Have you ever felt upset without being able to clearly identify why? If you find yourself struggling to figure out what, exactly, is bothering you so much, you're not alone. We are only human after all.
Often you may need some time and space to process how you’re feeling and, what — if anything — you want to do about it. If ignored, this type of disconnect from your sense of self can cause stress, internal conflict and even have a negative impact on your relationships.
Breathing, meditation and taking the time to just slow everything down, can often provide clarity and a stronger connection to your true sense of self. You can find this through a regular yoga practice, yes, but you can also incorporate the following four asanas into a sequence right at home to unlock and process your deepest emotions.
1. Pigeon Pose / Eke Pada Rajakapotasana
From Downward Facing Dog, step your right knee forward to the back of your right wrist and lower the left leg, trying to keep the hips square. If this is uncomfortable, you can prop up the right hip with a block or a blanket.
Adjust the alignment of the back leg to ensure it’s in the center of your mat. The right foot can stay close to your left hip or if it’s available to you, you can gently extend it forward so that it's parallel with the top of your mat. Begin to fold forward with the torso, lowering to your forearms and resting your forehead on the back on your hands or a block.
Pigeon is a wonderful hip opener and engages your sacral (Swadhihthana) chakra. The hips are where we often hold a lot of our emotions, especially women. Pigeon pose opens both the hip flexors and rotators and can also help release tension in the lower back.
The awakening of the sacral chakra in your lower belly will help connect you to your emotions, relationships and creativity. Take time in this pose to notice any sensations you feel in your body and breathe into those areas, allowing yourself to feel safe and grounded.
Stay low and long in this pose for 10 to 20 breaths on each side.
2. Wheel Pose / Urdhva Dhanurasana
Lying on your back, bend your knees with the soles of your feet flat on the mat and draw the backs of your heels closer to your hips.
Take your hands behind your head, bend through the elbows and place the palms of the hands directly under the shoulders, fingertips facing toward your body.
Lift the hips as you press into your hands and feet. Press through the upper thighs as you shine your heart upward.
Wheel is a great pose for allowing yourself to feel vulnerable, as it awakens your heart (Anahata) chakra. Releasing the neck and dropping the gaze in this pose will help you to see things differently, maybe even giving you a new perspective on life.
It is especially helpful while mending a broken heart and will encourage you to fill yourself with love, gratitude, and appreciation.
Remember to breathe slowly and deeply as your lungs will naturally begin to work harder for you. Feel your chest expand and heart soar.
For a less intense variation, try a Bridge Pose.
You can try to work your way up to staying in a full Wheel Pose for a minute at a time, for 2-3 repetitions.
3. Child's Pose / Balasana Variation
Kneeling on your mat, bring your knees together and sit back on your heels. Fold your chest over your thighs and relax your neck, dropping your gaze down and closing the eyes. Place your arms down and back by your side, palms facing up, and release into your shoulders.
This variation of Child’s Pose offers all the same benefits of a regular Child’s (with arms extended out in front) and also includes a balancing your sacral (Swadhishthana) chakra, but also allows the shoulders to relax a bit deeper.
As you stretch the crown of your head toward the front of your mat, the (Sahasrara) chakra will begin to open. Try noticing your thoughts as they come and go and invite wisdom and creativity into your being as you ease into this humble pose.
If performed with an open mind, the gravitational pull of Balasana can induce a great sense of physical, mental and emotional release.
Continue to deepen the breath and hold for about a minute.
4. Supported Corpse / Salamba Savasana
Take a bolster or roll up a blanket and tuck it under your knees. Lay flat on your back letting your feet flop open with your hands resting down by your sides, palms face up. Feel a soft release in the lower spine.
Close the eyes, and begin to focus on the natural rhythm of your breath. This pose will help you relieve stress and bring peace to the mind. Your body should begin to relax as you turn your practice inward, silently experiencing gratitude and acceptance.
It is suggested a person stay in Savasana about five minutes, for every 30 minutes of yoga.
Try these asanas based on what feels right for you and your body, letting your natural energy and intuition be your guide.
As you surrender to these powerful poses, observe what begins to come to the surface and take note. But have patience — the key to unlocking your hidden emotions takes time and dedicated practice.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Gallery Credit: Chelsea Desiree Photography