“Looking beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.” ― Amit Ray
Friday was one for the books, if only I’d written the words.
I went into a class called ‘gentle yoga’ down the street and found beauty in the poses. You see, this past weekend I’d been in a vinyasa class that had my breath opening up my heart like bullet holes, and I left drained. So this was to restore, to be – you guessed it – gentle, on myself.
For those of you who practice yoga, you know that there are moments where just the breath, the pose, the moment, can open up your emotions in surprising ways. And you know that, as your teacher or yogi will tell you, this is your time. It’s your gift to yourself and for this hour, you get to release all the other frustrations and obligations and give yourself, your body, your heart, this time.
I have always been curious about poses and why each of our bodies respond differently to them. A teacher once told me that difficulty in doing twists means I’m afraid to wring myself out and let go. My spine has always been something I protected – it’s something I’m working on. My hips, on the other hand, have always remained open. Half-pigeon, backbend, cobbler – those are ones that I go into easily.
An article on Divine Caroline talks about the emotions that are unlocked often during yoga practice and how to confront them. What’s so important is being willing to feel those feelings and let them course through your body and trust they will also exit your body, and you will find peace. This morning following an in-home kundalini practice, I found myself sobbing with just simple movements as my body continues to release frustrations and doubt. Each day I learn to be gentler with myself.
Here are some of Caroline’s comments on poses I thought were interesting…
Poses That Target the Hips Pigeon Pose: The positioning for this pose varies depending on how advanced you are in your practice. But even if you opt for the beginner’s asana, you’ll definitely feel pressure in your hips and groin.
Happy Baby Pose: This one might feel a little silly at first, but it can work wonders for bouts of exhaustion and anxiety.
Poses That Target the Chest Camel Pose: Because you make your heart so open (and vulnerable) in this pose, it often leads to dramatic emotional displays, from giggling to sobbing.
Bridge Pose: This pose is a gentler way to release emotions, because you slowly ease your body into it. The chest opening isn’t quite as stark, but it still makes a difference.
Poses That Target the Spine Big Toe Pose: Asanas that require forward bends or backbends are good at channeling and expelling tension caused by anger, jealousy, and other negatively passionate emotions.
Resting Poses Child’s Pose: Resting poses don’t tax the body, but they do cause you to center your thoughts, which can be very emotionally taxing for some people.
Corpse Pose: Also called savasana, this is a completely neutral pose that allows for total relaxation of the mind and body. But as with Child’s Pose, that dormancy can bring up repressed thoughts and feelings.