As we discussed in the first chakra, every chakra has a basic right – something that we are all entitled to as human beings. The basic right for the second chakra is The Right to Feel. “A corollary of this right is The Right to Want, since if we cannot feel, it is very difficult to know what we want”, Anodea Judith.During the past week in classes, I have been encouraging all of you to let your emotions come up, feel them and let them go.
How has that been working out for you? Is it easy for you, or do you find it a bit challenging? The one thing I love about teaching is the fact that I get to learn along with you and remind myself of the things that I need to do as well. I will admit that this exercise and dealing with my feelings in general is challenging for me. I grew up in an environment where one parent rarely let out their emotions and the other one often overreacted and was quick to fly off the handle. Crying was discouraged, and as a sensitive child, this taught me that I needed to stuff most of my emotions down which only resulted in an emotional outburst at some point or another (which I often felt bad or guilty about). Now this isn’t the post where I blame my parents and my upbringing for all the problems in my adult life. I don’t believe in that as I know most parents are doing their best with what they’ve got at the time, and I believe it is our responsibility on an individual level to dig down deep to work through our issues to become the best person we can possibly be. I also can't complain about my childhood as I had a stable, loving environment, was mostly happy and got to have experiences and adventures that many kids my age didn’t get to have. My point is that I didn’t learn how to deal with my emotions, and I didn’t really know that there was a problem I needed to work through until there was.
Like most powerful self realizations, mine came through the emotion of pain. For the first time I was faced with an experience and an emotion that I couldn’t stuff down and that wouldn’t go away. I tried (believe me!) but the old way of control was no longer working, and I was forced to confront this pain, really feel it and only then was I eventually able to let it go. This was not an easy process and took a really long time to work through. But what I was left with, was the realization that I wasn’t in touch with myself. "Feeling is the way we obtain important information about our well-being. When the right to feel is impaired, we become out of touch with ourselves, numb, and disconnected" Anodea Judith. I didn’t really know what it was I wanted for my life and I wasn't sure that I ever really did.
This pain, but also this process of moving through it has shown me the power and possibility of finding the openness and space within ourselves that is left behind when we are able to let our emotions move through. Like I said, it wasn't easy and this process is something that I have to constantly work on.
The demon for this chakra that prevents us from experiencing this right to feel is guilt. Again, I definitely have my own experiences with this emotion but will refrain from sharing those, so that you can reflect on your own. Ask yourself how you feel guilt. Where do I experience guilt in my life? Does this guilt prevent me from feeling my emotions or from experiencing pleasure in my life? Does this guilt come about from other people's expectations, or am I placing these guilty feelings on myself?
So, with our work in this second chakra and based on this right to feel, I invite you to continue this process of noticing your feelings, feeling them (where do they show up in your body) and letting them go. Some poses that are good to do with this exercise are any poses that involve stretching out the hips (I find kapotasana (pidgeon pose) really makes me dig deep), or poses that work on the lower back (like shalabasana (locust pose)) as these tend to be problem areas for many people. Really, any posture that you have feelings of discomfort or you tend to avoid doing are probably the ones you need to be doing and working through. Try practicing this technique of noticing your feelings both on and off your mat.
Let your emotions flow, be yourself and celebrate your own unique rhythm,