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Webinar Summary of Depression and Yoga Sep-20 2020

Topic: Depression and Yoga - Webinar

Date: Sep 20, 2020 (Sunday)

Time: 10:00-11:30 AM (90 Minutes) Japan Time: (6:30 AM - 8:00 AM; India Time)

1. Introduction:

Patanjali Japan Foundation kick started the 4th Edition of Monthly Interactive Session held on 20th of September 2020. This month’s Interactive Session focused upon ‘Depression and Yoga’. The topic was covered by eminent panelists from Bharat (India) and Japan. Dr. Jaideep Arya and Professor Dr. Akshay Anand from Bharat (India), and Mr. Yoshito Naganuma and Ms. Sara from Japan shared their perspective.

In Introductory note, Mr. Ashutosh Singh (Chief Sewa Officer of Patanjali Japan Foundation) shared information on different ‘Yogi’ types classified mainly as ‘Hari’ (Green/Midori), ‘Shwet’ ( White/Shiro) and ‘Kesari’ (Saffron) depending upon frequency of Yoga practice. On 31st August, Patanjali Japan Foundation achieved the feat of completing 100 morning Yog sessions. This included 431 ‘Yogis’ which comprised 18 ‘Kesari’, 55 ‘White’, 364 ‘Green’ belt ‘Yogis’ and 154 regular ‘Yogis’.

2. Key Note Speech and philosophical perspective of depression

Keynote speaker Dr. Jaideep Arya (Member, Yoga Certification Board, Ministry of Ayush Bharat/India) focused upon ‘Structural’ and ‘Emotional’ balance which is manifested in Yoga through physical movement and breathing technique.

He pointed out that depression affects our behavior and health which in effect disrupts our well-being. He related Japanese qualities of honesty, timeliness and hard-work with Yoga as life-style. However, current Japanese lifestyle required Yoga to get through emotional and physical burn-out. Dr. Jaideep Arya emphasized to deep-dive into our life-style habits and take help of Yoga by Asanas practice and Pranayama practice to improve our well-being.

3. Depression in lifestyle perspective:

Mr. Yoshito Naganuma (Executive Officer, Rakuten Edy) shared interesting observations on Japanese mentality and life-style. He spoke from a stand-point of common working class citizen. He highlighted key characteristics of Japanese society which is of ‘high context’ society where everyone’s ideas and experiences are considered not much different. Avoiding confrontation through indirect feedback and emotional expressionlessness in social sphere were other important elements. The focus on group priorities leaded to over-time work, post-office parties and weekend team building activities.

Mr. Yoshito Naganuma pointed out that people who are fond of such life-style would enjoy Japan most. However, if one couldn’t adapt to such life-style then lack of acknowledgement for diversity and lack of ‘seek help’ culture puts individuals on the path of depression and eventually suicide. In the age-group of 15-34 year, Japan is leading suicide rate among developed nations. Furthermore, COVID-19 has worsened life of people by compelling people to work in small space with no natural sunlight and zero physical movement, eating frozen food and lesser social communication. Mr. Yoshito Naganuma honestly conveyed that his perspective doesn’t offer any solution for the existing life-style and mentality of Japanese society but taking help from Yoga and community could

4. Depression in yogi perspective:

Ms. Sara (Yoga Teacher, Patanjali Japan Foundation) talks about ‘Depression and Yoga’ from ‘Yogis’ perspective.

Ms. Sara encourages audience to think upon fundamental reason of ‘stress’ which is our own mind. She drew audience’s attention on Patanjali Sutra’s ‘Yoga chitta vritti nirodha’ which means ‘Yoga is the ceasing of movement of the mind, in order to experience ultimate reality and move towards self-realization.’ Yoga is a journey of mind from darkness and ignorance to light and knowledge which is a key to cure depression. The idea of ‘I’ needs to be realized through practicing Yoga so that ‘Yogi’ can be detached and think with an open mind. Ms. Sara concluded that such state of awakened mind will bring more awareness into individual and tackle depression effectively.

5. Depression in scientific perspective:

Professor Dr. Akshay Anand (Editor, Integrative Medicine Case Reports, PGIMER, Bharat/India & Visiting Faculty at Kyoto University of Medicine Japan) shared insights on scientific aspect of ‘Depression and Yoga’.

He pointed out that one of the important Japanese quality of ‘rule oriented’ impacted our brain activity and mental health in the light of research conducted by his team over the years. His team has done research on brain disorders through animal testing, stem cells but found no cure for neuro degenerative disorders. This directed his inclination into Yoga and its impact at therapeutic level. Professor Dr. Akshay Anand shared various studies conducted by international bodies which find connection between Yoga including Pranayama practice and improvement in diabetes, hypertension and obesity. A study published at American Diabetics Association established link in improvement of diabetes and diabetes induced depression in (n=123) patients by doing Yoga around 3 months. Another study on Hypertension which is also a modern life-style related disease has been studied by researchers and study find parasympathetic response of brain went up by doing Yoga for 3 months and improved blood pressure in patients. Professor Dr. Akshay Anand, thus empathized upon preventive action model for handling health care issues and health budget at government level in Japan and across world. It is in this context, Yoga including Pranayama comes into center-stage. Professor Dr. Akshay Anand concluded with the importance of data based research at larger scale to bring awareness of preventive measure like Yoga and empower Japanese society.

6. Panel discussion and Q&A

In Q&A, questions on how to handle depression, motivation and sleep hours required on doing regular Yoga were covered. Communication with family was emphasized to handle loneliness, on the other hand sleep quality was emphasized by Dr. Jaideep Arya. Mr. Yoshito Naganuma emphasized on power of will power to do daily Yoga.

Special thanks to our Guest speakers:

  1. Dr. Jaydeep Arya ji

  2. Prof. Dr. Akshay Anand ji

  3. Mr. Yoshito Naganuma ji

  4. Sara ji

We thank you all for joining this webinar.

Please write your feedback here (

Our next Interactive session will be held on Oct-18 (10:00 AM - 11:00 AM) Japan Time

This article is written by Kirti Rawat, (Member, Chief Sewa Office) Patanjali Japan Foundation.

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