The Yamas and the Niyamas are yoga's ten ethical guidelines that comprise the first two limbs of yoga's eight-fold path. The second Yama is called Satya which means Truthfulness. In my yoga classes this week, as well as in my Life Coaching sessions, I have been using this concept as a working theme: to be honest with yourself, to express yourself freely and truthfully.
When you are experiencing joy and love in your life, you probably express it in your smiles, kindness towards others, even while dancing! These feelings are true expressions of yourself, so why not share them. Even when you're feeling sad or depressed, don't be ashamed of these emotions; share those feelings, too. We sometimes think it is rude or not polite to express feelings like sadness or anger. We are socialized to be kind; to keep a smile on our faces. But when we are feeling down or out of sorts, it is expected that we keep those emotions hidden. When we have to put on that mask to cover the darker emotions, we are not truly being our selves. We are not practicing our emotional truthfulness. Now, I'm not suggesting that when you're angry you go out and tear down some walls or beat up your neighbor. No, what I'm suggesting is that if you are feeling these darker emotions: anger, unworthiness, jealousy, worry, betrayal, etc., it is ok talk about them with a friend. It is ok to acknowledge to yourslef or a family member that you are feeling a certain way. It is even ok to feel frustrated and maybe take that frustration out on a pillow or playing loud music. One shouldn't have to deny their feelings. When we are able to be honest with our emotions, we are practicing Satya, truth and honesty toward our selves.
This next yoga pose can help allow some of those uncomfortable feelings to come up. It is important to recognize that we have many emotions: light emotions like appreciation, joy, and happiness, as well as other emotions like the ones already mentioned. Realize your WHOLE self. Pigeon Pose will put you in an uncomfortable posture that focuses on opening the hips. This area of the body is said to hold a lot of emotional energy. Holding Pigeon Pose can sometimes release these emotions. As you take a moment today doing this pose, understand and appreciate the emotions that might come up for you. Who knows, you may laugh hysterically for no reason. Or you may have a nice emotional cry when holding this pose. But guess what? It's all OK! You're just showing your honesty.
Since you will be holding this posture for sometime, you may want to have a timer or stopwatch handy so you won't have to worry about how long you are in the pose. Start on your hands and knees. Slide your right knee up toward your right wrist. (I would suggest, also, taking the knee slightly to the outside of the wrist. It will take you deeper into the pose.) Move your right foot up toward your left hand. You'll form about a 45 degree angle with this leg. Meanwhile, the left leg will be extending straight out behind you. Using the knee and toes of the left leg, creep the leg farther back. This, too, will take you deeper into the posture. With your hands by your side pressing into the floor, inhale to extend your spine longer, as you exhale, slowly bring your torso down toward the bent leg in front of you. Take a few seconds to adjust and move deeper into the posture until you can finally rest without moving. Set your timer for at least 3 minutes. This may not seem that long, but Pigeon Pose is an intense posture. As mentioned, it can raise energies and emotions in you that have been stored within. Resist the temptation to move. Try to stay absolutely still until your timer goes off. Just notice what comes up for you. Maybe nothing. Maybe the flood gates will open. Who knows. All you have to do is notice them and honor them. No need to judge the emotions that you have. They are a part of you and they don't negate your existence. (Be sure to practice this pose on the other side.)
When you complete your practice, be sure to take care of yourself afterward, especially if darker emotions emerged. Remain quiet, read a little, have a nice cup of tea, take a slow stroll, or whatever feels right for you to move forward. As you are in this nurturing space, remember to Honor and Appreciate all parts of you.