Someone messaged me some months ago about an emotion that tended to rise for them immediately after a practice. I just came across my answer again and I thought I might share it in case anyone else experienced such feelings.

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for a practitioner to experience emotions (positive or negative) during or after a posture/class.  The fact that you notice the connection is good. You have started your job of noticing feelings arising and of course the next step after observing is to let them go.

I think we have been conditioned in the west to “not let our emotions get the better of us”. In western and even in eastern cultures the depiction of the calm, serene, detached person/yogi as the ultimate character achievement acts like a warning to you against the ‘disruptive’ power of emotions; and so we don’t process stuff completely and get it out of our system.  We end up suppressing and this can have a detrimental effect on our bodies; certainly we know now our body has its own intelligence/memory and can store unprocessed ‘stuff’ for years.

UNRESOLVED STUFF IS TOXIC.  Whilst many new practitioners to Yoga are of the belief they are working solely on their physical bodies; they may not know that in Yogic terms they have more than ‘one’ body or that they have ‘5 levels of being’ (Physical/ Physiological/ Psychological/ Intellectual/ Ethereal).  ALL ‘bodies’ are attended to in practice whether you know it, believe it or not; so in Yoga we are working psycho-somatically; Our bodies, minds and emotions are intertwined.

EMOTIONS ARE WHERE OUR ADVENTURES HAPPEN IN LIFE 🙂 .  Some ‘new agey’ influencers or some who just don’t have a clue might say “just do Yoga” or they may have you believe that one is somehow ‘failing’ or not ‘evolving’ if a powerful negative emotion arises.  To feel emotions, including all the ones we class as ‘negative’, is part of what makes us human.  Telling people they shouldn’t feel emotions is NOT helpful. It is the opposite of ‘spiritual’; it may make them feel guilty or inadequate somehow and they may try to repress their emotions.  This may be damaging. ‘Supression’ is not the ‘work’ that needs to be done.  We don’t want to get rid of them completely; but we need to acknowledge them, keep them in their rightful place or let go of them where they don’t serve.

ULTIMATELY A YOGA PRACTICE WILL be a tool to help you manage the ‘less useful in the moment’ emotions.  A body that has stored up stuff (mine was one of them believe me) will go through a process; as the physical knots unwind so too will the emotional knots ‘release’ and not always immediately in the room but sometimes later and yes anger can arise.   This is the reality of a practice; the peeling away of the layers is not all a ‘pleasant’ experience but it is a glorious one; it is NECESSARY in order to move on.

So Yoga ‘takes away’ stuff that may have become trapped, imprinted in the body.  Ultimately, to reveal what is underneath.  Some of the releases may seem random and you just can’t understand what/why or remember what might have been the ‘root’. Once you have gone through such a process then the classes become about maintenance and processing through quickly the more ‘current’ issues/negative emotions arising.

One final note to give you broader view on what is happening in a Yoga room and some more food for thought.  Ayurveda is Indian ancient healing system, one of the oldest in the world, still going strong today and Yoga is often ‘prescribed’ as part of a healing therapy within it.  In the Ayurvedic world not all Yogas/Postures/Sequences are equal 🙂 {for your Dosha type} . As individuals we are made up of ‘the 3 Gunas’ or qualities of nature.  A basic tenet of Ayurveda is ‘like increases like’.  If you fall into HIGH category on the ‘Rajasic element; an Ayurvedic practitioner assessing you might say Bikram Yoga is not suitable for someone in which this quality is dominant as it might INCREASE the quality within you putting it out of balance. Ayurvedically speaking I am a highly Rajasic person myself and have been practicing Bikram for 20 years this year and I can tell you I wouldn’t swap it for all the tea in China 🙂 .

I manage {or try to influence my Dosha and my} Rajasic tendancies via dietary modification {and lifestyle habits and mental practices} and guess what, sometimes I don’t manage them which is clear when I head for that naughty 3rd coffee in a day 😉 ! but I feel strongly about NOT wanting to get into territory (personally) where I am constantly micro managing my eating habits; I feel that is counter to my happiness emtion.

Yoga is a very personal journey.  I urge all to continue exploring Bikram method and see what happens. Let me know your feelings.

Om Om Om Free Your Emotions


See the pic: an old one of me in a cold Dhanurasana; for years this posture used to bring me to an ‘edge’ in class;  It felt like I was digging in and just getting to touch the edge of something that ‘wanted’ to be set free but had deep roots and didn’t want to let go either. It was a weird feeling that you love/hate, want/but don’t want; so hard to explain these things; Yoga so personal. I don’t get that feeling anymore 🙂 . I heard somewhere that this posture ‘Dhanurasana’ releases ’fear’ around change and rocking the boat. Fear stops the life force from flowing naturally up the spine and this posture helps move energy up the spine.

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