POWER YOGA ...... mind and body in harmony.....

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Storing emotions within the body

As most of you know, certain poses help to heal or cure many health concerns.  If you have a particular health concern please let me know so I can include specific poses to help you  more in that particular area in our classes.

I have been reading a  great book called – A Life Worth Breathing  by Max Storm. He is a yoga teacher and travels all over the world holding workshops and spreading his knowledge. I have just finished reading a chapter on tension within the body:

Nothing happens in the mind that does'nt happen in the body. They are one. Within our bodies we hold emotional, mental and tactile experiences of our past and present. By manipulating the body with yoga  we release buried negative emotions that are crippling to our spiritual progress. Our spiritual intent realigns our misaligned emotional body.

From my experience as a practitioner, and especially as a teache , I have witnessed that certain areas of the body contain different emotions.

Areas we hold tension and emotions:

The face: One simple technique to transform this negative habit into a positive is to add the act of relaxing your face on your list that you use for postures. In other words when you go into a pose you have a list - things to think about and adjust and usually in a particular order.  In Down Dog for example you may think about the placement of your feet, then your hands, then the quality of your breath. Put relax my face on the list for every posture.  By doing this you will elicit the relaxation in your nervous system and likely to carry the habit over into your daily life.

The chest: Opening the chest through back bends, handstands and deep twists can release several emotions, including grief, inspiration, joy, compassion and profound gratitude; this is because the chest is the home of the heart centre. Who you are and what your current issues are will determine which emotions you experience.

Recommended poses: Down facing dog. Camel. Wheel. Spinal twist.

The thighs : The thighs can be silos of anger.  Stretching them can release backlogged anger out of the body. Doing so can be very uncomfortable,but afterwards you may feel a new sense of buoyancy and optimism.

Recommended poses: Bridge.  Camel. Wheel. Cresent Moon.

The hips: Sometimes while opening the hips people experience waves of sadness. This particular sadness is usually linked to dealing with shame, loss of a beloved partner, sometimes even trauma particularly from early life.  Women tend to become emotional in hip openers more often that men whereas men tend to become more emotional by opening the chest.

Recommended poses: Pigeon. Happy Baby.  Cow Face Pose.

The shoulders and neck: The archetype of atlas carrying the world on his shoulders is quite accurate. The shoulders seem to carry what we feel are our emotional burdens, often imposed by outside authority figures or circumstances. So stress gathers there making our shoulders and neck stiffen like concrete. Opening the shoulders gives us a feeling of elation and freedom.

Recommended poses: Down Facing Dog.  Warrier 1.  Side Plank.  Shoulder Stand.  Cow Face Pose.

Throat and jaw: A chronic tight jaw can be a symptom of unexpressed rage. No amount of yoga will cure this syndrome. You must access who it is that you feel unexpressed rage toward and attempt to appropriately express it. This may ultimately require a major life change such as a new career but the consequences of avoiding the heart of the matter will only be adverse.

Recommended poses: Fish Pose.  Shoulder Stand.  Wheel .

Solar plexus: Located in the upper belly just below the rib cage and above the navel. This region is below the heart centre and houses different emotions, it is the area where we experience feelings of anger and fear when we are threatened, which leads to the fight or flight response. 

Recommended  poses : Twists and Back Bends to help release these feelings

The feet: The feet are like portals that bring in energy from the earth and generate energy flow up through the legs into the body. By opening and strengthening the feet the entire movement of energy throughout the body is enhanced, along with overall health and stagnant energy and blood flow released.          

It has taken me many years to learn what yoga is truly about. I always used to  judge my practice on how far I could stretch but I have learnt it is totally NOT about that and it always makes me giggle when I hear people say they can t do yoga because they can t touch there toes!  There is so much more to it than that and because of my practice I have become a much more balanced and happier person.  It just takes time, practice and patience with yourself to learn to breath and respect your body while in a pose, working out all the  blockages mentioned above. You can take your practice into your daily lives and become more balanced, stronger and focused.

Love and hugs ,
Lucy xx