We are human beings; which means that we are full of wonderful emotions that constantly remind us of that fact. They can be strong, quick, fleeting, lingering, mild, ferocious, amusing and scary. But whatever they are through life’s twists and turns they are coming and there is nothing wrong with having them, in fact we should have them, even when they are negative ones it is all part of this life. But it is knowing what to do with them or how to handle them that is important and how to turn the negative ones to positive ones. How to make anger turn to joy, fear to love, worry to freedom, grief to peace and confusion into clarity. How do we clear out those cobwebs of life to see a clearer more peaceful horizon? When we are talking in yogic terms then actually the practice of Bhakti Yoga is key to learning how to master the emotions, that of prayer, ritual, puja, visiting places of a spiritual nature, spending time with a higher consciousness and chanting and singing within that consciousness. However for some of us those practices may seem far away or something that we may not want to discover yet, so it is important to know the use of our yogic postures, where we work with the body to achieve the same or similar results. Yogic asana or postures work on many different levels, of course they are physical but they are also aligned to the organs and energy channels within the body and this is where many of our emotions congregate. For example we hold a lot of our anger within the liver and kidney, fear we hold around the heart and chest and anxiety can build within the stomach. Practicing our asana with the right intention is a purification process for not only the physical body, but also that of the emotions that lie within the mental layer of our existence.
Backbends allow us to embrace life, take on life’s challenges and open our hearts to others and the world that surrounds us. Backbends can be difficult allowing us to overcome obstacles and fears, they can be confronting and can allow many things to surface.
Twists can allow us to confront our anger and the many knots that accumulate through life and allow us to start to untie those knots or barriers within us.
Inversions give us the chance to look at life differently and can bring calmness as sometimes they are showing us what can not be seen from an upward point of view.
Balancing postures can bring clarity to a confused or cloudy mind as they increase focus and concentration.
It is important not to suppress our emotions but deal with them, yoga allows us to find a sense of contentment in any given situation, it allows us to acknowledge the emotion and let it pass, to accept it and then let it go, giving your internal self a spring clean of all the cobwebs of the past. Hatha yoga brings all these polarities into harmony all the negativities into positives, the masculine and the feminine into balance, the sun and the moon within you become closer together.
Acknowledge and let it go, here are four postures that will help –
Ardha Matsyendrasan – the half spinal twist
Turning anger into joy with this twisting pose as it stimulates the liver and kidney and allows you to focus on the exhalations imagining a cooling sensation for the mind with every out breath.
Ustrasan – camel pose
Turning fear into love, as we open the chest and allow the heart to expand giving it more space, an invigorating posture that re-energizes and allows us to confront.
Paschimothanasan – seated forward bend
Turning anxiety into freedom as this posture calms the mind bringing a greater sense of security, soothing and toning for the digestive system and rebalances through our whole energetic body bringing fresh prana (vital life force) into the spinal column. According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika one of our classical textbooks on the light of yoga, it is stated that this posture can remove all diseases. Great youth can be gained from this pose, we can return to when we were children and anxiety was less than when we grow older and life leaves its marks on us.
Shashankasan – child’s pose
Turning grief or sadness into peace as we bring our forehead to the mat and feel the connection to the earth. All becomes safe as it puts the mind at ease and into a receptive state and allows us to journey to the depths of our hearts finding love, compassion and a sense of being nurtured.
Finding joy, love, freedom, and peace through our journey with yoga, enjoy your practice,
Om Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May we all find balance and harmony
Mangala / Nicky.