Emotions are an important aspect of Yoga. We become happy, sad, frustrated or angry during our practice. The frustration of not moving the way we think we should or of being limited by injury or discomfort. We grow frustrated at not feeling the sense of bliss and calm we did last week and despite our efforts to practice, we feel we’re going backwards. As though we are not progressing toward the peaceful, flexible and blissful state we hope for. We can turn away from the practices, take a break and try something else. We can push these emotions aside and battle on despite pain or discomfort, or we can try something new….
Yoga is an opportunity to explore our reactions. We do this each time we internalise our awareness after a practice. We explore the muscles for pain, discomfort, tension and release. We notice subtle sensations of energy being released as tingling, pulsing or a slight shiver that passes quickly.
The same is true for our awareness of emotion, because our body and mind do not work in isolation from each other. When practicing yoga, we explore our reactions, physical, mental and energetic. We do this both on the mat and in daily life, but in class we are in a more contained space with less at stake.
For Yoga and daily life, the advice is the same. Be aware of the emotion, acknowledge and accept it, be kind and gently bring your attention back to the practice. Back to the physical postures, the breath, the present moment.
Each time you do this you are practicing yoga. Whether in daily life or during class.
In the same way as we accept the movement that occurs in the mind and gently refocus, we can accept the inevitable movement of emotion and return our focus to the still, stable reassuring sound and movement of the breath.
Even in the heat of a ferocious debate over a balloon with a 3 year old, I find this helps just enough for me to keep trying it.