Welcome, listen, and respond

Dealing with our emotions can be a difficult ride, especially at this time as we approach new moon in Cancer. The sign is ruled by the moon, which of course comes out at night, and as new moon is the dark moon, this may be a time when you experience all those deep and dark emotions you'd rather not think about. 

A tool that can be of great use is yoga nidra, in particular iRest yoga nidra with its therapeutic focus. iRest teaches us to welcome, listen and respond to all of our sensations, from body sensations, to breath, to changing emotions and thoughts. Rather than our attention being focused on trying to push away, ignore, or change those sensations, we simply allow them space to exist. This is easier to write than it is to do! 

Yesterday I had a difficult day that was created by my resistance to let myself feel my emotions. This was partly because the emotions I was feeling included anger, an emotion which is difficult to express in our culture, especially as a woman. I also added on layers of shame and frustration because I believed, at this stage of my practice, I 'should' have sorted all this out and moved through it. Instead I could see myself going into old habits and behaviours - pushing myself too hard, not allowing myself enough time to do things, and not listening to my body's need to drink or even go to the loo - and using this awareness to punish myself more! 

Today, things have shifted and I can see more clearly. It was not the experience of the emotions that was the problem, but my resistance to welcome that experience. It didn't fit into my schedule, my to-do list, and I simply didn't want to go there. My resistance stopped me from welcoming, listening, and responding. 

Still, I'm not beating myself up about it. I am, after all, human. To through criticism at myself today would simply continue the resistance of yesterday, and I have eaten, slept, moved, breathed and meditated since then. 

Can you think of any time you have resorted to old behaviours and habits to avoid the present moment? What emotions regularly visit you? How could you make space to welcome, listen and respond to them? It's worth saying here that this is not work to do alone, particularly if your emotions feeling very distressing, overwhelming, or are related to trauma. I offer yoga therapy in the form of restorative yoga and yoga nidra, as tools for emotional and physical healing, and you can find out more about that here.  You can also access many free yoga nidra recordings from me on the Yoga Nidra Network site. 

Go well on this dark night.