Emotional Healing Yoga Poses
Yoga relieves pain and eases traumatic memories. It helps cope with pain by disassociating with the actual pain, focusing on positive thoughts and experiences.
Yoga is a traditional system that does not limit a person’s existence to merely the body. According to the Upanishads, a person has 5 interconnected layers -
- Annamaya kosha (made of food);
- Pranamaya kosha (the prana);
- Manomaya kosha (the mind and emotions);
- Vijnanamaya kosha (intellect, wisdom);
- Anandamaya kosha (bliss, happiness).
Every emotional disturbance manifests as diseases. However through prana, knowledge, and yoga one can release the emotional trauma and pain. According to yoga fraternity, hearts can be opened through backbends, and one can surrender through forward folds.
Pelvic area is associated with second or Sacral Chakra which is considered the storehouse of stuck emotions. The spine holds our emotional world and every cell radiates the energy of the mind, body and intellect matrix.
As per Dr. Candace B. Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion – the frequency of healthy body is 62-68 HZ. A cancerous body has energy of 42 Hz and less. Positive thoughts can increase energy by 10 Hz & negative thoughts by minus 12 Hz.
Pigeon pose or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana is considered a hip opener which releases tension from muscles around the pelvic region. Stuck emotions find vent through hip openers.
- Come onto your hands and knees and start on all fours.
- Bring right knee forward and outward.
- Then take your left leg backwards and straight. The position of two legs will look similar to L shape.
- You can come to this position from downward dog pose or from a lunge too.
- Place your palms on the floor in front of you, lengthen your spine and glide the torso ahead, so that your straightened arms and head touch the floor or mat. Your torso will rest over your right thigh.
- Your weight should be equally balanced on both hips, and the knee should feel no pain.
- Continue for 5 breaths or as much as you are comfortable.
- Slowly with the help of your arms raise the torso and come back on your fours or the downward dog pose.
Other popular hip openers are Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana); Child’s Pose (Balasana); Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) and Padma Asana. They help to balance hormones as well.
Bow Pose or Dhanurasana is a back bend. Back bends helps to open hearts and release pain. It releases stress and fatigue.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms resting by the side of your body. Keep the feet hip-width apart.
- Fold the knees and try to hold on to your ankles.
- As you breathe in raise your chest and simultaneously pull your legs up from the ground as much as you can.
- Always look straight and take deep breaths for about 20 seconds.
- As you exhale, gently bring back the legs and torso to the ground.
- Release the ankles and relax in the starting position.
Other popular back bends are camel pose and cobra pose.
Seated Forward Bend
Forward bends help one to surrender to higher force or the unknown. It helps to disassociate with the experiencer.
- Sit with the legs stretched straight in front of you. The spine should be erect.
- Raise your arms above your head as you breathe in.
- Bend forward from the hip joints, bringing the arms down to touch your toes. The spine should remain erect.
- Resting your hands on your legs, lengthen your spine and touch the toes. Bring the head towards the knees, trying to keep the knees as straight as possible.
- After about 20 secs, straighten back to the sitting position and lower the arms.
Other forward bends are Standing Forward Fold Pose, Downward Facing Dog and Child Pose.
Sitting Half Spinal Twist
Spine is the nerve network and stores the memories. Spine twists whether sitting, lying or standing help to release experiences. It opens the heart as well.
- Sit with the legs stretched straight in front of you. The spine should be erect and the feet should be together.
- Bend your left leg such that the left foot heel rests besides the right hip and the left knee rests on the ground. Alternatively you can keep your left leg straight.
- Bend your right knee and take it over your left leg. The positions of your two legs will look similar to standing triangle.
- Place the right hand behind you and the left hand on the right knee to balance yourself.
- Twist from the waist up, the shoulders and the neck, to the direction in which the folded leg’s heel faces. In this case twist to your right.
- Keep the spine straight and take gentle deep breaths.
- Gently release the position and relax in the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Other spinal twists include Bharadvaja''s Twist, Revolved Triangle Pose, Revolved Side Angled Pose and Lying-down Body Twist.
Garland pose is a wide-footed, deep squat which is also a hip opener.
- Come to the squat position with your feet as close together as possible. Kneels should rest on the ground.
- Widen your thighs more than the torso width.
- Lean ahead in anjali mudra and rest your elbows against your inner knees.
Corpse Pose helps to non-identify with the body, thoughts and pain emanating from loss, heartbreak, broken relationships and abuses. In this position attention is taken to different body parts one by one, and the entire body is relaxed.
- Lie flat on your back with legs slightly apart and arms along the body with palms facing the sky.
- Take the awareness to right foot, then move to right knees and then the hips. DO the same with left leg.
- Gradually move your awareness through each part of your body up to the head.
- Relax and move your awareness from head to foot and vice versa.
- After about 20 minutes, turn to your right side for about a minute.
- Gently sit in the ease pose.
- After few deep breaths become aware of your surroundings and body and open your eyes.
Yoga is not just about physical exercise. It includes art of living, wisdom, health of mind and elevated prana. Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that helps one to dissociate from the event and the associated pain. It teaches us that we are much more than the mind-body complex.
Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. You are Bliss, untouched by workings of world. Yoga poses help you to become aware of your body, breath and emotions.
With practice one learns not to identify with the body, thoughts or pain. During the practice of the poses, no matter how intense the pain, or rapid the thoughts are, do not resist or fight them. Dissociate and become aware of the pain and the thoughts, as they rise and vanish or diminish.
Also note that pregnant woman and people suffering from any kind of ailment have to take advice from their doctors before starting the practice. Those suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids or other hormonal imbalance may face heavy bleeding if the poses are practiced during menstruation. Thus expert advice should be taken to know whether these poses can be continued during periods.
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) - (http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/yoga-poses/bow-pose-dhanurasana)
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) - (http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-poses/seated-forward-bend)
- Sitting Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) - (http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-poses/sitting-half-spinal-twist-ardha-matsyendrasana)
- Corpse Pose (Shavasana) - (http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/yoga-poses/shavasana-corpse-pose)
Latest Publications and Research on Six Yoga Poses for Emotional Release
- Yoga and Tai Chi: a mind-body approach in managing respiratory symptoms in obstructive lung diseases. - Published by PubMed
- Changes in circulating microRNA after recumbent isometric yoga practice by patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: an explorative pilot study. - Published by PubMed