4 Yoga Postures to Cleanse the Emotional Body
Every spring, within the newly melted and awakening soil, Mother Earth grows fresh plants and herbs that naturally purify and replenish our physical bodies. But it’s important to also replenish your inner space after you’ve cleared out toxins, old stories, and stuck energy. I invite you to consider an a emotional cleansing this Spring using traditional asanas to clear your mind and process stuck emotions. Let’s focus on clearing ourselves from the limiting dynamics of anger, fear, grief, and worry to make space for the higher energies of joy, love, freedom, and peace.
Half Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Wringing out anger. When our lower bodies act as a foundational support for the upper body to spiral around in a twist, transformative changes bless our inner organs. Specifically the liver and the spleen benefit from the half spinal twist as we inhale fresh, new life, and allow all that is old and stale to be washed away. The liver, according to Chinese medicine, is where the majority of our anger resides in the body. We create toxins in this vital organ when we hold on to hurts, grudges, and resentments. With each inhalation, lengthen the spine and invite the Prana of the breath to bathe the liver. Consider a relationship, either with yourself or another, where you are holding on to the hot fire of anger. On the cooling exhalation, spiral your belly, rib cage, and upper chest around to the back. Go beyond surface level as you deepen into the grace of understanding, beginning to release all the anger you have stored up that no longer serves you. Choose compassion as you transform the bitter taste of anger into the sweet nectar of forgiveness. Breath by breath, relax deeper into the twist, opening up space inside you for greater JOY.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Releasing fear. This particular posture is usually practiced following the shoulder stand as a counter-balance. After turning your world upside down, it’s now time to focus on expanding and opening the heart and lung area. Fear often settles in this area, creating a kind of static that keeps us from being able to clearly hear our loving inner voice. As your body weight rests on your legs, buttocks, forearms and the crown of the head, lift the rib cage and upper chest area as high as it will go upward (that feels comfortable on your body). Create an opening directly from your heart to the vast sky above, as you increase the capacity of the lungs to take in the breath of life. Be aware of that which you fear, that which holds you back from taking the necessary steps to live your very best life. Softly forgive yourself of your fears, and know that it is okay to release them to the sky above to be transformed. You can let down your walls you might have put up to avoid getting hurt, and courageously risk opening our heart bigger and wider than ever before. Let this love fill you, the space around you, and all those in your life ready to receive the beauty of your heart. Emotionally swim in the pure ocean of LOVE like a fish as you breathe in to the fullness of the pose.
Child Pose (Balasana)
Softening grief. With the innocence and un-self-consciousness of a small child, rest your upper body along your upper things as your hips melt down toward your heels. Allow your forehead to find its support on the Earth as you feel nurtured and protected at the same time. In this safe space, with your eyes closed and your gaze internally focused, become aware of the grief pangs which are residing in your heart. Who has passed from your life? Which relationship have you lost? What sadness remains? As you breathe deeply into your child body, let your heart open the door into your emotional field and observe what lies within you. The child is faithful in each moment to whatever emotion is awake and alive. Be the child, feeling fully and not holding anything back; cry if the tears come streaming down. Let memories of that which has passed flood your being. Mother yourself in the nourishing energies that relax your whole being and soften the grief that has hardened over time. As the river of grief is liberated, feel a sense of FREEDOM awakening inside you.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Surrendering worry. Beginning in staff pose, we raise our arms up to the sky, and then bow our upper body down over our upper legs. Our hands rest softly on our legs or feet, wherever they can reach, and little by little the central channel of the spine gives way to the sweet pull of gravity. In forward bends, we invite a calming of the mind. Close your eyes and listen to the monkey mind in all of its worries and frets, it’s many variations of ‘what ifs’. Just for this moment, be completely present. The future lies far away from the next inhalation and exhalation, and it is not yours to fret over or attempt to control. Trust your strong legs now connected to the ground beneath them to support you in letting go fully with your upper body. Surrender the worries clouding your sky mind, allow yourself to go deeper into the physical fold, and open up to the vast expanse of PEACE that has been waiting patiently to bless you.
Wishing all you yogis and yoginis well as you transform your yoga practice into one that emotionally cleanses you in ways that are a blessing for our entire universe.
Science Agrees; Yoga Has Significant Effect on Cellular Health
It’s no secret there are innumerable health benefits to practicing yoga. Incorporating different elements of yoga into your life can result in profoundly positive changes to your mental and physical state. But what if implementing these yogic practices could actually affect your cellular composition? This might come as no surprise to swamis and devout yogis, but now science is beginning to find evidence that this may be true in both quantum and physiological studies.
Changes at the Micro Level
Our bodies replicate and produce new cells at a rate of roughly two million per second. Over the course of a day, that adds up to hundreds of billions of new cells. Aside from growth, many of these cells have different roles, often producing different proteins needed for necessary bodily functions. But with so much of this cell growth occurring, there is plenty of opportunities for mistakes and mutations to occur.
Of course, our bodies have systems for repairing faulty cells, but the process can go one of two ways. When a cell is found to be mutated, it is essentially told to destroy itself. These cells contain substances that can be harmful if expelled suddenly in a process called necrosis. Certain cellular substances can be toxic to other cells around them leading to inflammation and other negative side effects, known as cytotoxicity. But when this cell death occurs in a controlled process called apoptosis, the cell is contained with none of the potentially harmful material escaping and interacting with other cells.
Cell necrosis can be caused by a number of things, ranging from physical trauma to toxins and pathogens. And when our bodies experience illness and disease, the whole process of cell renewal can become inhibited and bogged down. Cell growth and repair can also be hindered by heat and stress.
A change in just a few degrees can lead to the unraveling of cell proteins and their subsequent death. Stress from environmental factors can also affect us at a cellular level, to the point that it can have a negative impact on hereditary traits passed down to our children. So, what can we do to prevent this?