How yoga can assist with managing your emotions • Yoga India Foundation

January 22, 2019
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How yoga can assist with managing your emotions

 

Yoga has many benefits including physically, mentally and spiritually. Yoga is not just about

any one pose, it is about many postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama), meditation,

cleansing (shatkarma) and so much more. My essay will be on how yoga can help you to

manage your emotions. Why you ask? It is important to have control of your body, you have

to be conscious of all your senses, your mind and your body inside and out. You need to

have an understanding of emotions and when and how they affect you. You should feel

emotions through not holding them back, however you should not let the emotions take

control of you either. You need to manage them, and yoga practice can help you do this.

Yoga is a spiritual science of self-realisation, which means finding oneself through a

spiritually journey. People say they know themselves, but do they really? Or do they only

know their qualities, their idea of who they are? I have spent a lot of my life just being

happy, outgoing and suppressing sadness and anger. I surely did not have control of those

emotions, but more of blocking/holding back. Supressing my emotions has caused me to be

sick on the inside, and these emotions are retaliating and in force. Practicing yoga has helped

me to have control of my emotions and my wellbeing. It can surely assist you with managing your emotions as well.

 

I was introduced to yoga from a computer game. On this game I just had to do a few

balancing asanas, and after these I felt more grounded and controlled. From just these few

movements on a computer game gave me a new pathway in life. This pathway was to take

control of my mind, body and of cause my emotions, and it was the yoga pathway I begun.

Through yoga practice you can have a deeper understanding of your emotions and taking

control back. Certain asanas can help lift your spirit or the opposite by calming you down.

Pranayama also assists with increasing or decreasing your mood through breath, you can

have a better balance and control of yourself mind and body through practice of meditation

and your intake of food, water and general activities in your daily schedule.

 

Many people including myself, have blamed someone for my own feelings of anger, sadness

or even happiness, but it’s your reaction not their action that causes these emotions. The

emotions can quickly change from one to another and even in a short turn around. With not

having control of these emotions you can hurt yourself, something or even someone else.

You need to feel these emotions but also have control of them. Know them, feel them,

accept them and move onward, through asanas, breath, meditation and even diet. Once you

have control of your emotions you can have control of your actions, reactions and feel more

balanced within.

 

If your emotions are running wild and you need balance in your life, balancing poses are

what you need to practice. These asana´s will help bring calmness, balance and cleanse the

mind and body.

 

Vrksasana (Tree Pose) is a good asana all round for balancing for a beginner

and advanced. This pose develops nervous balance and strengthens the legs, ankles and foot

muscles. To begin you would need to stand stand on your matt, even out the weight

between both of your feet. You then shift your weight from your left foot primarily on to

your right leg/foot. Lift your left knee out in front and grab your shin with your left hand.

Open up your hips with moving your left knee out to the left side and having a straight

alignment from the knee to your hips. Keeping your hips open place your left foot on your

inner thigh, calf or ankle, just not your knee. From here you can open your arms down by

your body with palms facing forward and looking ahead. You can also put your palms

together in prayer position or up to make branches with your arms and look to your thumbs

or the ceiling. You will have relaxed shoulders, keep the back straight, balance on the four

points of your foot and keeping a straight line from top to bottom and having an awareness

of your pelvis with anterior or posterior tilts. Hold this position up to 2min each side. When

you are ready slowly lower your leg and shake the legs out and swap sides.

If your mood is low and you feel down, and you need a push for energy, back bends are what

is needed. They are good for opening up and embracing life and life’s challenges.

 

I have chosen Ushttasana (camel pose). Physical benefits with this pose are the loosening up of the

vertebrae and stimulates the spinal nerves, relieving backache, rounded back and drooping

shoulders. Having the neck stretched, tones the throat organs and regulates the thyroid. This

pose also benefits the digestive and reproductive system, through the stretch in the stomach

and intestines. You would begin by sitting in thunderbolt pose and then stand on your knees

with arms by your side. Lean slowly backwards right-hand reach for the right heel and left

hand reaching for the left heel. Pushing the hips forward, keeping the thighs vertical and

bend the head and spine backward as far as comfortable. Relax into the pose and the

support be even through both arms and legs. Hold for up to 3min for a static pose and when

you are ready to come back slowly release one hand at a time and transition into the

counter pose, Childs pose.

Forward bends are a good counter pose for back bends but also good for calming the

emotions down. If you need to calm the mind, release anger or release ego these asanas will

help.

 

Balasana (Childs pose) stretches and strengthens the back muscles and separates the

individual vertebrae from each other, releasing pressure of the discs, this pose also tones the

pelvic muscles and sciatic nerve. Sit in thunder bolt pose and widen the gab between your

knees close to the width of your matt. Fold forward putting your forehead on the matt and

making a curve in the spine. Stretch your arms out forward with your palms facing down and

your stomach rest between your legs. Push your tail bone down towards your feet and relax,

holding this pose around 3min or to calm anger up to but no more than 10min.

After back and forward bending you should do a spinal twisting asana.

 

Meru Vakrasana (spinal twist) is a good pose for beginners and up to advance. These asanas are good for

managing entangled knots and twists in your life. These poses can give us the confidence

and energy to learn how to deal with these problems. This pose is good for the spine,

loosening the vertebrae and toning the nerves. Alleviates back ache, neck pain, lumbago and

mild forms or sciatica with stretching out the spine. Sitting with your legs out straight and

back straight, bend your right knee and place your right foot on the outside of the left knee.

Breath in and raise your arms to the sky and on the exhale twist your body to the right.

Placing your left elbow on your right knee with your hand pointing up palm outwards and

right hand flat on the ground behind you. On every inhale lengthen the body and exhale

twist a little deeper. Holding each side up to 3 min, and when ready re-centre and change

legs and twist to the other side.

 

After moving through some asana’s, pranayama and meditation should be added to the

practice, or even on their own if required. They are used for other ways to gain control of

your emotions. Many pranayama’s are good for looking within and connecting with yourself

deeply. Nadi Shodhana should be practiced in each practice of pranayama to balance and

purifying to form the basis for a successful practice of pranayama.

 

Bhramari Pranayama (humming bee breath) is good for relieving stress and cerebral tension and

helps alleviating anger, anxiety, insomnia, which increases the healing capacity of the body. Bhramari

Pranayama includes a meditative state by harmonizing the mind and directing the awareness

inwards. The vibration of the humming sound creates a soothing effect on the mind and

nervous system. Sit in a comfortable seated pose hands resting on your knees. Back straight

and body relaxed. Raise the arms out to the side, bend the elbows and bringing the index

fingers to plug each ear. Bringing awareness to the centre of the head take a deep breath in

through the nose and exhale slowly and controlled while making a deep steady humming

sound like that of a bee. The humming sound should be smooth and continue for the

duration of the exhale. The softness of this sound will vibrate at the front of the skull. At the

end of the round the hands can stay or be lowered and raised again for the next round. This

practice can be between 5-10 rounds for beginners and increase up to 10-15 minutes, if

increased tension and anxiety can practice for up to 30min.

 

If sitting down is not comfortable for you then meditation with movement is something you

can work with. One of the meditations of movement is walking, yes, just genal walking. You

can walk anywhere, your house, studio, garden or the beach. Anywhere you can walk

without tripping can be used. This type of meditation is where you look on the ground just in

front of yourself, so you can see where you are going, but having your awareness on your

mind and body. Keeping your body upright, aligned and dignified whilst being comfortable

and natural, walk slowly and deliberate with each step. Take each step by pressing the heel

down first and flattering the foot and then lifting the other foot and step forward and place

the heel on the ground following by flattening the foot and then taking the next step and

repeat. Just breath naturally (from the diaphragm) and focusing on the rhythmic flow of the

breath during each step. Walk around for at least 5min up to 15min focusing on your breath

and your steps. This refocuses your thoughts away from any emotions that are causing you

to feel sad, angry or even when you want to calm your pitta. This meditation gives you the

opportunity to look deep within and remember the Earth that sustains us and develop

gratitude. Be mindful as possible by being aware of your body and the physical sensations in

each step as you move.

 

Emotional balances can also be from an imbalance of your doshas. This is known and aware

through Ayer Veda and being aware of your natural dosha and feeling of imbalances. You

can use asanas to balance your imbalances for e.g. if you are having an imbalance with your

pitta then twisting poses will help towards increasing pitta and forward folds to cool the

pitta. Keep checking your dosha till you have a balance and this should help you have more

control of your emotions also.

Yoga is more than a stretch, it is more than a sequence it is a lifestyle and a strong

understanding of your mind and body. You can still feel emotions, however through

practicing yoga it can give you a better control of your emotions by being aware of your imbalances

and/or emotions and controlling them through asanas, pranayama and

meditation to take control back.

Wake up with love for yourself, your neighbour and love for nature, whilst being aware of

your emotions and practice what is needed to have control of your mind and body again.

Remember to just breath, breath in deeply and exhale completely.