mrsjoe24

Emotional release during yoga class

21 posts in this topic

I was in a class tonight and the teacher had us really focusing on our hips. In one pose I felt my upper thigh tremble and felt a rush of emotions flood my body. I pulled back out to go into child's pose to rest and compose myself. I felt overwhelmed with emotion the rest of the class and still haven't been able to shake it. 

Has anyone else felt this before? How do you recover?

I normally leave my mat feeling light and joyful. Tonight I feel heartbroken. 

-Tiff 

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I've heard others say that hip opening poses can release all sorts of emotions although I've never experienced it myself.  I think it's very normal..

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Absolutely. Hip openers can make us feel very vulnerable, and those deep stretched can really bring up a lot for some of us. I find that I'm more susceptible to those flooding emotions when I haven't been practicing regularly, but it could also just mean that there is something really crazy going on in my life. I'm so sorry to hear that you walked out feeling heartbroken. My best advice is to try to sit with that feeling for a bit. Just watch it, try to understand it. And be ok with it. Just as all emotions, eventually it will pass. I find that this doesn't happen to me all that often, but rest assured that I've cried through many a savasana or half pigeon. you are not alone my dear

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Wow, that's tough feeling overwhelmed. Hopefully you'll feel lighter after letting them surface. It might help to cry it out if you feel it - that can provide a psychological release. For me, my eyes tear up when I feel any emotional intensity, but after I shed tears, it feels better. Otherwise, I would remain overwhelmed trying to keep my tears contained inside.

I also read that hip openers tend to release emotions because when we're stressed, our hip flexors are tensed up as a "flight" response to easily sprint away.

I found this article helpful - I haven't had as an intense emotional release experience, so I read this to better understand: http://www.yogajournal.com/article/practice-section/emotions-in-motion/

Lastly, some people talked about this previously in the thread below, but some of the experiences seem slightly less intense than a complete emotional release.

 

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What an interesting article! I also heard the hips contain a lot of tension often, and the fight/flight response is an interesting explanationfor it. 

I'm curious about what poses people love/hate and what it reveals about them. I love love hip openers personally. I feel so happy in them. Especially deep hip openers. Backbends used to scare me and I still feel a bit nervous about them. I also hate warrior two and the stability it forces me to have. I love love airy poses, like handstand kicks, arm balances, inversions, etc. 

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Pardon me for jumping in (and sounding like a caveman), but as a dude, I wonder if the 'emotional response' is the body's reaction to presenting oneself in a position...er... uh...a position that is often related to a special activity.

Is it possible that when the hips, pelvis or whatever moves into this special position or alignment, the body thinks "yippee!, something wonderful is about to happen" so the brain releases some girly chemicals to enhance emotional appeal of the special event? Sort of a Pavlovian response for the hips, pelvis and some of the other wonderful parts

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Hahahhaa @LarryD517 in my case, I have open hips in general from sitting cross-legged all day (note: only 2 chairs in my house) or in badakanasana legs lying down. I'm hyperflexible in that area so much that splits came very fast to me. I'd be curious too about the relation between hip openers and that "special activity" you speak of.  My yoga teacher alluded to Valentine's day and squeezing the thighs with a block. I had a bit of a laugh.

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1 hour ago, LarryD517 said:

Pardon me for jumping in (and sounding like a caveman), but as a dude, I wonder if the 'emotional response' is the body's reaction to presenting oneself in a position...er... uh...a position that is often related to a special activity.

Is it possible that when the hips, pelvis or whatever moves into this special position or alignment, the body thinks "yippee!, something wonderful is about to happen" so the brain releases some girly chemicals to enhance emotional appeal of the special event? Sort of a Pavlovian response for the hips, pelvis and some of the other wonderful parts

The responses can go either way - positive or negative. Regarding the negative, trauma can be emotional (the fight/flight response makes a lot of sense) and / or physical.

From the yoga journal article I cited above:

Quote

“Whenever something happens to us as a kid, our body is involved,” says Michael Lee, founder of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, which is headquartered in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts (see “Therapy on the Mat,” below). “This is particularly true of trauma. The body comes to the defense of the whole being. In defending it, the body does things to stop the pain from being fully experienced.

 

Quote

Forrest, however, believes that “most people need help with this, as our culture doesn’t educate us on how to work in a healthy way with our emotions,” and that without assistance, many people will remain stuck. Students trust her, she says, because of her own traumatic past (which includes sexual abuse, she openly shares) and her experiences working through emotions. “I’ve had years and years of therapy,” she says. “I’ve still got twisty places inside of me, but I know how to accept and work with whatever memories need to come up.”

 

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On 10-02-2016 at 4:29 PM, LarryD517 said:

Pardon me for jumping in (and sounding like a caveman), but as a dude, I wonder if the 'emotional response' is the body's reaction to presenting oneself in a position...er... uh...a position that is often related to a special activity.

Is it possible that when the hips, pelvis or whatever moves into this special position or alignment, the body thinks "yippee!, something wonderful is about to happen" so the brain releases some girly chemicals to enhance emotional appeal of the special event? Sort of a Pavlovian response for the hips, pelvis and some of the other wonderful parts

In my experience, and from everything I've read, the type of emotional release most often experienced tends to be more closely related to some deep-seated emotions (anxiety, fear, personal insight regarding one's life, a sense of peace and inner calm, etc.) than anything resembling sexual arousal. As the article points out, during yoga practice these emotions - which had been at best rather vague - tend to burst out and make themselves known, possibly forcing us to confront our emotions in a different way.

As for the hips/pelvis being put in a certain position and it leading to sexual arousal and/or similar reactions ... let's just say that if that was the case going to the gynecologist would be a very different experience than what it tends to be for most of us. Gynecological check-ups is something many of us simply put up with for the sake of our health and it's far from enjoyable.

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I'm still laughing at @LarryD517's caveman and special activities post!!!!

Ive never experienced any type of emotional release while doing yoga, but it is interesting to know those things do happen. 

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12 minutes ago, scottcraft said:

I'm still laughing at @LarryD517's caveman and special activities post!!!!

Hey, I'm in a class that's 90% women, so, I guess when not being told to clear my mind...my imagination takes over

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This idea of emotional release is yet another fascinating aspect of yoga. I have heard teachers and students talk about it before, but during my practise I have only ever really experienced the emotion of frustration for not being stronger or more flexible - I'm not sure that qualifies as the same!

That being said, I went through a period of noticing a release of anger after yoga classes. These would be very enjoyable and relaxing yoga classes that would leave me very blissful, but then on the car journey home, the first person to cut me up or pull out on me would send me into a sudden rage frenzy! It would come out of nowhere and completely take me by surprise - effing and jeffing at little old ladies crossing the road in front of me! At first I though it was anger because they were ruining my hard earned peacefulness, but it was such a disproportionate and intense reaction that I began to think there must be more to it.

After doing some research into it and reading articles similar to the one referenced above, my conclusion was that it was indeed the same phenomenon, just with a delayed onset. By being so peaceful and relaxed during yoga, I was allowing tension, stress and trauma held in the body and mind to be released. It appears that it doesn't want to leave without putting up a fight.

I could go into more depth about the self analysing psycho-babble theories that I now believe, but now when it happens I react differently. I recognise it and understand it better. I still let it happen because I think the release is important, but by being more aware of why it is happening I am better able to cope with it. Then when I get home, I take it out on a punch bag dressed as an old lady :)

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I think I may get them from backbends. But I don’t recognized what happens as emotions. When I come out of a deep backbend something happens. It seems like dizziness except without being dizzy. I am likely not explaining this well but a very strong sensation happens, it’s not pain either. I pause my practice for an extra breath or two, it passes and I continue on. If this happens on my last backbend of a series I take a counter pose and the sensation immediately leaves as well.

Are counter poses an option for others in this situation? 

Backbends are very challenging for me so that may have something to do with it. It sounds like everyone has something different going on with these types of things. Everyone may have to find how to deal with this themselves, or not deal with it at all.

I remember an old saying ‘If you have never laughed or cried in yoga class what are you waiting for?’ The person who said this wasn’t trying to be hurtful. It was the exact opposite. It was meant to give reassurance if these things happen it is Ok.

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Hello there,

I've been having anxiety and depression issues for 5 years now (ashamed mode on). I have a lot of difficulty expressing myself, it's very hard if not impossible for me to "feel" things, to have proper emotions (I'm not emotionless of course but there's some sort of "block" within that prevents it....it feels like an added barrier compared to everyone else lol). I haven't been able to release my emotions through talking yet. 

So I will try to do more hip poses as its mentionned here and that ive seen on other searches...Would you say it works for people whose regular emotions are really blocked?(coz i feel this might not work for me...)anyone has experience on this?living thru the same thing?

thx =)

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I had to laugh and grimace @LarryD517's comment because I can see why you think that. Men and women do live different lives. I think if that were the case, having any doctor - whether our OB/GYN or an emergency doc - looking down there for an exam wouldn't be nearly as troubling for us women. For so many, it brings so. much. anxiety. We can really love our gynecologists and still get so anxious when our gynecologist needs to examine those parts. I think so much of it is culture. We barraged with messages that being a girl is shameful; having periods is shameful. So, yoga exercises dealing with the hips and groin really bring out those feelings of shame and anxiety for women.

I had a very unique upbringing where I had one part of my family that made all of that womanly stuff a bit under the rug and the other side made it very positive and it was literally a celebration. It was spliced. So, when I got that womanly stuff, I had no idea what I should be - shamed? Happy? This twisted mentality toward those things shows in my hip movements in yoga. I'll be content and happy in certain hip openers like the pigeon, but I'll be extremely distressed in something like doing the log pose. I become very uncomfortable, anxious....that shame comes out. It's something I need to help with my horseback lessons, but I try to keep it short and lighthearted and then do something I love, like pigeon or even something even happier to me - swan arms (totally a ballet thing, but they make me smile.)

And I've definitely dealt with what @Robbie deals with when I'm done with yoga, an intense massage or horseback riding - extremely calm then I'll snap at the first person who talks to me or if my dog trips me. Snap once and I'm back to normal.

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@yogancupcake38 I have a feeling just doing yoga isn't going to help you. I would suggest seeking psychology or even seeing a psychiatrist. I say this as someone who suffers from on and off depression and I have extreme social anxiety from autism. If you've had it that long, you really should see someone.There's no shame in it, as much as society likes to put shame on it. Yoga will certainly help you center yourself and calm yourself, but it's not a cure-all, especially for depression. Hip openers can be intense, and you need to be willing to accept those emotions that come out. That's the give and take of hip openers. Because you block off emotions, you will only dig a deeper hole for yourself doing hip openers.

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Hey thanks for your answer! Yes I have and still am doing psychology but with little result :) was thinking this could help

 

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@yogancupcake38 Are you also getting psychiatric help? At this point, you may need to look at some psychiatric help. I know not everyone wants to go to medicine, but you've been struggling for quite a while and may have a chemical imbalance, which can't be fixed with exercise or therapy alone. You might feel a tiny bit better, but the depression still runs your life. Everyone is different, but short-term medication can help get your body out of the depression mood. There are people with chronic depression that need the medication for life, but the first step is just talking to a psychiatrist (not a psychologist) about your all of this (just make sure you find a reputable one.)

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I often find, that if i'm doing a yin practice in particular, where poses are held for longer, I definitely have an emotional reaction. Its nearly always in Pigeon actually. I see it as a positive thing....just maybe an expression of something that needed to come out from the unconscious?? ...Kinda like when your joints crack, and the theory goes, that its gas escaping from the joints...so a good thing. Frame the emotion in a good way first and see what journey it takes you on...hold the emotion with love and then let it leave with love:)

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On 2/8/2016 at 8:22 PM, mrsjoe24 said:

I was in a class tonight and the teacher had us really focusing on our hips. In one pose I felt my upper thigh tremble and felt a rush of emotions flood my body. I pulled back out to go into child's pose to rest and compose myself. I felt overwhelmed with emotion the rest of the class and still haven't been able to shake it. 

Has anyone else felt this before? How do you recover?

I normally leave my mat feeling light and joyful. Tonight I feel heartbroken. 

-Tiff 

I hear it's normal although it's never happened to me personally. I wouldn't get too worried or anxious about it just take it for what it is. If it makes you uncomfortable stick to other poses and you'll be just fine :)

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