There is not a single one of us who hasn’t felt emotional mental pain. It is 100% apart of life. This pain comes in many different forms and varying degrees. So often I have found my self asking “Now what?” as a yoga teacher I frequently have people talk to me about their life and their pain. I can see it in their eyes, sometimes people will even say it. “I don’t know what to do.” Or “I don’t want to feel this way anymore.” Sometimes letting go, or healing takes work. It starts with a choice, the journey takes dedication to your self, at the finish line there is hope.
I had this idea explained to me not that long ago, it was of course during another yoga teacher training. The idea of the healing triangle comes from the Yoga Sutra’s(2.1). Along one side of the triangle is ishvara pranidhana, we are going to focus on the pranidhana portion which in short and sweet means surrender. Side two is swadhyaya, self-study. Side three is tapas, fire.
Pranidhana, surrender. Surrender is intertwined through out. Learning to let go in order to be able to self study is important. Just surrendering to the moment. Have you ever been caught in a storm? I was walking in Europe while back packing with a friend. We had a ways to go before reaching our final destination, it began to pour on us. We looked at each other in a “F**K it, let’s just experience this.” Sort of way. Experience the rain drip down your face and a drop sit on your eye lash. Experience the sensation of damp clothing. The rain was not about to stop, we had absolutely no control over it, so we surrendered to the moment. Surrender is letting go of control, and giving your self permission to just be and to feel. Experience emotion swell up, the body and breath will change. Surrender to it.
Self-Study. This is not easy. To be able to come to you’re mat or even through out your day and let go of the monkey mind. The busy thoughts, worries, to do list, and daydreams. To just observe your self, body, mind, and breath with out judgement. Yes I said with out judgement. Notice when you catch your self saying in your head “HEY! You’re supposed to let go, stop thinking!” this is a form of judgement… Let go of all expectations for your self. Just be. Know that this takes a lot of practice for most people. I always tell my yogi’s that yoga is not for the flexible, it is for the patient. Observe your body, mind and breath from a place of curiosity and love. It’ll amaze you what you learn about your self and the way that you work.
Tapas. Inner fire. We all have a sense of inner fire. Some times it is disguised as emotion or determination. There are two parts of tapas that are needed in your healing triangle. The fire that burns up all of the old emotion and the fire that fuel’s you to keep putting in the work. Energy/Emotions/Thoughts all just need to be acknowledged so that they too may pass. Our society some times has a negative stigmatism attached to anger or tears, the reality is that it is natural and normal to feel emotions even multiple at the same time. It is not the emotion that is bad but sometimes what we do with it.
In yoga we want to release our pain, surrender to it, feel it, watch it, and let our inner fire burn it up to make room in our lives and in our hearts for something new.
Some of my best meditations have been in a float tank or sensory deprivation tank. If you are not familiar with them they are tanks that are filled with body temperature water, anywhere between 8-18 inches and 10 thousand pounds of Epson salts so that you float in the dark and begin to loose all sensation. This is a beautiful place to practice surrender and self-study. Specifically at the Float Shack. One particular time I was going through a rough time, my heart was a little bit broken. More often then not I lean on the side of fighting for what I want in life then just letting it go and hoping it comes my way. In the tank I began to come to a place of awareness, for the first little while my eczema stung, Then the thoughts began to flood in. I allowed my self the space to simply just watch with out any judgement on my self. It was because of this that I eventually came to a place of surrendering to what was going on in my world, a place of acceptance. That is not all, I also began to realize why I was hurting, and what I truly needed to heal. It was my fire and determination for change that kept me dedicated to my healing process.
I have used this method as well as prayer in many different storms in my life. I hope that what ever you are battling that you find peace.
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