Time just published an article I thought was interesting and very relevant, about emotional release during exercise. The article states that more and more studio owners (think yoga, Pilates, spinning, bootcamp) are seeing a rising trend in their students using exercise as an emotional release. Some instructors even construct their classes to have a moment where their students can have that cathartic release. Sometimes it’s a specific song or a certain motion, but they know their students are looking for a release so they are helping them get there. Since the beginning of time, exercise does release endorphins and stress.
In my yoga classes, I have noticed that yoga allows for this release naturally for everyone in their own time. The purpose of practicing yoga is, if directed in a healthy way, to go inwards and reflect within about where you are in life and where you are going. Teachers who have worked on themselves and studied the deeper teachings of yoga have the capacity to help others see a bit more clearly. A teacher is only meant to be a guide for students to heal themselves. Teachers are not the ones that heal. A student must be open and receptive to seeing him/herself truthfully.
Emotional releases are healthy as long as one is conscious of what is happening. An emotional release with attachment, impulse, or aggression can lead to unhealthy ways of coping causing more spiraling and loss of control. When we release emotionally from a place of observation and objectivity then we have a chance of plucking out the root cause of where this emotion came from.
When I practice yoga, I have a variety of emotions that arise and I observe, assess, apply intellect and shift as needed. It takes practice and willingness to step out of your own shit. Next time you are in pigeon pose – my go-to pose for emotional release – look within and ask yourself, “What am I doing that is getting in my own way?” Sit with the answer, release any emotion that surfaces like guilt or sadness, find forgiveness for yourself, accept where you are, and finally, let it go! You will feel lighter and freer in your own skin in order to move forward to a life that you’ve always wanted to live!