3 Surprising Ways Yoga Is Connected To Our Emotional Bodies
When I first started practicing yoga, I did it for the purpose of decreasing anxiety, based on the scientific evidence showing that it could help. I suffered from anxiety my entire life, but once it started becoming more severe due to a series of life events, I decided to try new things to help alleviate it, and yoga was one of them.
There’s no question that yoga began to immediately benefit me. My new motto became, “I’ve never regretted going to a yoga class.” Some of the teachers were into the spiritual aspect of yoga and would make comments about the chakras and energy centers in the body. I thought it was a little “woo woo”/out there at the time, but it did catch my attention. Yoga was my first reconnection to the spiritual realm after years of ignoring it.
As my spiritual practice has deepened, my yoga practice has become more advanced. I am more easily able to do the poses I once had to force myself into, even after years of practice. It was then that the mind-body connection that yoga is all about was solidified for me. Yoga postures themselves push us to expand our limitations. Here are 3 ways that yoga can show us what we need to work on in our emotional life that may be holding us back:
Yoga is quite a literal representation of the mind-body connection. Balance postures were always the most difficult for me. If you struggle to find your balance during yoga class, what areas are you struggling to find balance in your personal life? For me, I’ve always struggled with finding a balance between my relationships and my work life. Relationships always came first to me. As I’ve started to let that go, and to work on things that were important to me, I’ve been able to balance more easily during yoga class.
This is an area that men seem to struggle with more often than women. However, it’s less about the physical gender than the energy (masculine or feminine) being expressed. If you are inflexible in your yoga practice, where are you being inflexible in life? A lot of people think they have to stick with a rigid path of routine and effort, working at miserable jobs they hate, being on a strict timeline, and not following their heart. If you open your heart to the knowledge of your inner being, where does it lead you? This is why children are so flexible, because they innately know this to be true.
On the flip side of flexibility, strength is more of a masculine characteristic. I am always fascinated to take a yoga class taught by a masculine man, as there is usually a focus on building strength. If you have trouble building strength in your yoga practice, in what areas in life do you need to be stronger? Strength is self-confidence. Strength is personal power. Strength is the ability to live your truth regardless of what others think.
Although many people spend years trying to build that “perfect” body or to develop that strength or flexibility by using punishment and discipline, there’s actually a much easier and more effective way to get the results you are looking for. Yoga is one place to start, but the physical is only half of the puzzle. You must look within, at the mental/emotional aspects if you really want to improve your practice.
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