‘Your issues are in your tissues’. I like these words! I find them comforting. They were kindly spoken to me during my first yoga teacher training. My emotions were bubbling over and I was having a deeply heartfelt cry – nothing else was possible in that moment. Crying (for me!) releases stored emotions as well as physical and mental tensions.
Please note that the following information does not replace the need for any professional guidance or prescribed medication you may be receiving.
Perhaps you too have experienced unexpected emotions – whilst watching the beauty of a sunset, after intense physical exertion or even in a simple pose on your mat. Asana has this way of working at a deeper level, more than just the physical.
How you manage with these moments, thoughts or feelings, I believe is especially relevant. We all have our fair share of emotional challenges during our days, weeks, lifetime. So from a yogic perspective..
WHAT TO DO?
Find a way not to be defined by your emotions: The act of ‘watching’ the emotions play out, is one way to understand the cause of your emotional pain (Swami Ramananda). Aim to be curious about your reactions, why are these happening, what can you learn? Try not to take them personally. Like physical pain, to heal effectively you need to understand the causes, not just find a ‘bandaid’.
Discover how to be more present: Find quiet space at the beginning or end of your day and start to unhook from your unhelpful thoughts. Notice the little things all around you, the seemingly insignificant things. This requires alertness, presence. Your attention is now present and not focused on your emotions, worries, plans. Practice this daily and in addition, your formal meditation.
Heal your koshas: We are multidimensional (complex!) beings and yoga assists us to access all ‘layers’ of our being. In yoga called koshas, we have five of these energetic ‘layers’, from the outer layer of skin to the deep spiritual core. The practices of yoga keep these koshas in good condition, so we can live in balance. Hop on your mat, take a deeper breath, practise yoga nidra, meditate.
Let go of attachment: The longer and harder you hold on to something, the more attachment you experience. Attachment to your really important story lines invites a sense of separateness from your Self and others. Holding your feelings so tightly creates suffering. The Bhagavad Gita (ancient yogic text) reminds you to free yourself of selfishness and attachment, to become selfless and at peace in your life (Swami Asokananda).
Seek guidance: Pema Chodron (When Things Fall Apart) invites us never to give up on ourselves. We all need support and encouragement to be aware of what we think, what we say, how we feel. Seek the guidance that works for you – professional ‘talk’ therapy, inspired reading, spiritual study, sangha.
Give it time and space: Truly…time does heal all.