Feelings can take you high and drag you low and the yoga culture teaches us that the only thing constant in life is change. What goes up will come down and vice versa.
Although it seems logical that we should be embracing the ebb and flow of our feelings, it’s often very difficult to do so in real time. Even with all my yoga practice, I have a habit of swallowing my feelings. I instinctively worry about being judged for my emotions, so I take the deepest, most profound ones and protect them. I keep them inside because I don’t like to be judged for my vulnerability.
What if not dealing with our feelings is causing more harm than necessary? The energy from the feelings has to go somewhere. It’s going to stay stubbornly within us and keep rising to the surface until we have the time and guts to face it.
When we are dealing with other people in our lives, we are expected to be on cue to talk or share what’s going on. What if we took a pause, and then a breath to actually feel the feeling move through us? At times that is a painful experience. Who wants to feel hurt, sad, disappointed? Nobody, of course. On the flip side, there are also feel good emotions such as love, compassion, gratitude. We want to experience the good feelings because they are beautiful and that energy gives us hope, life, and divinely connects us all.
Can we set an intention together to honor our feelings instead of dismissing them because they might not be popular or they might bring out an outcome that we are afraid of? Let us give permission to ourselves to allow all our feelings to pass through us without restraint. Take all the feelings, honor them, understand where they are coming from, and respect them because they are your signs. They are messages that you can learn and grow from.
Being mindful of the feelings that come up in a situation allows you to stay present. If you allow them to move through you, instead of blocking them, then you aren’t deflecting, hiding or creating fear or anxiety. You are feeling what’s going on in that particular moment. You take it in for what it is, you try to understand it and you keep going. Give yourself the chance to honor your feelings and process them at your own pace.
The next time a situation arises
that stirs up an emotional reaction, try to:
PAUSE: Take a second to notice what you are feeling physically. Are you shrugging your shoulders, clenching your jaw, tightly holding your hands together?
BREATHE: Not a normal breath but a big, deep inhale where you feel your front ribs expand and move. Then follow the exhale and let it seep out slowly. Do that a few times and now notice how you feel energetically and mentally. The breath will provide some relief from the heightened emotional experience.
WATCH: Close your eyes and gaze into the center of the eyebrows. Watch your mind as if you were watching a movie. Just allow the scenes to come in and play out. You want to be aware of the mental chatter that is going on. If you get anxious, focus on your breath again. If you don’t see or hear anything, just stay with your breath and enjoy the peace and silence.
EXPRESS: Write it down. The process of getting to know yourself is beautiful and scary at the same time. We spiral with emotions and at times we are looking for answers. We want to know what’s going to happen, when, where, with who, how and why. We are always looking for something. Take time to write down how you feel. Even if you just ask questions, it’s a way to understand the conversation that is going on inside you.
The yoga culture teaches us that we have different dimensions to ourselves. We are a physical body. We live within an energetic body. Then comes a mental body followed by an emotional intelligence. We are spiritual beings. We aren’t just one layer. We have many and each of these layers requires our attention. The more we get to know ourselves, the more we understand who we are.
Our feelings are manifestations of the energy around and within us. When we take time to honor how we are feeling, we are giving ourselves permission to truly go with the flow.
Article by Kate Kuss • July 5, 2019
Kate Kuss has been teaching yoga and meditation to students and teachers for over a decade. Her motto is inch by inch, life is a cinch. Yard by yard life is too hard. She focuses on taking life one step and breath at a time.
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