When people start yoga invariably they expect to feel something in the physical body, to feel a really good stretch, to feel a little stiff after strengthening the muscles but what often surprises people is just how much they feel! Yoga gets us in touch with our feeling/emotional body as opposed to being always in the thinking/analysing mind. We live in a society where being ’emotional’ is seen as criticism and many of us bury our emotions so deep that we forget how to feel. This presents a problem because most of us want to ‘feel happy’ and to experience the emotion of ‘joy’ yet by shutting ourselves off to feeling the less positive emotions we limit our ability to feel all emotions fully and end up residing in a bland existent where things are ‘not bad’. When I was little and gave my school reports to my Father he’d respond with ‘not bad’ and I have always hated this expression. It means nothing, it exists purely on the grey scale of life and I don’t want to live there. I want to live in Full HD colour, where things are great, things are terrible, things are fantastic, things are sad. Yoga teaches us to wake up and feel all our emotions: the truly amazing ones and the really rubbish ones as big feelings are life affirming. We learn to take the rough with the smooth as we trust in the lesson of yoga that the only constant in life is change, so right now if you are riding the wave of a rough emotion, maybe grief or heartbreak, allow yourself to feel because it too will pass, it has to for everything changes.
So next time you find yourself feeling in class, don’t censor yourself or shut off that feeling. If you want to give the person on the mat next to you a ‘high five’ because you just manged crow for the first time, or you feel your eyes welling up with tears after camel, or even that feeling of anger that arises when the teacher asks you to do chaturanga for the 25th time that class, feel the emotion, experience it head on and then notice how it passes.