MOODS, HOW YOGA UPLIFTS US

MOODS, HOW YOGA UPLIFTS US

So, the articles we’ve wandered through the body on a journey exploring the effects of our posture. We’ve seen how posture improvement is essential to our health and wellbeing, and how Yoga can affect that. Yoga can simultaneously improve posture and uplift our mood. This week we’re slipping into the movement of Yoga to uplift our moods.

Reclaiming Our Wellbeing

To be active participants in reclaiming our beauty, wellbeing and power, we need to understand the full potential and effects of posture. And see how the tools of Yoga in conjunction with Ayurveda can empower us. Looking at each facet of wellbeing we understand how each lets in lightness, strength and moves us closer to our whole Self. 

“We have a natural pharmacopeia already within us”. -Candace Pert

We can orchestrate our own healing process through knowledge and the application of tools built on that knowledge. Physiological health and emotional and mental wellbeing affects our mood. And Yoga therapy can deeply and positively enhance both. When we uncover what effects mood has on our health, and how we in-turn can affect and enhance our mood, we have some power tools at hand. Freeing us from the bonds of dependence, in whatever form or formation. 

Mood or Emotion

Mood and emotion are intimately connected but there are clear differences. Knowing these can help us see and separate ourselves from our mood and move us into wellbeing. Mood is something that lasts hours or even days, whereas emotions are more transient, passing within minutes, or hours.[1] Moods are vague and misty, there are no unique facial expressions assigned to them. And it’s not easy to put our finger on what actually triggered a mood.

Moods provoke their related emotions more easily.[2]  If I’m in an irritable mood, its highly likely that I’ll be quick to anger rather than become sad, if things don’t go as planned. Research has shown that lasting memories have a strong emotional component. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the connection between associated brain cells. This neural wiring, brain cells that fire together wire together, creates associations. Firing frequently, makes the associations stronger.[3]

The emotions that are strongly wired in the body-brain, become a neural pattern. The neural patterns form our beliefs, which in-form our perception and create a mesh or filter of ideas. Allowing in certain ideas and feelings, and dismissing others, these filters become the underpinning of moods. If we work consciously with emotions they are released. If we ignore them, or don’t know how to hold them without becoming overwhelmed or reactive, they remain stuck in our viscera, our deeply feeling inner body; organs. 

This is where Yoga can be such a powerful tool. We first arrive in our body. We connect. We see what arises with each breath, movement and pause of stillness. In these moments of deeply feeling, stuck emotions and their belief systems, moods, can come to the surface, to our consciousness. When this happens we release trapped energy. Emotions are just E-nergy in motion. If they, and we, don’t move, nor will the E-motion. Its that simple.

We don’t need university degrees to reclaim our health and wellbeing. We just need knowledge. And to proactively applying what we know. Only we can take those steps for ourselves.

Mood & Posture 

So let’s pause and take some time to know why posture affects mood and how Yoga can influence and enhance that. When I feel good and satisfied, I sit up straight with energy and ease. I walk with dignity and joy. I am fully present and receptive for my child, my projects and my goals. My body is fully attuned to their needs, desires and expressions. I radiate E-nergy and engage in a way that benefits those around me. I let my energy move through me.

My e-motions move uninhibited. When I feel crap, either because I’m sick or something happened that sets me back in my plans, I find myself slouching, my frontal body collapses and draws within to protect me from perceived threats; bacteria, or challenges that seem to big for me right now. My e-motions are repressed. So this state, positive or negative, which sometimes continues for days or weeks, becomes a mood.

If we linger long enough in any neural wiring of an E-motion, positive or negative, it moves into the subconscious and becomes a backdrop to our state of being, rather than present feeling. A mood. That mood will create a certain posture, an expression of the experienced energy state. Posture spills over into psychophysiological effects. Affecting our physical health, mental wellbeing and emotional vitality. So it’s a vicious circle. Ayurvedically, positive and negative moods, fall in categories of Doshas, Vata- Air, Pitta – Fire, or Kapha – Water.

Vata/Air

  • Balanced- Cheerful, light-hearted, hopeful, calm
  • Imbalanced- Lonely, fearful, nervous

Pitta/Fire

  • Balanced- Reflective, insightful, passionate, idyllic
  • Imbalanced- Irritated, tense, controlling

Kapha/Water

  • Whimsical, romantic, humorous, mysterious
  • Gloomy, melancholy, clingy

We can use the above to see what Dosha is imbalanced or excessive by use the principle of ‘Like increases like, and unlike decreases’. Meaning if our Kapha/Water is too high; melancholy, doing a practice or activities that create heat and lightness will bring back balance. Removing the stagnation of too much, or blocked Water energy. Now let’s get In The Mood we want to be in! And break that cycle.

 

3 Steps to Turning Mood into a Friend

As easily as we slip into the shadows of a mood, we can change our attitude to its presence. Seeing mood accompanies us much like a friend, what about asking this associate what she’s trying to tell us?! As soon as we know Mood is Here, we see her as a reminder, telling us we’re lost in the mist. Using Yoga’s tools and teachings we can redirect the energy/electrical currents of our body-brain[4] to uplift us when we’re down. To calm and ground us when we’re flying high and to centre us when we’re to externalised.

Awareness

Knowing that you’re in a mood is the first vital step. When you know you’re in the mire of some heavy mood, splash your face with fresh cold water. This releases endorphins, the joy hormones.

Discernment

Now you’re aware you’re in a mood don’t ask any question, except what is my mood? Depending on the mood, you adapt your Yoga practice, the the pace and rhythm of your daily activities.

  • If you’re irritable, do a smooth, satisfying practice at 70% of your ability[5]. Don’t DO too much. Over-expending is why you got here in the first place. DO Less.[6]
  • If you’re lethargic, do a strong and challenging practice. Move out of your comfort zone and expand your horizon. Doing to little, represses your E-nergy and ability.
  • If you’re nervous or agitated, do a smooth, rhythmic and grounding practice. Remind yourself, again and again to slow down, do one thing at a time, and bring your mind, awareness and concentration back to the present on sensations, breathing and emotions.
Moving

Moving the body in all its potential ranges, using all our limbs, joints and muscles, allows us to try out all our potential ranges. Shifting our bones and organs in different positions in space, frees our energy, helps us expand. Allows our Prana to move uninhibited, gives us a sense of freedom and spaciousness. Remember mood is the lack of movement of a certain quality of energy. So, movement is key in moving out of a mood. Once we move we’ll naturally stand different. Our posture and stance will embody radiance, vitality and wellbeing.

We will embody presence and inspired engagement. Meet life fully.

Our emotions need to flow. They are a guidance from our soul, reminding us to honour our path, our story, values and gift. Our mood reminds us we need to be willing to trust our emotions, and strong inner urges, to lead us to our goals and soul desires. Emotion is living Prana moving through us to benefit all beings. When we listen, life becomes a little more supple, flowing and easier. This doesn’t mean we never have challenges, it just means our stance is not rigid. Rather its one of being receptive, alive, and fully present.

Embody a posture that holds the mood of living fully, loving wholeheartedly and laughing at our perfect imperfections. Let emotions guide your embodied Soul.  

Much Love,

Shira.


 [1] Candace Pert – Molecules of Emotion

[2] Paul Eckman – The Nature of Emotion

[3] Hilary Jacobs Hendel – It’s Not Always Depression

[4] Lisa Feldman Barrett – How Emotions Are Made

[5] David Frawley & Sandra Summerfield Kozak– Yoga for Your Type

[6] Kate Northrup – Do Less