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Season 2 - Episode 8

Yoga of Emotions

20 min - Talk


Be in the flow of your emotions. Katie offers a talk about why it's so important to be able to enter into our emotional bodies, and offers some Ayurvedic and Tantric techniques to help allow our emotions to be seen with loving kindness.
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Oct 27, 2015
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(waves crashing) So I want to talk about our feelings. I want to talk about emotions and what this has to do with our yoga practice. Tantra understands that all emotions, the ones that feel really good and the ones that feel, at times, really bad, are all expressions of the goddess. When we honor the goddess, she honors us back. She serves us tenfold, and she bestows her power to us.

But when we deny her, or we suppress her, or we misuse her, she comes back with wrathful vengeance. So what does this have to do with your feelings and real life? Really if you just look at the word emotion, you can understand a lot about how to work most advantageously with your feelings. The world emotion, emovere in Latin, means to be moved. Emotion is exactly what we need to do with these feeling sensations.

E we can think of as representative of energy or prana. Motion, mobility. So when these powerful sensations that we then call emotions arise, one of the most powerful ways of working with them in a way that enables them to work back with us and for us in a way that they become our teacher, is to keep them moving, to keep them flowing, to keep our attention riding with them unceasingly. So typically, there are two ways that we misuse these powerful goddesses. And by the way, goddess doesn't have anything to do with men or women.

Men and women both have emotions, and I would even make the case that men are just as emotional as women, but haven't been really given any room to experience their emotions. So this talk is as much for men as it is for women. So there are typically two ways that we misuse or do not honor the goddess of our feelings and emotions. One, we can liken as, one of my dear teachers is Sally Kempton, and she likens the misuse of the emotions to dragons. So there's an Eastern dragon, and if you've ever been to a Chinese New Year parade, you've seen that they will each be holding one portion of the dragon, and they'll elevate it above the ground.

Each person is holding this disembodied piece of the dragon. The idea is that we want to keep the dragon floating above the earth. Never let the dragon touch the ground. In Western terminology, we can think of this as the disembodiment of the emotions. Emotional denial. Emotional repression.

In other words, something happens to you and you consciously or unconsciously say, "I'm not gonna feel this. No." And so it gets pushed down, right? Or we go away. We disembody. So this etheric dragon is a way of freezing emotionally. The other dragon is this famous Western dragon, which is the ones from our mythology that rests in his castle, and when approached, breathes fire and soot and ash on everyone that comes close to him. In many stories, he's actually kind of a nice guy, which I see a lot with people that have a lot of anger, or even in my own experience of anger.

There's no one on the planet more loving-hearted, and yet, people that are very loving-hearted can tend towards this wild Western dragon. So the dragon blows his rage or anger on other people. Usually it's the people that he loves the most. So both of these ways of working with emotions, hiding them, freezing them, suppressing them, denying them, and then letting them build up, and then thinking that we are feeling them by blowing our emotion on other people, in whatever form that emotion is projection, we could say are unhealthy ways of relating to the goddess. What they really don't do is lead us into the portal, which is where the divine wants these emotions to take us, which is deeper inside our own heart, and deeper inside our own experience of life.

Tantra and Ayurveda say that in order for one to be liberated from the slavery of the emotions, one must juice the mango. I learned this from Dr. Ladd. He said, in order for you to get emotional release, you have to feel the emotion. The emotions are like these mangoes in the tree. Sometimes they're ripe.

Sometimes you're really about to cry and the mango's ripe, and then sometimes they're just waiting to ripen. You're not emotional right now, but should something happen to ripen the mango, you could become emotional. So how do I purify my emotional body? What Ayurveda says is we need to ripen the mango. We need to get into a place where we're actually safe enough to feel our feelings without blowing them on anyone else or projecting, but also not denying their existence.

Spiritual bypassing is a way of thinking about this. So Ayurveda really encourages us through different techniques to enter into the emotional body. One such way is deep body work. As you know, if you get a great massage, sometimes you'll have feelings come through. Doing Asana can also cause it to happen.

Relationships are perhaps the best tree to ripen your mango in. If you're in a relationship, you know this that they are designed to awaken and ripen your emotions. They are tantric gifts. So those are just a few of the ways that we, by life, our life itself, have the opportunity to be in the flow of the emotions. So what he continues to say, this great teacher we have on the planet, Dr. Ladd, is that when we let the emotions ripen, and what do you do with a ripe mango?

You eat it. You don't toss it on the ground. You don't deny the mango. You want to taste it. So in order for us to be liberated from what feels like the slavery and the suffering around the emotion, we actually have to taste it. When I taste it and chew on it and digest it and feel it, it can go through me. The digestive enzymes of my consciousness can begin to do the work on the mango required for me to get the nutrition from it.

You can see me, I love this because when you eat a banana or a mango or anything, you don't have to tell your digestive enzymes, OK, now I want you to do this, and then I want you to do that. Your digestive system knows how to digest a banana. It's the same thing with fear. It's the same thing with sadness, with anger, with shame. With any of these emotions.

When I take the digestive enzymes, which is my loving consciousness that says, I will not leave you sacred sweet heart going through what you're going through. I'm gonna be here with you. When I do that, it's like love enzymes on these ripening emotional mangoes. So when that occurs, I get the nutrition. I don't have to know how it works.

I certainly don't have to know how to make it work myself. It's magic really. It's beauty. We'll go a little bit into the methodology in a moment, but I just want to comment on what really are the four mother roots of our emotional body. There are many, many, many emotions as you know. But the four mother roots from which they all stem are primarily anger, sadness, fear, and shame.

These are what we would consider the more deleterious or not so fun feeling emotions. They're also positive emotions, so these aren't the only ones. But the ones we can work with in terms of purification are these four. Other emotions are conglomerations of those four. They mix together, if you will.

So if I can tap into those really raw four, I can purify all of them. What's left over are the more positive ones that we like, like compassion and joy and exhilaration. So the next time you're feeling any of these four, just know I am tapping into actually the most powerful of my emotional goddess. So let's talk a little bit more about what happens with the emotions when they aren't eaten like a mango and the nutrition isn't extracted. What can happen is a life event occurs.

You enter into a place of either not wanting to feel it. You're very busy maybe or you don't want to feel it. It reminds you of something that happened that you don't like to repeat, or you just immediately react. Those are the Eastern and Western dragons again. So how Tantra explains this is really through the chakra system.

So what a chakra is, it's very simple. It's a meeting point, like a marma of three things. A chakra is a meeting point of something occurred in life, and chitta. The story that I'm telling. My interpretation of that, based usually on past experiences, meets tattva.

So my elemental nature, we've been working with the elements all through the sequences and series with me, and my body, my actual elemental makeup, so my body meets this story, meets one more thing, and that one more thing is prana. Energy. So I've got those three things meeting together all at once. Somebody says something to me that offends me or I don't like, old story based on my past experience meets my body itself meets life force, and they wrap, and they become stored inside me. This is the classic yoga understanding of karma and samskara and these rivers of past experience that self-fulfill as a prophecy over and over.

So it's the same thing with the emotions. The emotions get wrapped into that as story. On their own, emotions have zero stories to tell. They're simply sensations pulsing through the body as life potential. It's our interpretation of them that creates that chakra, that wrapping that will go on to draw in more experiences and more stories.

So we kind of want to break this process if we can, and the way that we do that is through this magical way of actually bringing two things together when we're in that moment of the emotion. And that is loving witness. We, again, spoke of it over and over in these talks, shiva consciousness. Loving witness meets the wildness of Shakti, in this case, your fear, your anger. There's nothing that feels wilder than fear.

There's nothing that feels wilder than the rawness of your real anger. Nobody wants to be around that because it's just so powerful. We're afraid of it. So if I can bring those two together, then the magical and mystical, mysterious digestive enzymes of the soul can begin to take over and reframe. One of the things that we typically do that is unhelpful around the emotional body is to believe and become, the word is captivated, because it has that word captive not in the greatest sense, right?

To become enslaved by, to become captivated by the dramatization and the stories that our emotions tell. Generally, our emotions, and not always. Sometimes they are on point. But so often, the ones that become wrapped as story are telling a drama that may or may not be real. This is not for us to say or know, but what we can know is when we bring loving compassion, loving witness to the wildness of the emotions, we will be able to know what is true and what is not for us.

So how can I begin to work with them right now? Hopefully, you're starting to already sense the methodology. There are many. I mentioned a few. Getting body work, safe space, a great therapist that can help you parse apart story and feeling your yoga practice. Even just a beautiful relationship or friendship where you feel safe enough to share.

These are all ways of being with the emotional mangoes. But as tantrics, we like to go quicker than that. We don't want to wait on life to bring us the opportunity. It will. Life will bring you plenty of opportunities. But as tantrics, we like to do crazy things and run into the emotions that scare us the most.

So you can do this practice on your own by just sitting and remembering the last time you felt one of these mother roots of anger or great sadness or fear, anxiety, or shame. Go back to a moment when those things became ripe for you and to remember as vividly as possible that story, and to let yourself really soak in those sensations of the emotions themselves. Letting them wash through you and really being with them in the same way that you would be with a loving mother to her child. This is just one way of working that I find really powerful. And actually stating your feelings, not maybe to anyone, maybe just writing it in a journal or saying it out loud, of I am feeling angry that whatever.

I am feeling really sad that. And generating the emotion itself so as to be in that raw pulsation of the feeling accompanied by what that emotion really is longing for and that is to be witnessed. My dear friend Kiera and I were discussing this earlier together how really what we all want is to feel like we have a witness to our experience. I loved how she put that because that is exactly what the emotional body longs for. When the emotional body feels that she has a witness, and in this case it's you to you, which is yoga.

You're not waiting on anyone to hold that witness. You do it. She can then unravel and reveal her mysteries and her highest truth. I want to close by saying that I truly in my heart of hearts believe that the future of our planet depends on the maturation of our collective emotional body. I hope you become curious about yours.

I hope that the next time you feel an emotion, you get excited because your mango's ripened and you let yourself really experience it with love. Thank you. Namaste.


Thank you... I love your teachings!
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Katie. What a useful metaphor.
1 person likes this.
That was lovely, a great and useful talk. Mangoes will never look the same! x
Juice your mangoes :)
Thank you - I have returned to this video after some exaggerated emotional responses to minor things that have happened recently.  I couldn't understand why.  Now I realise, oh, there goes another mango!

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