The coming and going from point A to point B and back again is observed from the atomic level to the galactic level and beyond. It’s universal. In the face of constant movement between polarities, yoga and ayurveda point the way to achieving balance while also embracing the flow. The flow is the way of earthly life, after all. Change can be beautiful and it can be scary, but above all, it is inevitable.
When we lose touch with natural rhythms for whatever reason, imbalance occurs. Stagnation. Ayurveda notes that in this place where the flow is excluded, disease can take hold. In the time that I’ve studied ayurveda, I’ve maintained an awareness of this principle with regard to my diet and the care of my body. It was only recently, however, that I began to comprehend its role in my emotional health.
It is important to experience emotions. They are a gift that makes the colors of my human experience more vivid and gives me insight that would not be available otherwise. But, like everything else, it is essential to let them keep moving or stagnation will occur. Stagnation creates the foothold for what, my dears? Dis-ease. The old must be released to make space for the new to enter.
So, I began paying particular attention to my emotions- observing them, acknowledging them, and letting them go on their merry way. Great lessons, all in all. Yet, I couldn’t shake this feeling. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until… I allowed that it was time to face the monster- FEAR.
I couldn’t wrap my arms around it, or my mind. I just felt blank and numb. But this is FEAR we’re talking about! I should feel terrified, right? Then… BAM!! It hit me square in the face: Could it be that I’ve held on to so much fear and stuffed it in every fiber of my being for so long that it had become my new normal? Had I allowed myself to become so filled with fear that it pops up everywhere, all the time until it seems like the way it is?
I realized that YES! that was most likely true, and in so doing, I began to let go of it. I can’t say that I’m feeling all light and free these days, but I am aware. And awareness is the wormhole back to the present moment- the moment in which I can choose to go with the flow. I can observe the rhythm and the motion and be a part of it.
In my years of asana practice, I’ve heard over and over that hip-opening poses aid in the release of emotions (the hips are one place in the body where we hold our emotions). So, I’ve been following the yoga doctor’s orders and taking regular doses of hip openers. While I haven’t experienced a powerful emotional release like Julia Cohn describes in her recent article, the practice reaffirms my faith that yoga is a gateway back to balance.
Learn more about hip-opening poses here. What’s your favorite?