Emotions + The Body


Here are the thoughts for this week/weekend’s yoga classes:

“The nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body.” -Jason Crandell

Our bodies are so dang cool! We can move, strengthen, and release certain parts of the body and actually feel it in our emotions!  We don’t even have to think about the emotional specifics, just moving and releasing makes you emotionally feel stronger and lighter.

Recall phrases like “trust your gut,” “cold feet,” “get something off your chest,” “heart goes out to someone,” “a weight off your shoulders,” “getting off on the wrong foot,” “up to your neck in something,” and “open your heart?”  Do you think it’s just coincidence that these idioms came into existence? People have always known (though maybe subconsciously) that our emotions, desires, fears, burdens, and love are stored in real places in our body.

Have you ever gone to get a pedicure and seen the poster map on the wall of the bottom of the foot? Like this reflexology and acupuncture chart.  A few downward facing dog poses towards the beginning of your yoga practice, stretching out the souls of the feet, literally brings invigoration and activation to every part of your body to be alive, vibrant, and participating in your upcoming movements.


Have you ever felt your emotions in very real places in your body, like it feels sludgy or bloated or lethargic in a certain place? Check out this body map from this Elephant Journal article. Strengthening your core muscles with some slow deep ab work is like taking out the trash of your “old stuff center” and will make you feel like you’ve got more power in your life, less victimization.  Opening up the muscles around the heart space will allow you to feel more hope and self-love, let go of grief, sorrow, and sadness.   Opening up the shoulders will allow you to feel lighter and less burdened, better able to face each day with brightness.  Stretching around your neck and throat will help you express yourself easier.  Loosening your hips will invite healing, trust, acceptance, and the ability to accept support and love.  Twisting your sides will release anger or thoughts of unworthiness.


I was in a bad car accident last year and in my healing process, I tried acupuncture for the first time.  I was up for anything. It helped restore my central nervous system calm after that trauma.  And after each session of having needles placed in very exact places on my body, I’d walk out of there feeling so relaxed, like I had just gotten the most incredible massage, muscles melted, ready for a nap.

Also related to that accident, I had months where I was very limited on what I could do for physical activity.  I completely felt the imbalance of not having the release of physical movement, the great-feeling hormones coursing around inside of me from running or flow yoga, the sensation of all body systems churning along energetically and in concert.  It affected me emotionally to not be able to move how I had been used to moving.  Now today, able to do nearly as much physical activity as I was pre-accident, I am completely savoring that balance, that release, that high, that ability to leave your stress on the trail, that ability to feel alive and well on the yoga mat, to have everything once again invigorated, and to feel proud of my strength.  Don’t take your body and health for granted!

Circling back to the Jason Crandell quote, “the nature of yoga is to shine the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body,” I am just continually fascinated by how my yoga practice shines light into every corner of my body, every emotional nook and cranny, every physical muscle fiber, every cell and blood vessel. I am amazed and awestruck at how incredible the human body is.  We can move, strengthen, and release the physical body, and it invigorates, strengthens, and lightens the emotions.  WOW!  Get moving, friends.

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