A yoga asana practice can bring about many emotions for people. Most of the time we release positive emotions from practicing, I wrote about this in my post “Feeling a Little Cranky here”. Sometimes, though, we feel sadness, anger or other more negative emotions. Yogis will tell you that these feelings were already there; the pose has simply released them.
It can be scary for people to all of a sudden break down crying during their yoga class, but this release of emotion is healthy. When we resist what is happening in our lives it creates a great deal of frustration and other emotions that collect in various body parts. Most commonly we will feel it in the shoulders, neck, low back, and hips. Nancy Gerstein explains the effects of different trapped emotions in her book Guiding Yoga’s Light: Lessons for Yoga Teachers starting with shoulder pain which represents irritability and resistance to change. Repression or feelings of restriction in your life are felt in the back, as is carrying past hurts. Repressed anger creates tension in the neck as you “force your feelings down your throat instead of saying what you want to say” (Gerstein). The hips are related to general frustration as well as resentment, and fears are thought to be held in the hamstrings. If you’ve ever felt a sudden pain when you’ve felt angry, frustrated or when you’ve held back on expressing some emotion you’ve noticed the experience firsthand.
In a previous post I explained the different poses that can help you to release emotions. If you are trying to let go of some emotion maybe you can try adding some of these poses to your regular practice or fitness routine.