Letting go and going with the flow.
Everyone knows the mind has a tremendous effect on the body. During our recent “Love your Body” workshop, we focused on Kriyas (Yogic cleansing techniques) to rid the body of toxins and used Yoga Asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and Savasana (relaxation) to reduce tensions or stiffness.
The past lives in us as memories, these memories are very important to us, they are the building blocks of who we are today.
Any fond memories of loved ones or of valuable experiences should be treasured and recalled every now and then. Any perceived mistakes or regrets we may have made in our life should be used as lessons learned, to enable us to make better choices in the future. But these should be thoughts we reflect on with the benefit of hindsight, not used to torment our current being.
Memories alone are not the problem, how we think about these memories or allow them to control us is what causes problems. Our thoughts can become hijacked by bad memories and these become burdens, which in time turns into physical pain.
When we carry this pain continually, our bodies become weak. These emotions cause physical changes in our heart, immune and digestive systems and hormones.
Although the event may have long passed, we continue to harm ourselves by holding on to the pain in the present moment.
Negative emotions are like a disease to the body. These include any of the following:
anger, resentment, jealousy, fear, anxiety, hatred, sadness, envy, holding a grudge, or any negative emotion that has not been dealt with.
Often when memories are too painful we try to shut them out, we either can’t or don’t want to deal with the situation. You will often hear that “this is the mind/bodies way of coping” but is it coping or is it just holding onto the pain? Surely it’s better to face it, deal with it and then let it go?
Our last savasana (relaxation) asked students to focus on a memory they may have struggled with, knowing this would cause an emotional reaction but asking them to allow the emotion to flood the body and to notice in the body where they felt the pain.
They were asked to try to identify what emotion they were feeling and what physical reaction they may be experiencing. They were told to allow these feelings to be present, to accept how it feels and to allow this sensation to leave the body to teach positive coping strategies.
Those that struggled to let go were asked to think of three positive memories that lifted their emotions to counteract the negative emotions.
Being happy and having a peaceful mind is a lot more important in Yoga than being able to achieve the headstand. Yoga postures are not the priority, they are just shapes, it’s the shape and strength of our hearts that is of most importance.