One of the really beautiful gifts that yoga offers us is a chance to sit with uncomfortable emotions and begin to work through them. This has been especially true for me in developing a Yin yoga practice.
Sitting in long holds for 5-10 minutes allows the mind and body to release. This can be extremely powerful and healing for people who are trying to work through their past or present situations. This can be a painful process, so it is important to have support in place to help people allow these difficult emotions to surface.
Consistent yoga practice has many benefits for your body and mind. Sign up for our free 30-day yoga challenge to reap these benefits. You will learn different techniques and yoga poses that you can use in different situations.
The following poses can help you find release physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Most of us store our emotions around the hip area. This is part of the stress response: “fight or flee.” When we are under stress or feel threatened, we tense this area. We may also draw ourselves in to protect ourselves or run away.
Even after the threat is gone, the emotional scars of the incident will remain. These emotions can become stagnant if we do not process them.
This chakra is located in the space between the hips. This chakra is linked to our relationships with others, which can be the source of difficult feelings, such as abandonment, resentment, or loss. You may experience difficulties in your relationships and feel stuck if this chakra is out of balance or closed.
This chakra can be ignited with hip-opening postures to help you process, find forgiveness, and understand the roots of your emotions.
Reclined Bound angle
This pose can be done with or without props. A bolster placed under the spine makes it hip-opening and heart-opening, increasing its sense of release. This pose is also great to do with one hand on your heart and the other on the space between your hips. I can connect with these two areas of my body, which are closely related to emotions and feelings.
The pigeon pose is a deep hip opener that we do in yoga. It can be physically and mentally demanding. You can use as many props to help you feel supported in this pose. Feel safe in allowing whatever you need to come up to the surface.
This pose is done with wide knees to open the hips. The name of this pose is accurate because it allows you to embrace the virtues and curl up like a baby. We become more vulnerable as we grow smaller.
This shape allows us to be ourselves without having to act or react in a certain way. This is an invitation to return to childhood and allow our emotions to flow as they did in the past.
Twists can be extremely effective in digestion and healthily processing food. Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga and believes that healthy digestion is important, not only for food but for all the experiences we have.
Conversations with people, our environment, and our reactions to certain things can all trigger our emotions. Twists stimulate the digestive system, which in turn encourages processing.
You can use one large bolster or two smaller ones with a blanket for a supportive and comfortable bed. Bring your hip to the side and turn, folding down your torso. Bring one cheek to the bolster. Focus on your breathing and what you notice. Relax all your body parts, allowing yourself to let go.
Restful poses, where the body doesn’t do much other than exist, may be the most powerful. The mind wanders when the body is at rest. This space can be used to bring thoughts back to body and mind. Take stock of how you feel in your body and mind.
Start to ask questions about the cause of any feeling that you have. Instead of pushing that discomfort back down, invite it to the surface by bringing your attention to it.
Legs up the Wall
Legs up the wall pose has a calming effect and purifies the body’s energy. The legs are draining out the old energy, and the mental heaviness is melting away.
This pose can be done in a variety of ways. Start with no props or with some bolsters placed under your hips and back. Place a block under your feet to add a little pressure and a blanket on top of your body to provide warmth and security.
This is the most crucial pose. We do ourselves a great favor by finding complete stillness. Our lives are so busy that we often rush from one thing to another. These moments of silence are necessary for the mind to reflect and process. It requires the removal of stimulus to make sense of everything it experiences each day.
Instead of spending your Savasana mentally creating your grocery list, try to be present with your body and mind. It might be the only time you have all day to do this. Be open to what you notice in the silence and be aware of any major shifts.
We don’t always understand our emotions. We don’t know why we are angry, sad or depressed. There could be a deep-seated answer that requires time and space in order to understand fully.
To bring these feelings to the surface, you can start to be friends with your mind and body. Another piece to the puzzle is opening the parts of your body that are holding these emotions. You might find that these poses help you achieve a breakthrough and bring about more clarity.