, meditators, influencers, fitness gurus—to step up to the plate and start talking to your peeps about mental health. Begin to educate people not only to eat healthy, meditate consistently, and do the perfect exercises or yoga postures but also to create a mental-hygiene routine so they can check on themselves and others. So they are familiar with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, burnout, and so on. People are going through a lot. I am going through a lot. And everyone is so busy trying to make it to the next day or paycheck that we forget about others.
These are rough times, and those of us who overcame Covid-19 and other challenges are the beacons of light who can direct others to a safe shore. I know our instinctive reaction is to take care of ourselves and not look around. It seems that even our government is sending us the message that we are out there by ourselves. But it’s not like that. Unhappiness comes from disconnection. We already know what months of quarantine does to our minds. I know how quickly we can forget to turn the page and go back to what used to be. But this is a new world. And what we used to call “normal” might not come back again. I’m not saying this in a tragic tone but with a lot of joy. We are changing, we are evolving. Things are moving. Things were always moving in the first place. Are we plunging into the change?
We got this.
Adrian Molina has been teaching yoga continuously since 2004. He is a well-known and respected instructor in Miami and New York, with an extensive worldwide following through his platform and school of yoga, Warrior Flow. Adrian is a writer, massage therapist, Reiki healer, meditation teacher, sound therapist, end-of-life doula, Mental Health First Aid facilitator, and a Kriya yoga practitioner in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda. Adrian is recognized for the community building work he does in Miami and New York as founder and executive director of The Warrior Flow Foundation, which brings the benefits of therapeutic and accessible yoga, mindfulness, and stress reduction tools to schools, shelters, hospitals, first responders, and hospice care.
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