Have you ever tuned anyone out? Have you ever become so engrossed in something that you were oblivious to your surroundings? Did you ever have the unsettling experience of driving and suddenly realizing you weren't aware of those past few miles? In each of these examples, your awareness — your mindfulness — was redirected. More accurately, you have redirected that awareness or mindfulness. Learning how to do that when you want to and when it will serve you is fundamental to meditation.
There is an aspect of meditation in yoga. While you are practicing your sun salutations or assuming the lotus position, you are using the power of your mind to transcend your perceived limitations of your body. So, how do you meditate? Is it like thinking? Actually, it's more about not thinking. At least, not thinking about the things that cause you stress. It's learning to refocus your thinking through visualization, relaxation, and breathing.
In meditation, your attention is focused and concentrated. How you focus your concentration is up to you. Choose a particular word — such as “om” — or a phrase or visualize a specific scene or concentrate on your breathing. The object is to clear your mind of distractions, so you actively work to exclude anything else that tries to butt in. Distraction breeds stress, and stress breeds depression.
When you clear your mind of distractions, you are not stressed. You're aiming for a relaxed physical state. The logical end of this, of course, is to manage that depression. To accomplish this, you'll probably want to use a combination of therapies that work just for you and your needs.
As you practice meditation, you'll learn to isolate the stressors in your life. In this regard, meditation can be a useful addition to your arsenal in fighting depression. It can help you reframe the way you see your world. That's also the object of psychotherapy — to help you change your outlook — that's why meditation is a good adjunct to psychotherapy.
If you've ever studied voice, then you know that much of a vocalist's training centers on learning how to breathe properly — from the abdomen instead of the diaphragm. Deep, regulated, and controlled as opposed to rapid, shallow, and fast. Why breathe differently? One thing that's happening, when you're concentrating on your breathing, is that you're not concentrating on your depression. You're teaching your brain to re-focus. That's good. You have the power within you to effect change.
The second thing that happens when you're breathing correctly is that you're getting more oxygen into your bloodstream, nourishing all those red blood cells. It's the ripple effect — a chain reaction of health.