Have you ever become sad or angry while practicing yoga? Many of us have probably felt teary or vulnerable in certain yoga poses, whether it’s a heart-opening backbend, a simple Child Pose, or a fold forward, deep hip opener like Pigeon.
The Flip Side of Yoga
Everyone loves the “yoga high” and the joy that we get after a delicious class, but on the flip side, yoga may also bring up deeply buried emotions that need to surface. And there’s nothing wrong with these emotions. Anger and sadness are as truthful as joy and contentment, the yin to the yang.
In this video interview below, yoga teacher and Blissologist Eoin Finn says, “Negative emotions like grief, sorrow, and loss, are what it’s like to be human.” Contentment follows once we accept the way things are.
The Wood Element
A regular yoga practice provides us with a safe space to acknowledge all the emotions within us, especially as we move through the last few months of this powerful Wood Horse year.
In the Chinese Five Elements theory, Wood is an upward-rising energy that, while extremely creative and compassionate, is also the element associated with anger and resistance to change when not in balance.
The year’s strong Wood element can put overwhelming pressure, which can snap and break the most unbending ones, as you may have noticed in the world lately with so many depression and anger-related stories in the news.
Exhaling Your Negative Emotions
As winter arrives and the days get colder, slow down and add soothing Earth element activities such as meditation and Yin yoga to your regular routine to help you stay in balance.
The next time you feel sad or angry while holding a particular asana, inhale deeply into the heart, acknowledge and accept the emotion, and exhale it out with deep gratitude to your practice.
Recognize that emotions are energies that need to have an outlet, and let your yoga practice be a safe place to experience the highs and lows of your emotions, so you can find calm and balance when you’re off the mat, instead of swinging from one emotional end to another.
Consider these words by mystical poet Kahlil Gibran: “Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.”