Yoga students come to our classes seeking practical solutions to life’s daily problems. If one becomes overwhelmed by negative emotional energy, this can cause chronic stress, anxiety attacks, and many more health problems. When we decided to become a Yoga instructor, we realized that many people need help to reach optimum health. In the holistic sense, health is physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Yoga is one of the oldest and most effective means of balancing the daily flow of emotions, and its benefits extend far beyond the mat or the meditation cushion.
You are stuck in traffic, and you were supposed to pick up the kids at soccer practice ten minutes ago. To make it to tonight’s seven o’clock meeting and see that the homework is done, you are going to have to grab fast food on the way. You tense your muscles and hold your breath as negative thoughts race through your mind. You get angry and then you feel guilty. By now, you probably have an aching head and tight shoulders, and you still have not moved your car.
There is not much we can do to change our fast-paced lifestyles, but we can alter the way we react to stressful situations. Contemporary energy medicine is finally recognizing what swamis knew thousands of years ago. Our thoughts and feelings do one of two things: create blockages or enable the flow of energy throughout our bodies. It all depends on our reactions.
When faced with negative emotions, our first impulse is usually to suppress or deny them, but not expressing positive feelings can create problems, as well. Regardless of whether it is joy, fear, anger, or bliss, holding feelings inside makes it difficult to fully live in the present moment.
Yoga addresses this problem by synchronizing breath and motion. Flow Yoga, also known as Vinyasa, sometimes encompasses several Yogic styles and concentrates on accompanying each movement with either an inhalation or exhalation. Focusing on the breath also helps to gauge the length of time spent in each asana, or pose, and creates a dance-like synchronization of movements that prepares the mind and body for meditation.
Our mental, emotional, and physical health, are intricately connected to our breath. Our reactions to what we see, feel, and hear, are reflected by the rhythm of our breathing. We cannot disconnect our breathing from our senses, but we can use this to our advantage. When teaching Yoga classes, emphasize the power that pranayama and everyday breathing have over one’s emotions.
The answer to emotional distress does not comes through detachment, but through allowing and observing emotions. To become the observer, allows one to seek a rational solution, rather than be buried by waves of emotion. Through Yogic meditation, we can become witnesses to our thoughts and actions, allowing our emotions and our lives to flow more freely.