Letting Go of Emotional Control, Yoga for Emotional Healing, Yoga with Melissa 390

by Melissa West on June 30, 2017

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Letting Go of Emotional Control

¨Our being is a brilliant pattern of energies, a spectrum of possibilities. At every moment we have the capacity to experience the open dimension of what we are.¨

The teachings offered in this series, yoga for emotional healing are simple, yet deep and meaningful. By opening to our emotions we can free ourselves from our suffering caused by obsessive thinking, compulsive actions and the endless anxiety that underride our experience.

When it comes to emotions we often think these are something that we need to control. In doing my preliminary research for this series when I searched for yoga videos on emotions I found several that offered to control your emotions as well as release them for you.

When it comes to emotions many of us have resorted to imposing our will. Taking refuge in the will or a tyranny of the will as Ngakpa Chogyam and Khandro Dechen say. It seems like if we control our emotions our life will seem a little less chaotic.

The very idea of opening to emotions might sound like a terrifying idea, especially if we find our emotional landscape anywhere along the spectrum of dangerous to inconvenient. The idea of opening to the free-flowing quality of our emotions just may seem like a completely dangerous one, especially if our lives are already feeling chaotic.

As Tim says, Melissa, people don´t want to rip off the band aid. What is underneath the control, the suppression, the tyranny of will be too gruesome. It might be too difficult for us to handle. We might have to let go of safety nets that we have come to rely on. This reminds me of a great Chogyamn Trungpa Rinpoche Quote, ¨The bad news is you are falling without a parachute. The good news is there is no ground.¨

We have this core belief, that for life to be smooth and undisturbed, it is a good idea for us to keep our feelings under strict control. This takes all kinds of forms, from not burdening others with our feelings, to having a stiff upper lip and chin up! The problem with control, is that all of our experience becomes dull and lifeless. We get cut off from all feeling – not just the emotions we don´t like, but the ones we want to feel as well.

Letting go of emotional discipline means releasing the repression of emotion and indifference to pleasure or pain – in other words as Ngakpa Chogyam and Khandro Dechen say, ¨stepping off the tight-rope walk of tight-lipped stoicism.¨ The price we pay for emotional discipline is an inability to sympathise with anybody. We start to ossify and harden like bone.

The price of the emotional lobotomy for the promise of emotional control is too steep. We have dulled our sparkle. As as Ngakpa Chogyam and Khandro Dechen say, ¨I know that life is a bit limited now that I´ve decided to put myself in this wheelchair, but at least I´ll never sprain my ankle again.¨

It is illogical to think that we should rise above our emotions as if human feelings are some kind of spiritual disability. According to as Ngakpa Chogyam and Khandro Dechen say, ¨We are not looking to reject our emotional personality in favour of some kind of spiritual calm – a state in which the pause button has been securely depressed, where there is no chance of feeling anything at all.¨

We cannot vaccinate ourselves against life by rising above our emotions, this is not what it means to be spiritual. This is flying away to an imaginary land of rainbow and unicorns and escaping our very real lives of love, loss, regret and emotions.

In the coming weeks we will explore opening to our emotions as fluid fields of energy worthy of our exploration. For today, let´s focus completely on letting go of emotional discipline.

¨Our being is a brilliant pattern of energies, a spectrum of possibilities. At every moment we have the capacity to experience the open dimension of what we are.¨
Ngakpa Chogyam and Khandro Dechen

Teachings from this class were inspired by Spectrum of Ecstasy: The Five Wisdom Emotions According to Vajrayana Buddhism

Yoga Postures/Asanas: Apanasana or Knee to Chest Pose, Banana Pose or Supta Ardha Chandrasana, Bridge Pose or Setu Bandhasana, Plank Pose or Kumbhakasana, Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana, Standing Twist, Breath of Joy, Reclined Bound Angle Pose or Supta Baddha Konasana, Bound Angle Pose or Baddha Konasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose, Surabhi Mudra

Props: Bolster, 2 blocks

Weekly Yoga with Melissa 390 Photos of Yoga Poses

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  • Donna Stone

    Great class on accepting the beautiful gift of our emotions. Love the poem and the ride of ‘feeling’ it takes me on.

    • Thank you so much Donna. I am loving hearing how people are opening to the poem in their bodies and emotions 🙂 Thanks for letting me know <3 Namaste, Melissa

  • Linda Caldwell

    I really enjoyed the extra silence in the poses. Do you feel that emotions sit in certain parts of our bodies during stress overloads? Emotions find their home somewhere like a man’s tool belt. Thank you Melissa for your work and glad you enjoyed your retreat. Hugs.

    • I´m glad you enjoyed the silence in the poses. This is almost like a line of poetry, ¨Emotions find their home somewhere like a man´s tool belt.¨ This example is poignant. I think each person´s experience is unique and individual and it is definitely worth opening your awareness to your body and what is happening for you. Namaste, Melissa

  • Carla Van de Schoot

    That wheelchair sounds just like me.
    I would like to let in the pain behind my anger.
    It happens sometimes, but I have no control over it. I wish there was a way to make that happen more often. The anger is pointless and there is no evolution. The pain I think is something that could develop. But I can not make it come out.
    I hope this is more or less clear.

    • Anger is such a common emotion and it is so natural for it to arise and yet there is so many negative feelings around it in ¨spiritual¨ communities. I have recently covered anger in a yoga class: http://www.melissawest.com/381/
      And we will cover it again in this series as well.
      Namaste, Melissa

  • Mary E Williams

    I loved the poem. I could visualize the old barn with the tractor covered with cobwebs, the dirt road leading up to a run down house with a rocking chair on the front porch that had not been used in many years. It reminded me of my childhood days and my grandparents house.
    I did not realize how many emotions I had locked away over the past several years. I have become immune to any emotion. Thank you for helping me realize that. I look forward to continuing these classes with you. Namaste.

    • I love how deeply you connected with the poem Mary. Such a beautiful awareness about the immunity to emotions. As my teacher Michael Lee always says, awareness is the precursor to choice. Namaste, Melissa

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