“I believe that ultimately, emotions have a spiritual function as the language of the soul. This language is spoken through the body. We can think of sensations as the words, feelings as the sentences, and emotions as the paragraphs. These building blocks are the primary levels of our experience though which our story unfolds, giving us meaning. Meaning integrates our felt sense of experiencing the world.
“Most therapies focus strongly on emotions. Pervasive feelings of fear, frustration, shame, or anxiety initiate the quest for change and the beginnings of transformation. If we run from these emotions (something that is culturally supported) we run from the very gateway to our transformation.
“Once on our quest, emotions help unravel the story of our soul’s journey. Feelings emerge from the unconscious, from the instinctual core of the body, and move up from the lower chakras to enter consciousness. We react in certain ways, but we don’t always know why. Feelings captivate our consciousness, fixating our attention until we unravel their mystery. Feelings are the key to buried memories, to events that have a significance our conscious mind may have denied. Initially, emotions are subconscious organizations of impulses to move away from harm and toward pleasure.
“It is difficult to feel emotions without some kind of movement. It’s hard to hold still when we are angry or excited. We control emotions by freezing our body movement. We stiffen our jaw, tighten our next and belly, inhibit our breathing, and generally contract. Feeling the emotion at a later time is usually accompanied by some kind of movement, a release of the held tension, that allows us to open and expand once again. Anger is released through hitting or kicking, fear through shaking, yearning though reaching, sadness through sobbing.
“Just as releasing emotions frees the body, the converse is also true; we can free emotions by consciously moving the body. Reaching out may trigger buried longing and sadness; hitting a pillow may access deeper levels of anger. The way we hold our body tells us a lot about what kind of emotions are stored beneath our awareness. Encouraging movement where the body is frozen helps to free the emotions and restore aliveness and motility.”
Andodea Judith — Eastern Body, Western Mind (chapter on the sacral chakra)
This quote sums up the importance of conscious movement quite succinctly
Movement has been one of the biggest sources of healing for me
Yoga, yes, but sometimes just moving freely.
Today my practice combined yoga, some ecstatic dance, flailing about, jump squats, some gymnastic stuff I learned recently….
but mostly it was dancing around like a crazy person.
I did a lot of ecstatic dance while I was in Bali.
Man that stuff is powerful.
The freedom that comes from being able to move organically in a crowd of people
without judgement…. it’s incredible.
Powerful things happen when we connect to our bodies.
Powerful things happen when we are given the space and are witnessed by people we feel safe with
I think that’s why yoga classes are so transformative.
I think that’s why yoga workshops and retreats are even MORE transformative… because the connection and safety is so much greater
Move your body.
Feel your body.
Try to occupy the space of your body.
Be present with what comes up.
I promise you, this is a practice that will free you.
Krista Marie Starr