I’m cranky today.
There, I said it. Typically when I feel cranky I focus on the present and that helps. Today I’m remaining present, but I’m not in love with this present moment. Maybe I just slept wrong last night. Happens to everyone, right?
So, what do I do with this crankiness? Well, I have some choices here. I can dwell on it and let it build up inside. I can take it out on others around me- my coworkers would love that! Or I can stop trying to suppress the emotion and surrender to the feeling of crankiness; just feel what it’s like and not judge myself for feeling this way. Once I surrender to it and start to explore it maybe I can figure out what it’s there for (there is purpose to everything after all) and then the release can come.
Yoga asana (poses) can help to release emotions; sometimes when we least expect it. Nancy Gerstein outlined many of the emotional releases in her book Guiding Yoga’s Light: lessons for Yoga Teachers. Here are a few:
Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) and halasana (plow) help reverse energy blocks such as inflexible thinking, stuck emotions, and feelings of sadness.
Balasana (child’s pose) sends a signal to both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to relax.
Garudasana (eagle) helps to reign in and calm a scattered mind (as I often tell my classes during this pose – no matter how twisted we are on the outside, inside we can remain calm)
Ardha Matseyandrasana (half seated twist) calms the mind and releases sluggishness in the body.
Janu sirsasana (head to knee) helps to relieve anxiety, fear, and stress.
Woodchopper assists in the emotional release of frustration and anger. Standing with the knees bent slightly raise an imaginary axe overhead and then bending at the hips bring it down between the legs. Let out a forceful “ha” as you come down for best effects.
Backbends are my “go-to” poses when I’m feeling cranky. All of the heart-opening…well… opens your heart. Who can be cranky with a wide-open heart? I will do my asana practice and I know that will help to release this emotion. But really I’m feeling better already. Sometimes you just need to name it to release it.