There is the expectation among people that somehow if you meditate or practice yoga that you feel less. You are supposed to be more calm and at peace. While peace and calm are certainly the by product of sustained practice, yoga and meditation actually lead us to feeling more. And because of this people stop doing their practice.
The practices of yoga and meditation lead us to our reactions and what governs our emotions, and can make us more passionate about what is important to our “beingness”. What is wonderful about these insight practices is we have more choice to have a voice in a constructive way, that is less harmful to others, and for some to have a voice with less harm to themselves. The result is more passion, more expression, and yet more containment. We can use our energy for expression with our bodies, for helping others and for reaching our goals with more integrity and energy, not less, and certainly not with more repression.
If you find yourself find yourself in the midst of your spiritual journey more emotional, more temperamental, more touchy emotionally and physically, more passionate, that is not bad. That is too be celebrated. You are feeling more. If you are uncomfortable with this, that is to be noticed. What we have with yoga and mindfulness based meditation are the tools to be more with what lies under the surface. And when it is too much, that is when you call upon a teacher, a therapist or a good friend. It is why in all major traditions there are 3 important pillars: a teacher, a teaching and a community. Without these 3, it is challenging to go it alone.
If you find yourself numb, not feeling, and removed from passion, that is not the point of yoga or meditation either. We use the background of our physical practice and being mindful of our mind’s activity to allow for what is here, not to shut it out. And here too, this requires discernment and understanding of your own pattern of when something may be “too much”. For over 3 years, I practiced the same Kundalini yoga practice for 2 hours a day. It was taking more and more energy to do my practice and I noticed that I was emotionally numb for months. I was washing dishes, felt the warmth of the water on my skin and in one bizarre moment all of a sudden heard myself say, “oh this is how I feel.” I had been using my practice to distract from how I felt and what was in the sea of my unconsciousness. At the same time, what I was experiencing was something deeply painful and kept me on a merry-go-around of “must do, must do, must do” until I could work with what was under the surface asking to be heard. The practice itself was not wrong, but what I was doing with my mind in the practice was incorrect.
We all have our experiences with yoga and meditation, but knowing that we are “designed to feel” is what will sustain you through your practice. These practices are designed to help you to watch your response, to allow for your response, breathe with it for awhile, pause and then connect. And in so doing lead you to happiness inside as well as for those around you.
May you in your day honor what is here: all your emotions, all your constraints, and have the courage to let go into what is here. May you feel, may you gain insight, may you be happy. May all be happy and well. Namaste.
Rita Moran firstname.lastname@example.org