It’s good to leave each day behind, like flowing water, free of sadness. Yesterday is gone and its tale told. Today new seeds are growing. ~Rumi
In Yoga, the practice of poses (asana) and breath (pranayama) brings about an awareness of what we are feeling. Yoga is a very practical form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. For most of us, we start Yoga because we’re feeling stressed out, overworked or wired. We haven’t made time to ask ourselves this simple question: How Do I Feel?
We’re either too busy going faster, doing more for the sake of more, or really good at avoiding what we are feeling. Denial or argument with our feelings has become a way of life. But also a formula for suffering.
Tantric practice encourages us to embrace all of who we are. The sadness and the joy, the tiredness and the vigor, the fear and the love. This is a nondualistic approach to see that there is no winner or loser nor do we have to judge ourselves as bad or good. We do not have to battle our emotions, thoughts or feelings any longer. Running away from what we feel will only prolong it.
In Spiritual practice, we learn that all of our feelings can be put into three buckets: pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. So as hard as it might be to heal and remain in a state of being healed, we are taught through yoga to embrace our feelings, care for them like you would look after a younger sibling.
A great meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh suggest we take a feeling, let’s say sadness, and talk to your feeling: say to your sadness “I am taking care of you now.” Acknowledge this feeling is you and as you inhale and breath out, let it go. Then allow for the next moment to unfold and the next feeling. Breathe into that that feeling. Take one feeling at a time and stay with the flow.
Most importantly, know that whatever you’re feeling is part of you simply being a human. Love and hurt co-exist, one is the compliment to the other, so to prevent staying in a state of suffering, it helps to embrace all you feel and care for yourself. This practice of being human is put into poetry by the poet Kahlil Gibran who wrote, “all these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart.”
We literally learn about ourselves as we experience emotion, feeling and thought. We also become expert through this in the human experience. By caring for our own feelings, we can learn how to care and offer compassion towards how others feel.
“In that calmness we begin to understand that peace is not the opposite of challenge and hardship. We understand that the presence of light is not a result of darkness ending. Peace is found not in the absence of challenge but in our own capacity to be with hardship without judgment, prejudice, and resistance. We discover that we have the energy and the faith to heal ourselves, and the world, through openheartedness.” From book All About Love.
Today may you all take away from your time on the mat the courage to CARE FOR YOUR FEELINGS as they arise, holding them gently and then surrendering them to the next moment.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life,