The Shapes of Depression and Panic: Simple Exercises to Help Manage Depression and Panic

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The Shapes of Depression and Panic: Simple Exercises to Help Manage Depression and Panic

Developed by Stanley Kelemann and led by Terrance McClure

(Center Press, 2045 Francisco St., Berkeley, Ca 94709; 50 minutes, $24.95)

The exercises on this video are based on the pioneering "somatic psychology" of Stanley Kelemann. His underlying premise is that panic and depression are "two sides of the same coin," and that each of the various graduations in the emotional contiuum marked by these two extremes has a characteristic physical "shape." In general, the panicked body is rigid, "paralyzed with fear," while in depression the body "collapses" into apathy and helplessness. Since we form these shapes unconsciously, the exercises work by first intentionally magnifying or "dramatizing" the typical pattern, then by systematically "undoing" that pattern in order to influence its emotional correlate.

There are two exercises for each condition, which may be done lying, sitting, or standing. Each exercise is done twice: the first performance focuses on the physical shape, the second on the emotional components.

The exercises are simple, yet profound. Their goal is not to make you "feel better" but to increase your capacity to self-manage your physical-emotional experience and restore a sense of "self-potency." This video is an effective tool for working with panic or depression, and I recommend it highly to anyone afflicted with these conditions.

Yoga Journal L.L.C.

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By Richard Rosen

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