Healing Yoga - Emotional Releaseby Linda Lee Sheldon on 04/11/16
I'm not the most limber of yoga practitioners but I enjoy my yoga time with Michelle Adams at Deep Dog Yoga. Her Healing Yoga sessions are tailored to the needs of the participants and the benefits occur on many levels. I recently experienced some releases facilitated by the yoga practice that I wanted to share as the process may help you as well.
During one of the standing asana positions a slight back bend was involved - arms up over the head moving back towards the wall behind me. I was standing in front of the wall so there wasn't far to go. We're not talking a huge back bend here, just a small movement that was difficult for me as my back can be very stiff. As I held the position for a few seconds I noticed there was an area of my spine between my shoulder blades that felt stuck. It was uncomfortable and wasn't allowing me to move back any further.
I focused all my attention on the area and asked my body "What's there? What's this discomfort about?" To my surprise I felt sorrow coming from the area of my spine! I don't know what the sorrow was from and I didn't try to figure it out as it was likely not one event but the accumulation of several events. I kept my mind in neutral - not trying to analyze it - and gently set my attention on the area. With each inhale of my ujjayi breath I imagined beautiful loving energy moving into the area and imagined the sorrow energy leaving on the exhale. After a couple of breaths I was able to move through the discomfort and touch the wall behind me, releasing sorrow's hold on my spine.
Moving on in the same practice I began to experience extreme discomfort in my right knee during a pretzel pose. As a Reiki energy medicine practitioner for over 20 years I know that we hold our fears in our knees and it can lead to extreme discomfort or dysfunction in the knee area. This time I found myself talking to my knee and the fear residing there. I imagined the knee and the fear both had personalities. I imagined my breath going into the knee and the fear leaving on the exhale. I addressed the fear saying, "Thank you for the lessons, you can go now." I had no idea what I was afraid of - probably a combination of lots of fear energy built up over time - and it didn't matter. I just addressed the fear energy present there. Within a few short minutes the pain was relieved leaving the knee a bit uncomfortable but no longer in pain.
The experience of moving through the discomfort in both the spine and knee were profound and I concluded the practice feeling as though a huge release of pent-up emotion had taken place. As I continue my yoga practice I remember to refrain from trying to analyze my physical sensations or limitations, be present in the moment, keep my focus on my body and the breath, and imagine the breath going into the uncomfortable areas and releasing the uncomfortable energy with the exhale. For my back and knee I had the realization of (sorrow) or knew (fear) what was creating the discomfort. Now if I don't know what is causing the pain I just give it a name and tell it I love it, thank it for the lessons and imagine it moving out on the exhale.
Enjoy your practice!
In Peace, Linda