How can you stretch your body to quickly and easily shift your mood and let go of emotional baggage?
Let me show you how.
In Kylamurti yoga classes there is an emphasis on the link between the physical asanas (poses) and your mindset.
People naturally come to a place of wanting to know more. My students will often ask me, what is yoga and how does yoga affect your mind?
So I have lovingly taken some time to answer this question as simply as I possibly can.
I will also give you some tools to take away to connect with your body in order to make some feel good shifts in your state of mind straight away!
We are all about simple tools to give you some fast results.
Through the art of stretching, breathing and releasing bound up muscle tension we are quite miraculously releasing on a mental and emotional level also. I like to call this stretching your body to stretch and release your mind. We can look to the body as a mirror or signpost for what is really going on for us mentally and emotionally.
We can then use the body to have a direct influence on these aspects of yourself. Making you one chilled out and tuned in yogi.
Think for a moment how you can tell if you’re stressed out, anxious or fearful… the awareness will generally originate somewhere in your physical body, right? You will feel or notice a physical manifestation of your mental mayhem. This chaotic thinking makes your body feel totally off centre and out of whack.
So let’s use your body as your best friend to reconnect with yourself.
Let’s begin with some inner reflections. Does your neck feel tension when you’re overwhelmed or stressed? Almost like the weight of the world is on your shoulders?
Does your chest feel tight when you’re anxious? You’ll more than likely find your breathing is shallow and stuck in your upper chest causing a tight constricted sensation. Little room is left for a calm slow, deep centered breath and we wonder why we get a panicky feeling like the world is closing in on us!
Not to mention your hips… a huge amount of tension is held here.
Whenever you are under stress, anxiety or fear the fight or flight response is immediately activated. This is that crazy mode where, as cavemen and women, we had to run from the saber-tooth tiger. This aspect of our nervous system (the sympathetic branch) releases a toxic cocktail of stress hormones which engages your hip flexors and constricts blood flow to the central vital organs.
Your hip flexors get switched on so you can run your ass off away from danger… Unfortunately, these “dangers”, or modern day triggers, are as simple as a traffic jam, a deadline at work or a thirty-year mortgage (not so easy to run away from).
The hip flexors are attached to your lower spine and therefore when over-activated can pull on this area and cause lower back tension. This overactive stress response and engagement of the hip flexors can also have a crazy effect on your sex drive along with many other bodily functions when left on for too long, too often… and for most of us all the time!
The good news is I can teach you how to actively switch off this stress response and tune in to your body as a signpost for what’s really going on within you.
From this place, you can make some changes and learn to manage your mind and emotions so your body can be a reflection of this inner peace and joy.
This is when you become that youthful yogi with a relaxed and flexible body free from tension and dis-ease.
For a moment, feel into your body. Close your eyes. Take a slow, deep and mindful belly breath. Notice where you are holding tension.
Breathe into this area, allow yourself to feel whatever it is your body is telling you. What feedback is your body giving you so that you can let go of the mental and emotional baggage and experience a more centred state of being?
Allowing yourself a minimum of five slow full deep belly breaths into an area, feeling whatever is coming up and letting it move through you. Not resisting, but allowing it to be with you until it dissipates. Stay here as long as you need, breathing and feeling into this area. Get curious and let the relaxation of your slow breath and awareness allow whatever is being held here to come to the surface.
Throughout a yoga sequence, we can stretch and move into these areas, allowing it to be an organic practice of our bodies innate intelligence and awareness to guide us back to a happy realignment.
For me personally, I had a massive shift through yoga in connecting into what was really going on for me. The first time I realised how incredibly tight my tights were was in yoga.
This was in fact because I was holding onto emotional tension from an unresolved experience in my past. Through the breath, movement and the art of allowing I could finally release some of this emotional baggage I had been carrying around in my hips.
Who needs years of counselling when you can go to a yoga class? Much more fun and added bonus it works on your waistline also.
This awareness offers miraculous effects on releasing and restoring old patterns of tension and unresolved emotional buildup.
Allowing yourself to move through a yoga posture with this awareness and let it become an intuitive practice.
This opens up yoga as a healing and therapeutic device.
We can also use this to empower, reprogram and align our body with our mind and heart’s intentions. Movement is a powerful vehicle for change and accessing a happier state of being.
Notice how holding a strong warrior pose makes you feel energised and empowered. How a child’s pose centers and brings you into your internal world.
I love a deep low lunge with arms wide open - I feel so expansive and abundant like the whole world is pouring down whatever I need into me.
Afternoon peckish and/or sluggish? Try a hit of bhastrika pranayama and a quick sun salutation to get your mojo flowing.
Move your body to change your emotional state.
Your body is your best friend to wake up, tune in and be a happier version of yourself.
For more information access my feel and flow meditation and read or watch my blog; How to let go of physical, mental and emotional baggage.
How light does it feel to let go so you can flow into your potential? Blog coming soon on change your pose to change your mood.
Mikyla Douglas xx
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