This weekend I have been totally sloth-like. After a full week of welcome week “activities” and classes, I was ready to attach myself to the couch and catch up on all my favorite shows. When I finally mustered enough energy to get on my mat today, I chose an Elena Brower yoga class.
Elena is my go-to teacher whenever I need calming, grounding energy. Perfect for all the emotional turmoil I had been building up inside for the past few months.
In the class, Elena talks about releasing sadness. She explains that sadness is simply fear. Fear of losing someone, fear of not being good enough… and it manifests as sadness in our hearts, our minds, and our bodies.
Often we just ignore our sadness. We feel the tears coming and we run from them. When people cry, they run away (literally) physically and emotionally. I think why we run when we’re sad is not only because we are afraid to be vulnerable, afraid to be seen for who we really are, but also because we are running from our own sadness. Running and escaping gives us the illusion that we are able to detach ourselves from sadness, pain, and fear.
However, sadness never truly goes away unless you work through it, not over it.
“To all the ways in which we are able to manage the strongest, most intense sadnesses with our practice.
We are grateful for the practice. We are grateful to our teachers.”
– Elena Brower
Sadness is only an emotion – an energetic reaction in your body and mind. When we are happy, we have certain emotional, energetic reactions such as a quick heart beat and feeling of openness in our bodies. When we are sad, it is also just energy. When you remove the thoughts and the ‘story’ behind your sadness, you are left simply with energy.
Often sadness manifests in our bodies as a tightness or an ache. For me, I always feel it in my throat, heart, and even sometimes my stomach. The reasoning for this is that these areas are specific chakra points – areas of concentrated energy. This is why when we feel intense sadness, our hearts physically hurt. I know that intense sadness in my body manifests as an aching throat/chest almost every time.
“If you have physical sadness, move.
Heart sadness, open your heart. Release the fear.
If your mind is sad, try to create space between your thoughts.”
– Elena Brower
After completing this yoga class, I decided to continue and do some meditation work with sadness. I turned to my favorite meditation teacher, Harshada Wagner, and worked with the energy of sadness in my body and began to heal it.
Harshada teaches us to heal sadness by first remembering the ‘story’.. aka why you are sad and what happened to make you so sad. If it’s something someone said to you, did to you, or all of the above… remind yourself. Now feel the pain, ache, or tightness in your body. It could be in one place or many places. This is where you are storing sadness.
After you’ve identified where your energy is being blocked, it’s extremely important to ditch the story line. Don’t keep telling yourself, “He broke up with me” or “I lost my job.” Just release the story and only focus on the physical sensations in your body.
The next part is simple. Breathe into the sadness. I mean go really, really deep. This can be uncomfortable if you’ve never done this and have shied away from sadness all your life. However, this is what it means to ‘move through’ emotional circumstances instead of pushing them away. Get to the deepest, most emotional, most intense feelings of sadness and simply breathe. If thoughts about your ‘story’ come up, release them and focus on the physical.
After you’ve done this for about 5-10 minutes, begin to play with the energy and your breath. Imagine your breath going to the affected areas and opening them up. Maybe imagine showering those areas with golden healing light or simply relaxing the areas to allow the energy to dissipate and maybe even dissolve. Continue this again for 5-10 minutes: Opening, Relaxing, Releasing.
Don’t forget it’s important not to force anything. Your sadness might not be ready to leave and that’s okay. Let it hang out and try to release it another time. Sadness is our teacher; one of the most powerful and intense teachers we will work with in our lifetime. Embrace it, be grateful, and remember that it is simply energy just like the rest of our emotions.
Sending so much love and light to any & all beings on this Earth who are dealing with sadness right now – small or big. I love you and here’s a sloth hug from me to you 🙂
Lots of love,