improving emotional health By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What does Yoga have to do with improving emotional health? All too often, people blatantly ignore their emotional state of mind. We live in a world that places importance on achievement, work, and business, in general. The more one’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs are neglected, the more out-of-balance a person’s self-image becomes.

In truth, this is an illusion that the world has been lost in; and it’s a real shame. Improving emotional health and well being is a maintenance program that deserves to be supported; and if it is not attended to, an individual will eventually reach a place where one is no longer able to ignore his or her emotional needs, because it has become a serious problem.

When we are not honest with ourselves about how we are feeling, the body will still tell the truth because it does not know to lie. If the conscious mind is detached from feeling altogether, the daily practice of Yoga could help with making a mind and body connection, since it makes people more aware of what is happening internally and externally.

For some of us, much of our daily emotional distress is the result of trying, in vain, to control others. Yet, control starts from within. Yoga puts us in touch with our true nature and grounds us, so that we become strong – yet yielding; strong enough to bend with the winds of life – without breaking. This frees us from trying to control the uncontrollable.

Even the most unenlightened people know how to draw a few deep breaths to calm themselves; due to the fact that they instinctively know when emotions run high, they need grounding. Those few deep and focused breaths, often quiet the “monkey mind” long enough for a glimpse of inner calm, which results in a fresh perspective to logically enter a challenging situation.

Hatha Yoga exercises (pranayama and asana) are an approachable daily practice, which yield many of the same positive effects as meditation, without actually requiring an individual to be still for long periods of time. Yoga asana practice focuses on the physical motions of performing the postures.

Yet, asana practice requires us to be mindful, while contemplative moments come about indirectly, as a result. During the course of a good Yoga training session, the mind is frequently still at various intervals, which, in turn, increases an individual’s connection to the source.

Hatha Yoga also stirs the energy within the human body, in order for it to flow properly again. The world is beginning to understand a truth that Yoga teachers have known for centuries: the body is full of energy. When these energy currents experience blockages, especially in the throat, heart, or navel, a lessening of one’s emotional health usually follows. The constriction of vital life energy (prana), to these emotionally charged centers, leads to depression, apathy, and a feeling of being disconnected from spiritual beauty, as well as one’s fellow man.

The asanas, in Hatha Yoga, were designed to get the energy flowing again. When the energy is allowed to move freely, a sense of emotional stability and peace is the result. The addition of a complete Hatha Yoga program (asana, pranayama, meditation, and relaxation), to one’s daily routine, is a good choice for anyone who is consciously improving emotional health.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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