Yoga for Emotional Awareness
If you haven´t done the first class in this series, Letting Go of Emotional Control, go back and start there. This series is cumulative and so you will need to do the classes in order.
¨Emotions are intelligent expressions of energy that can lead us to our awakened nature.¨ Reggie Ray
Emotions in and of themselves are not a problem. They are simply expressions of awakened energy. Emotional awareness allows us to experience an emotion and let go into that direct experience. We can be immediately present with whatever emotion is experienced in a direct way. We can experience each emotion in a fresh and new way.
What is emotional awareness? It means being completely present and open with the emotion. With emotional awareness we are free in the experience of whatever emotion arises. We are with the straight, undiluted, essence experience of the emotion.
What normally happens however, is that we experience an emotion and then we shut down. We retract from the pure, undiluted experience of the emotion and pull back from it. We do this by trying to figure it out. We try to figure out why we are feeling the emotion and where it came from and how to resolve it. In short we begin to attach a story to the emotion.
About a week ago I was overcome with sadness. The direct experience of the emotion was quite overwhelming. I pulled back from it. I tried to figure out, why am I sad? Where did this emotion of sadness come from? I went back through my whole day and all my interactions and tried to blame my sadness on somebody else as though I caught it like a flu bug. There is no end to finding the storyline, you can go back through your whole life, through your whole childhood, you can go back into your past lives if you want to as well. There is no end to pulling away from the intensity of the direct experience of the emotion. Sadness, like any other emotion is simply a human emotion, a play of energy, but there is a desire to justify them, explain them, attach a storyline to them and most of all to resolve them. In my case, I walked right into the grocery store, bought I family size bag of chips and sat down and ate the whole thing. Then I felt sad but I also had a bigger embodied sensation of a stomach ache that allowed me to cover up the direct immediate, undiluted experience of sadness.
Emotions are not good or bad or indifferent. We label our emotions. We think joy, oh that is a good emotion. Peace and calm, oh those are really good emotions for somebody like me, a yogi to be having, I should be having more of those emotions. Anger, anxiety, fear, those are bad, those are really bad, I should avoid those emotions, in fact as a spiritual person I shouldn´t have those emotions at all! But we are delusional in our confused thinking and constructed stories, explanations, and judgment around emotions. We are distracting ourselves from the experience, labelling the experience, judging and compartmentalizing them. We are simply using our intellect to distract ourselves from our direct experience. Each emotional experience is fresh and new. With emotional awareness we are letting go of our addiction to the thought process about emotions. We are letting go of trying to figure it out.
When we are talking about emotional awareness we are talking about being present to the energy of emotional experience itself. Emotions themselves are boundless expressions of energy and so we exit from the emotion, the sensation, the direct experience, attach a story to it, wrap it up in reason and logic to re-establish our sense of self. The storyline makes the emotional experience small enough again that we feel like we are in control.
Strong emotions can actually open the doors of awareness for us. As Reggie Ray says, they represent a point where our awakened nature is breaking through our storyline and our limited sense of self. Every emotion then becomes an open-ended opportunity for immediate presence. Emotions are actually incredibly helpful on our journey of awakening.
Yoga Postures/Asanas: Front Lying Savasana, Locust Pose or Salabhasana, Front Lying Twist, Cat Pose or Marjaryasana, Lunge Pose or Anjaneyasana, Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana, Warrior One Pose or Virabhadrasana One, Warrior Two Pose or Virabhadrasana Two, Peaceful Warrior, Standing Forward Fold, Camel Pose or Ustrasana, Cow´s Face Pose or Gomukhasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose, Dhyana Mudra
Props: 2 blocks, yoga strap
Teachings from this class were inspired by Spectrum of Ecstasy: The Five Wisdom Emotions According to Vajrayana Buddhism and Dharma Ocean Podcast Emotional Awakening Part 1 and 2 by Reggie Ray
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
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Let me know in the comments how it is to open to the immediate experience of emotions and let go of trying to figure it out, let go of the storyline.
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In this class I spoke of opening our awareness to emotions. Next week I invite you to open into a community of people who support each other on a genuine path of spiritual transformation. We come together each week in our live classes and in July we will be coming together for a special four day retreat on July 10, 11, 12 and 13th to connect with each other and the earth. We would love to welcome you into our community. And if you are already a member of our community I will give you a link to the July retreat. Click Here