We’ve talked before on the blog about how you can use your Kundalini yoga sadhana to clear the subconscious mind of the ideas and patterns that are hiding within. There are times in our lives when clearing the subconscious is exactly what we want to do, and we can go into that process with full awareness, prepared to deal with whatever may come up. Sometimes though, we are not planning to dredge up hidden thoughts and negative emotions that are lurking in the hidden recesses of our subconscious. Maybe you’re doing a meditation to elevate your consciousness, when all of a sudden you find yourself in tears over something that happened to you as a child. Or perhaps you are doing a kriya to work your abdominals and 3rd chakra, and become overwhelmed by negative emotions you can’t explain. Handling these negative emotions can be difficult without a good understanding of where they come from and what to do about them. But once you have that understanding you can handle them and move forward in your yoga practice and your life.
It’s all part of the plan.
“Kundalini Yoga is a science of angles and triangles. Every angle we hold our body in has a corresponding effect because the muscles are putting pressure on specific parts of the body.” –Yogi Bhajan
No matter what style of yoga you practice, at some point you are likely to encounter emotions and feelings you didn’t expect. All types of yoga, and Kundalini yoga in particular, utilize external practices to create internal changes. Our physical and subtle bodies store the imprints of our past experiences, and the angles and triangles created in Kundalini yoga kriyas and meditations affect us on these levels. So even if you aren’t intending to bring hidden things to the surface, it is a natural consequence of a yoga practice. While it might go against what our culture teaches us, if you experience negative emotions during yoga it can be a sign that what you are doing in your practice is taking effect. See them as an opportunity to reflect on where you are, and where you would like to be in life, and allow them to be a catalyst for change.
Work through what you are feeling.
Knowing that challenging or negative emotions may come up doesn’t always make them any easier to deal with. If you find that these feelings are hanging around you throughout your day, or for multiple days, it can make you want to give up your practice. Instead of throwing in the towel, you might need to try a meditation that is designed to help you clear and remove bad memories or painful past emotions. The yoga manual Physical Wisdom has two simple yet effective meditations that can help you to achieve a greater sense of well being as you work through the difficult emotions that you are experiencing: Ten Steps to Peace and Stress Relief and Clearing the Emotions of the Past.
Find a teacher.
If you don’t regularly attend yoga classes, it can be very helpful to find a nearby studio to attend when you have the ability to do so. An experienced yoga teacher may recommend meditations and practices that are suitable for you, and to explain on a subtle level how your yoga practice is affecting your emotions. If you are unable to attend classes, it is vitally important that you always tune in before your Kundalini yoga practice, and make sure you cover your head. These two steps will allow you to connect with your higher Self, and to contain and regulate your meditative energy.
Treat yourself gently.
“In meditation, you clean the subconscious mind of its fears and anxieties and in turn release reservoirs of consciousness and energy – you renew yourself…As each fear comes up, look at it with neutrality and your instinctual and learned fears will release their power over you.”
It may sound simple, but it can be an emotional process to let go of the things that hold us back. So be kind to yourself as you go through the process. Take long baths, or a nap if you feel like it. Drink some herbal or Yogi tea to soothe your nerves. You might also like to try the Cosmic Teddy Bear exercise taught by Yogi Bhajan. After your meditation, go deep within yourself to a place of peace and stillness. In this place you are one with God, secure, and cozy. Envision God as a Cosmic Teddy Bear, hugging you close and keeping you safe. This is a space where you can love yourself no matter what challenges arise.