Updated: Jun 1
For those brand new or fairly recent to the practice of yoga, the physical aspect may be secondary to the emotional aspect.
Sometime during the beginning of class, I ask my students to set an intention for their practice. I indicate that there are 4 categories from which to choose from: the physical, the breath, the mental, or dedicating your practice to another person. But what about the emotional intention? For some, this is an extremely challenging and often uncomfortable part of participating in a yoga class and much more of a startling realization than a preconceived intention.
“Yoga is an equalizer involving movement and receptivity.” -Sarah Kluth
Using myself as an example, I am uncomfortable during theater or film that is a musical. Singing and dancing makes me cringe. (I can handle one or the other but not both). Most people can handle the physical aspect of yoga, no matter what shape they are in or of what age they begin their practice. But for some of us who enter the yoga realm in the presence of others, while we are ready for this physical experience, we are completely unprepared for the emotional "ask."
The physical use of the body often leads to the emotional response of the heart.
And each one of us shows this in different ways. When we are taken aback by emotion (or musicals), it tends to display itself outwardly. I have seen plenty of people cry and smile in response to a pose that either opened their heart or struck an emotional chord that resonated with them. These responses are to be expected and embraced, because they are part of who we are as humans.
The yogis of old recognized that one of the biggest components of the human being is the heart, the center of emotions. We can tune our body like crazy, we can become super smart. But what about the emotions? Those old yogis knew that these emotions were not a mistake. Rather than getting rid of them, they encouraged us to use them. The next time you are in a yoga class (or a musical), rather than trying to control or suppress these emotions, let them go. Let them out. These emotions are what bring the human being into divine consciousness. And that is Yoga.