I am having a hard time writing this blog post. I really want to write about inspiring gods or goddesses, 3 ways to heal your back pain, or why you should not wear flip flops. Ok , I am going to write that last one, but not today.
Today I want to tell you that when you feel strong, difficult emotions; that you need to feel it to heal it.
I can’t say this enough, emotions live in your body. Talking about feelings is not the same as experiencing them. I am NOT a psychologist (I don’t even play one on TV 🙂 and I think counseling and talking through your feelings is a crucial part of healing. I myself am working with an amazing psychological counselor right now and it is giving me great perspective and one safe place for me to feel emotions.
But being able to sense, soothe and name your emotions takes place in a more physical way too. Your yoga practice has the potential to be one of the best places in which to ‘alchemize’ your feelings of fear, grief and despair. In our yoga practice we focus on sensing what the body is telling us, where in the body we feel emotions and how the breath can help calm us.
Restorative yoga is especially good for feeling supported while we release emotional energy so here is a 5 minute practice that you can set up at home, and has a nice soundtrack. Some people on the other hand will love a good chaturanga pose to burn through the energy of these difficult emotions. Here is a more active practice.
I highly recommend this 2 and a half minute video interview with one of my teachers of many years, Desiree Rumbaugh as she talks about how to use yoga to heal.
I am reading a great book on this subject, called “Healing through the Dark Emotions” by Miriam Greenspan and here is a short quote,
“Surrendering to grief, fear or despair may sound ill-advised at first. You may ask, “If I surrender, won’t I become overwhelmed and dysfunctional?” Actually the opposite is true. Surrender is a form of deep acceptance. It’s saying yes to emotions we’d prefer to say no to. Paradoxically, its saying yes that allows the emotional energy to flow and helps you to let go of it. Think of the difference between holding on tight with a closed fist and letting go by opening your hand. Then think of this in relation to your heart. What would happen if you just sat with your sadness for a while and didn’t try to change it?”
Let me know if yoga has helped you cope with your dark emotions.