Why You Must Feel In Order To Heal
My therapist Robert is a practitioner of EFT, which stands for emotionally focused therapy, otherwise known as the ugly cry on his yellow sofa. He was insistent that if I would feel my emotions then I would heal from their wounds. It took several sessions with Robert before I believed that EFT was a progressive therapy and helpful for me. Many times I was annoyed that I was paying him to ask me repeatedly, “what are you feeling?”
Robert always told me to slow down and pause. He asked me where I was feeling this sensation in the body. Dehydrated from tears, I would leave his office with lightness and freedom in my body that was a relief. I always needed a large cup of green tea post-session. Looking back, I realize that a therapy session with Robert was similar to the hot flow and yin classes I teach in Atlanta. The principle of slowing down, feeling sensation, and holding the asana dig deep into our second chakra, known as Svadhisthana.
The Sanskrit word Svadhisthana means sweetness and this chakra, located in our hips, sacrum, abdomen, and reproductive organs, controls abundance, well-being, and sexuality. The element is water, the sound is VAM and the color is orange. If you have a second chakra blockage then you might experience worries about your future, hopelessness, financial fears, and fertility concerns. When we are balanced in this sacred space then we naturally enjoy the sweetness of life as we go with the flow. We trust life as it unfolds. We derive pleasure from our inherent creativity and intimacy. We are able to forgive all that has happened in our past and allow feelings to come and go without judgment.
To open to Svadhisthasana, we must feel and when we feel, we heal. What does it mean to heal? To me, it means we forgive and we accept and we find love for all the people and events in our life that have wounded us.
Most of us carry wounds established between the ages of seven and fourteen. During this time, a hurt child decides if it is safe to feel emotions. For me, it was less threatening to build a thick stone wall around my heart rather than experience anger and grief. To no surprise, people and events that challenged my stone-wall kept returning in different architectural forms in my adult life.
Our inner world shapes our relationships
I decided to see Robert when I recognized that I needed a safe space to FEEL my emotions, particularly anger and grief. I turned fifty and I decided I was ready to touch the burning hot pain of my wounds. It has been a raw and real experience however feeling into this pain has been healing. I have learned to forgive.
I was seeing Robert because my marriage was in a rough spot. What I did not realize is that my healing began just from crying out the story. Robert was not going to tell me what to do, he simply wanted me to open up the wound. It was hard to get this real but it was worth the tears. Have you ever tried to leave your therapist’s building wearing dark sunglasses while tucking your chin down, sniffing up your nose drippings, and hoping no one else is going to get on the elevator with you? It is not easy.
It is easier to judge and blame and get angry than dig deep into authentic emotions. I wanted Robert and I to spend our sessions insulting my husband. I wanted a storyline of victim and victimizer. I was able to forgive my husband because I felt my own emotions deeply which in turn allowed me to redefine our marriage creatively. I found compassion for the challenges our marriage confronted. I did not realize that I was unblocking Svadhisthana in each session.
Using meditation to unblock chakras
Yoga offers a similar unblocking in mind, body, and spirit. We heal in our practice with mindful intention. We bring our concerns to the mat, just like I did on Robert’s yellow sofa, and process them in asana. Next time you need to feel more in your second chakra practice hip openers such as Supta Baddha Konasana (butterfly pose), Ananda Balasana (happy baby), and Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard). Hold these poses for three to five minutes and allow, with curiosity, emotions to come and go. Use your breath to keep porous and process the issues that hide in your tissues. Allow the alchemy of yoga to heal you.
My favorite hip opener to teach is Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (pigeon pose) because it requires a deep surrender. You might notice your mind asking “when will this be over?” and “is it normal to feel sensation here?” and still you stay in the pose and feel. You deepen your present moment awareness during pigeon by visualizing your physical anatomy twisting, releasing, and extending.
Meditation is also an excellent time to work with our blocked second chakra emotions. Begin by setting your timer for five minutes and sitting on your cushion. Repeat the word Svadhisthana over and over. Next, call forth your second chakra by repeating the mantra VAM. Visualize an orange wheel spinning at the base of your spine. Repeat the phrase “I feel.” Do not grasp for a result, simply flow with your breath and the mindful focus on your second chakra. Your goal is to connect and open to the sweetness of a balanced Svadhisthana.
It is important that we recognize a blocked second chakra because it impedes our adult life in the form of intimate relationships. If we are guarded and not feeling then we live diminished lives. We resist getting comfortable with the uncomfortable because we were never told that emotions will pass. We become people-pleasers instead of pleasing ourselves. We serve others endlessly rather than disappoint them with their requests. We avoid tearing down our emotional walls from childhood and risking living with a warm, vulnerable heart.
Merging the feminine and masculine
Svadhisthana is balanced when we merge the masculine qualities of reaching, extending, and seeking and the feminine qualities of receiving, attracting, and nurturing. Together, these qualities become like the elements of water; soft, powerful, and flowing. When our second chakra is balanced we are able to accept life’s pleasures and pains without judgment. We become relaxed and peaceful beings.
Through the study and attention to Svadhisthana we learn to feel both on and off the yoga mat. We become comfortable letting our emotions flow and we make space for healing. We feel a sweetness for life exactly as it shows up.
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