The Right to Feel
This month, we’re exploring the second of the seven fundamental rights of yoga philosophy — the right to feel. Associated with the sacral chakra, an energetic wellspring of sensation and creativity, the right to feel confirms the human need for emotional expression. Yet it’s a right we often deny ourselves and others. We can easily fall into patterns of aversion or attachment to certain feelings, chasing after pleasantries while suppressing discomfort. Although these patterns can be helpful, sometimes necessary, they can also block channels of growth and connection.
Yoga provides us with a space in which to honor the right to feel. You may have heard a teacher suggest that you “sit with” your feelings during a practice. Such a suggestion challenges us to observe our emotions with curiosity rather than spend our energy fighting against them. To do so, you might try labeling emotions as they arise; perhaps fear appears in crow pose, frustration in pigeon pose, or joy in puppy pose. Whatever the feelings, your yoga practice helps you become more attuned to them. Not only might you begin to view your emotions as helpful messengers, but you might also create more flexible pathways through which they flow.