The Emotional Side of Yoga


A yoga asana practice can bring about many emotions for people. Most of the time we release positive emotions from practicing, I wrote about this in my post “Feeling a Little Cranky here”. Sometimes, though, we feel sadness, anger or other more negative emotions. Yogis will tell you that these feelings were already there; the pose has simply released them.

It can be scary for people to all of a sudden break down crying during their yoga class, but this release of emotion is healthy. When we resist what is happening in our lives it creates a great deal of frustration and other emotions that collect in various body parts. Most commonly we will feel it in the shoulders, neck, low back, and hips. Nancy Gerstein explains the effects of different trapped emotions in her book Guiding Yoga’s Light: Lessons for Yoga Teachers starting with shoulder pain which represents irritability and resistance to change. Repression or feelings of restriction in your life are felt in the back, as is carrying past hurts. Repressed anger creates tension in the neck as you “force your feelings down your throat instead of saying what you want to say” (Gerstein). The hips are related to general frustration as well as resentment, and fears are thought to be held in the hamstrings. If you’ve ever felt a sudden pain when you’ve felt angry, frustrated or when you’ve held back on expressing some emotion you’ve noticed the experience firsthand.

In a previous post I explained the different poses that can help you to release emotions. If you are trying to let go of some emotion maybe you can try adding some of these poses to your regular practice or fitness routine.


About Reena Davis

I am a Neurolinguistic Programming Master Practitioner, Life Coach, Thai Yoga Massage Practitioner and Certified Yoga Teacher as well as a student of all things spiritual.
This entry was posted in asana, Pose, yoga and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Emotional Side of Yoga

  1. amoonfull says:

    Wow, this is great. Thanks for shining light on this. This is similar to Reiki. Sometimes people cry when receiving, other laugh of giggle, and some don’t have a visible reaction. Interesting!

    • Thanks for the comment. I think anything that connects mind and body can have that effect really. On another note, do you do Reiki? I have my level one and am thinking about doing level 2 this fall.

      • amoonfull says:

        Oh, yes. You are right.
        Reiki, no, i’m not attuned yet. I will when I find the right master. I had a healer, whom I still keep in touch with, but my intuition has stopped me from seeking her for atunement.The right one will come. You should definitely do it, provided it is your desire of course. I’m sure it is a gratifying sensation when facilitating The Divine’s unconditional love for another person.

      • I hope you find the right person for you:)

  2. I like this post Reena… I think we hardly think about the emotional side of yoga.. thanks for sharing..

  3. Pingback: Emotional Centres | Yoga With Maheshwari

  4. Thanks for the post and the shout-out Reena! A self-practice is the best therapist of all.

  5. Pingback: Emotional Pain Chart | Yoga With Maheshwari

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