This term, our practice appears to be evolving around the part of our human experience that we label as our emotions. Week one saw us looking at opening and creating space through a gentle yin practice. Week two has seen us more actively pursuing the intention of releasing and letting go through a stronger yang practice. As we open and release, we create space for new things to come in. Our yoga practice always encourages us to let go of the stuff that no longer serves us in order to create space for that which we need right now, for our continued development.
Our emotions stem from our energetic self. They begin with a feeling, which is then given an emotional label by the mind. Yoga teaches us not to become that emotion. We talk about becoming angry, upset or excited for example, and yet we are not really that emotion, we are simply experiencing it and from that experience there may be one of several outcomes: we may experience change, or no change, we may avoid the emotion or push it away, or we may simply experience it and then let it go.
Yoga teaches us that we are not our emotions. That they are a means with which and by which we relate to others. They come from the mental level of being (manomaya kosha) and, as such, they are within the control of our mind. Our mind, however operates largely on a sub-conscious level, which means that we are not always fully aware of how it is dealing with our emotions. We may try to think our way through/around/past emotions. We may try to subjugate them by burying them and promising ourselves that when we have more time we will re-visit them and deal with them, or we may allow them to rein out of control and become completely caught up in them.
Yoga teaches us to simply witness our emotions. When we can witness an emotion, we can be fully present in that emotion, without the mind taking over and making up stories around that emotion. When we witness, we are observing through our being, rather than through our mind. Through witnessing or observing we can see it for what it is: an experience, that is separate from our Self and not a part of our Self. We can be aware of the emotion without judging it or labelling it ‘good’ or ‘bad’, which allows us to experience it without the filter of our past experiences, thoughts and beliefs. If we are able to remain non-attached in this way, we have a mechanism to feel without being controlled by that feeling, to experience without the feeling becoming the whole experience.
This article was inspired by an article from yogi Matthew Sweeney. To read the article go to: https://www.yogatemple.com/subtle-body
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (Peace, Peace, Peace)