Yoga and Emotions

How is emotional development connected with Surya Namaskar?

I saw this question on Quora.com, and felt inspired to answer. 

The emotional benefits of any of the yoga forms, including the sun salutation surya namaskar, are that when we have trouble with some of our emotions, there is a tendency to avoid them, and the way we feel in our body when we feel that negativity. When avoiding emotions, we will put our attention anywhere other than that part of ourselves, distracting ourselves from our pain however we can.

Conversely, when we practice yoga, we put our attention on ourselves, and this makes it harder to avoid what we are feeling.

While we can hold anything anywhere, stereotypically we hold the weight of the world on our shoulders, heartache in our chests, old relationships in our hips, etc.

When attempting to move the part of our body where we have stored an emotion, we are faced with the choice of either
(1) tightening the area to avoid feeling it, or
(2) opening up and letting yourself feel.

The more we let ourselves feel our emotions , the more we release our clinging to our pasts, and the more available we are to develop emotionally.

This does not mean we need to force yourself further into a pose to develop emotionally. This means we need to feel more of what we’re already feeling, not go further, when we face a limitation.

We can ask ourselves: “if this limitation were emotional, what would it be about?”

One student said wisely in the middle of class “I get it! All I have to do to be able to do any pose is to be willing to cry”

We don’t have to actually cry, though that can be a great catharsis, we just need to stop managing our emotional response, and our bodies soften, and the stuck emotions can finally be fully felt and learned from, and we can get on with the rest of our lives.

Surya namaskar involves a great deal of movement, touching all of the joints (but not in all directions), so a simple practice of it can help a lot in this area.

There are many variations of the sun salutation, to suit all body types.  Find one that works for you and make it as much of your maintenance routine as brushing your teeth.

Hope this helps.

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