Updated: Sep 20, 2020
Can our yoga practice help us to control our feelings and emotions?
Yoga and the bhavas
Yoga says that there are four bhavas (attitudes/feelings) and that there are certain postures we can do to cultivate these feelings.
The last four blog articles have explored three of the four bhavas, and as you begin to understand and explore them in relation to your yoga practice, you'll begin to experience the practical effects of breathing our bodies through the poses while focusing on the feelings.
Dharma (going inwards) in still meditative asanas like easy cross-legged (sukhasana), standing prayer pose (sthitprarthasana), or one of my favourites, the kneeling adamant pose (vajrasana).
Jnana (body intelligence, coordination, concentration) in both static and dynamic upwards and sideways stretches, balance asanas, extremities (arms and legs!) and yummy scrummy twists. Like all the trees (palm tree/talasana, tree/ekpadasana), the birds and the beasts (eagle/garudasana, cow face/gomukhasana), and my favourite, kneeling pray pose (naprathasanana).
Vairagya (let go, surrender, release) in static forward bends and inversions. Deep, grounding postures, when you give in, and let gravity have its way with you. It helps us come back to a balanced, calm and steady place. Asanas include seated forward bends (paschimottanasna), standing forward bends (hastapadasana) and inversions (like shoulder stand/sarvangasana and plough pose/halasana).
And then there’s the final bhava, Aishwarya...
When you are truly able to realise the first three, you can tap into the fourth bhava. Through perseverance, faith and awareness we are able to access a strength that is like no other.
What postures will help me cultivate this strength?
In aishwarya postures we are able to cultivate feelings of confidence, will-power, freedom and strength. Sounds good, right?
The asanas in this bhava involve backward bends and working with the spine. Examples include cobra pose (buhjangasana), locust pose (shalabasana) and my favourite, the wheel pose (chakrasana). Remember, these poses are progressive, so sink slowly into them, breathe and with every exhale let yourself go a little bit deeper. These backbends have an impact on the chemicals in our brain, and when we tap into this place, when we feel this strength, nothing can hurt us.
Strength lies in our contentment.
And it is this contentment that carries you, helps you to dream big, helps you to give to others. So explore and embrace aishwarya poses, add them to your asana practice, open your hearts and invite the strength in.
Ready to create a little bit of space for you? Why not try our Live Online Yoga classes, bringing you accessible yoga for all, from our living room to yours? Sign up now for 15 days of free unlimited classes.
Carrie is a co-founder of The Frog Project, yoga teacher, and full time stay at home mum to two smalls. When she's not playing with the kids or practicing yoga, you'll likely find her in the middle of her veg patch, trowel in hand and covered in mud. She loves the outdoors, and would camp every night given the chance. She and her partner in crime, Martin, set up The Frog Project with the aim of bringing classical yoga to all, and deliver live online classes with a group of dedicated teachers, to students of all experiences, ages, shapes, sizes, jobs, lives, you name it, from all around the world. Join them now and get 15 days of free unlimited classes. It's just yoga.