Archives for posts with tag: emotions

Life is a cycle of taking and giving… The more we give, the more we take. I have always believed that we should first give in order to take. We should give so that we open a space in our lives and then we fill that space with the new one. Just like the movie “Pay it forward”… Do you remember the movie? A boy named Trevor with a problematic family life creates an ideal word in a homework given by his new ┬áteacher. In that ideal world,┬áTrevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward–repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. In the meantime, some changes occur in lives of every one Trevor knows, particularly his teacher. Every favor paid forward is repaid somehow.

When I decided to focus on giving-taking cycle in the yoga classes this week, I remembered this movie. To give before taking and to open a new space for the new comer. To wish to get rid of emotional and physical problems in our lives and to open a new space for something new and better for us. Is it possible to open a space for something new and better without getting rid of the old one?

Therefore, I focused on stretching the chest with backbends in all yoga classes this week. The peak pose was “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel) which is the most feared but the most desired pose of all students. All students feel so happy when they see they can really get in the pose. I asked the students to try the “asana” (pose) by getting rid of the emotional and physical burden which prevent them from getting in the pose. Who knows what kind of burden we had in our minds and hearts those days that prevented us from getting into this pose? First of all, I asked the students to focus on their minds and emotions. To realize their mental and emotional burden and then to realize that this burden was no useful to them, to get rid of the burden and to rise in the pose. First give, purify and get rid of and then to welcome the new one… Cycle of taking and giving… The law of circulation…

Some of us are just givers. They like to help every one without expecting anything in return. They prefer to make others happy by giving without expecting anything in return. They become happy when others are happy.

Some of us are just takers. They always want to play the leading role in life. They want every one to love them, like them, be kind to them, be appreciated and loved so much. They always want to draw all the interest and attention. They want to attract all love, material and moral everything on themselves. However, they do not think of paying attention to others and making others happy in return.

In my opinion, to be always a giver or always a taker is not a right thing. If life consists of dualities and if there is “yin-yang” (female and male) energy in life, then we should not just be a taker or a giver. We should somethimes take and sometimes give so that we can live the life in full balance.

What was I thinking at the end of the class? We should first give in order to take. We should get rid of things that give us pain and trouble and open a space for the new comers that might be better for us. We could not take if we do not give. If we do not open a space for the new things, nothing could get into our lives. It was this simple. We could not get a new shirt if we do not give the old one to someone in need. The law of circulation was this simple. We could apply the law to moral and material things, i.e. everything in life. We should open a space for the new comers. This was what I was thinking at the end of class, To live without piling up, to first give in order to take and to open a new space for the new comers.

It is the sine qua non aspects of a yin yoga class to inform students about meridians. When students were standing still in poses in a yin yoga group class last week, I was informing them about yin yoga, meridians and emotions as usual. As the students were stimulating their gallbladders in an “asana”, one of the students said she had her gallbladder removed and asked, “so what am I supposed to feel right now? Can’t I feel the emotions you are telling us about right now?” I had nothing to say to the student because I had no idea and I preferred not to comment if I was not well-informed about a subject. I told the student, ” I have not idea about this subject and I do not want to misinform you. Let me look into this subject and give you more information in our next class.”

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Once I got home, I looked into my books but could not find anything about this subject. So I googled. Guess what I had seen? Many teachers were asked this question in their yoga classes.

Even if we had a surgery and had one of our organs removed, the energy of that organ did not vanish. We continued to feel that energy. The gallbladder was related with our courage, action and flow as well as the element wood. The energy of the element wood is clarity and therefore when this energy is in balance, we could see clearly and take action.

The gallbladder and liver are partner organs. The gallbladder is a “yang” organ and the liver is a “yin” organ. “Yang” organs are related with digestion and transmission of nutrients in the body. “Yin” organs are responsible for production, regulation and storage of fundamental substances. The gallbladder produces and releases bile and controls decision-making and planning. It affects our dreams. Emotionally, gallbladder is related with inspiration, passion for life, decisiveness, courage and taking action. If we do not enjoy life and have difficulties in making decisions, it means we may have a problem with the gallbladder energy. If this energy is in balance, we are happy, healthy, decisive and passionate.

The emotion of liver and gallbladder is anger. If we feel anger and we cannot burst it out, then we can have problems in liver and gallbladder meridian. If you are under stress and not eating healthily, you may deteriorate the energy of this meridian. When the meridian is unbalanced, anger shows up and it can have some visible effects on your body. You may have red face and eyes, you may get angry very easily, you may suffer from ringing in the ears and migrane.

Moreover, gallbladder affects sleep. If you have a problem with this organ, you may wake up suddenly in the middle of the night or early in the morning and could not fall asleep again.

According to yin yoga, meridians, acapuncture and Chinese medicine, even if the gallbladder is removed, we continue to feel the energy of this organ. If we go on eating fat and spicy food which is harmful for the gallbladder and do not change our diet, then we go on feeling the damp-heat of the gallbladder. When the gallbladder is removed, we can feel its deficiency in our body since it does not do its duty in the body. Despite everything, we could go on acapuncture treatment on this meridian and benefit from it as if our gallbladder was not removed.

What I learned from my google research was that even if any of our organs was removed, the emotion and effects of it on our body remained. Maybe a little less but the energy was not vanishing. Therefore the energy of the organs and meridians were eternal.

What about trying to observe what you feel inside even if your organ is removed in our next yin yoga session when we focus on meridians? What about laughing if you want to, what about crying if you want to, what about shouting if you want to, what about grumbling if you want to, what about showing your anger if you want to? You and I have altogether learned what will happen if we keep our emotions inside and do not show them. So what about expressing your emotions instead of keeping it to yourself?

There is only terrorism around us in recent days. Not only in our country but also in the world. Terrorism causes fear, anger, worry and sarrow. Some people show their reaction through anger whereas some of them try to stay home and in their own internal world due to growing fear. You can read unhappiness and sorrow from the face of some people. However life goes on. Despite all these negative developments, we are trying to go on with our own daily lives. And so did I. I went on teaching yoga as usual.

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All students were saying the same thing in my classes. “Teacher, we are so afraid. We are worried. We are sorrowful. Can we do something to relieve us?” I love to teach “yin yoga” in such cases. To work on the meridians that pass through our bodies, to focus on emotional effects of the meridians and to get rid of negative emotions by relieving and relaxing the body…

Fear was the emotion of kidneys as well as the urinary bladder. Anger was that of the liver and gall bladder. Worry was the emotion of stomach and spleen. Sorrow was living in the lungs and large intestines whereas hatred was the emotion of heart and small intestines. When we remove all these negative emotions, we could reach love, understanding, empathy and compassion. The target areas that we should deal with were obvious. The class would focus on kidneys, liver, stomach, lungs and heart meridians. I also planned to touch on the gall bladder.

Kidney and urinary bladder meridian was where the life force existed and should be in balance in order for other organs to operate well. The life force we called “prana” or “chi” was staying in the kidneys. This meant that “chi” in the kidneys was responsible for our vitality. In order to get rid of fear, we practiced “sphinx” and “seal.”

The liver and gall bladder meridian was responsible for balancing emotions. When the liver energy was unbalanced, we could be angry and be ready to explode at any moment. The gall bladder energy was responsible for our judgment. It was related with our re-establishing our balance after a shock or a change in plans. In order to re-balance our emotions after terror shocks, we used “frog” and “sleeping swan” poses.

The stomach and spleen meridian was related with digestion. Could we digest what we were going through? Were the body, mind and soul in balance? Were we in connection with the outside world? Were we in harmony? In order to realize all these things, we closed our eyes in “dragon” and “half saddle” and worked on our body-mind-soul harmony.

The lung and large intestine meridian was related with courage and respect. It was also related with knowing the value of the moment we were living. The heart energy was depending on our life force and soul. When these two energies were in harmony, we were happy, accept life as it was and lived a happy life. In order to stimulate these meridians, we used “melting heart” pose. In each exhale, we tried to bring the chest closer to the ground and focused on loving more.

We ended the sequence by relieving the spine and stimulating all the meridians in the body with the “cat tail” twist. The class ended with a long “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose) that followed the twist.

How should I close the class? I should focus on our emotions. If I overcame anger, I could be compassionate and had good-will. If I defeated hatred, I could reach love. If I got rid of my worries, I could be compassionate, honest and frank. If I could alleviate sorrow, I could self-respect and be a dignified graceful person. Moreover if I overcame all these negative emotions, I could turn into a loving, understanding and compassionate person. I could first love myself and then everyone around me. Who knows? Maybe one day I could look at the entire world with more loving and sympathetic eyes.

Summer has come to Ankara all at once. Two weeks ago, we were still wearing cardigans, sweaters and coats. I was in Istanbul a week ago for a yoga teacher training program. Before going to Istanbul, I checked the weather forecast to see what types of clothes to take with me. Then I saw that it would be 23-25 degrees Celsius in Istanbul but I had not got my summer clothes cleaned up. It was not so important as I was going for a teacher training program. Sportswear and a few t-shirts would be fine.

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I returned to Ankara after a-week-training. It was hotter in Ankara than Istanbul. I could endure for one day in Ankara with my sportswear because I was so tired to clean up my summer clothes.
I decided to clean up my summer clothes and place them on the wardrope the other day. I would also put my winter clothes on the upper shelves of the wardrope. I started to put the winter clothes I was planning to also wear next winter and to give away those I was planning to to wear next winter.
Suddenly, I remembered one of the limbs of eight-limb Ashtanga yoga of yoga master Patanjali. “Aparigraha”, i.e. non-hoarding, non-possessiveness and non-attachment.
What does non-hoarding, non-possessiveness and non-attachment mean? Is it just not possessing too many clothes, shoes, books or magazines or could a person be attached to concrete things also? For instance, emotions, anger, hatred, rage.
Are you still attached to emotions that hurt you? Do you continue to be friends with people who negatively affect you with their negative stance and lives or do you stop seeing them?
I thought about all these when I was re-arranging my summer and winter clothes. Could I re-arrange and settle down my own life as if I did the same thing to my clothes and shoes?
First of all, I thought about my emotions. Before yoga, I was hoarding emotions. I was keeping everything inside myself when I was angry or whatever. When I was angry at someone, I was not telling anything not to hurt him/her. In the end, I was negatively affected and I was bursting my anger and rage to that person days or months later and with no reasson at all. Of course, I was unjust at that time because I was angry for a meaningless reason. However, I would not face any problems if I reacted at the moment I was angry and without hoarding any emotions.
Later, I thought about the people in my life. Whom I needed and whom I had to keep away from my life. I needed a cleansing. First I reviewed my cell phone list. There were phone numbers that belonged to my old colleagues whom I would never speak to again. I deleted them and I was so happy with this clean-up. I had not felt this happy and relieved for a long time. Then I reviewed my life. People who were in my life for this or that reason. Who should go on being a part of my life and who was not deserving my love and affection? I gradually stopped seeing people who had no use in my life. Now, you are reading my blog and thinking “how easy.” No, actually it was not so easy. It was a hard process and it did not happen all at once. This clean-up took time. It was a process in which I gradually cut the ties and attachments. It meant distancing yourself with some people, sharing fewer things with them and losing the importance in each others’ lives. Everything happened in a slow motion. Then I saw that I started to clean up people from my life whom I used to think were important for me and whom I thought I could never live without. I started to see that some people whom I used to define as a close friend were not “my close friends” but were a friend of mine just for their best interests. Nothing happened all at once. It took time but this time prevented me from experiencing so much pain. It helped me see everything clearly and not to be sorry. Like in the Indian philosophy, every person whom you meet are always the right people. In my opinion, these people can be a part of our lives in the right time and can leave our lives in the right time. There is a reason for meeting and getting close to some people. We are meeting them because they help us on our path to world of yoga and they leave our lives once they complete their mission. That is, we learn from our relations, we develop ourselves and we proceed on our yoga path. That simple.
I was thinking about all these when I was re-arranging my summer and winter clothes. I could not understand how time flew when I was doing that.
What’s the point? Do not hoard. Do not hoard clothes, shoes, magazines, bottles that have a particular meaning for you, wine corks, papers or any other thing. Do not hoard range, anger or envy either. How do I know? Because I hoard during my whole life until yoga came a part of my life. Not only things but also feelings. Then I had some emotional blowouts, I hurt people without reason or for some simple reasons just because I did not say anything when I had to but hoarded my emotions. My recommendation? Do not hoard. Watch and observe the things around you, the objects, negative emotions. Then clean out unnecessary objects, negative emotions and people who are no more important to you and who harm you and your life.

I was having tea with a friend of mine a few days ago. We were talking about our lives, particularly what we had experienced in recent days. And suddenly, we found ourselves talking about our habits, addictions and our ties.

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Even though we are not aware, our habits, addictions and ties affect our daily lives deeply. Our addictions and ties sometimes keep us from progressing on our roads, they keep us at one constant point, and we cannot proceed or progress.
Our addictions and ties? Is it so difficult to get rid of them? If we take it simply, smoking, coffee, tea and coke (caffein) are all addictions. Try to visualize what happens on the face of a smoker when you tell her/him that s/he has to quit smoking. And just think what they would tell you: “Impossible, I cannot even think of a life without cigarettes”, “cigarettes are my oldest friend”, “now you are suggesting that I drink a cup of coffee without a cigarette. Are you crazy?” These are all sentences you will hear from a smoking addict.
Or let’s handle coffee or tea addicts. “I cannot wake up if I do not drink tea/coffee”, “if I do not drink tea/coffee, I feel myself incomplete.” All these sentences also apply to coke addicts. I know people who cannot live without drinking coke, and I know people who drink coke when they wake up in the morning to slake his/her thirst. You may ask how? Because I was one of them. I was not a smoking but a tea, coffee and coke addict. After yoga came into my life, I did not exert a particular effort to get rid of my addictions. As I lived and experienced yoga, I started to give up my addictions. Now you may ask if I never drink tea, coffee or coke. No, surely, I drink but I reduced the amount. When I do not drink, I do not suffer from a headache, and I am not saying that “I cannot live without coffee, tea or coke.” I have started to lose my addictions, and I only drink for pleasure, not because I am an addict. I am drinking them because I just want to drink something at that moment, not because my body is addicted to them.
When it comes to our ties and attachments… Maybe, it is more difficult to cut our ties. What can our ties be? We can be tied and bound to our job or material things. We may be tied and dependent on our spouses, loved ones, boyfriends or girlfriends, families, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children. We may be tied and bound to our friends even though they hurt us. We may like to cut our ties with these people since we are hut but we cannot do it.
We should cut all the ties limiting us and hampering our progress, and clean our path. If it is our job that hampers us, we should cut our ties with our job. We should leave aside all our feelings and ties with our job, think calmly and make our decision without feeling any addiction. If it is our friends, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, loved ones, families, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children who hamper us, if our relations with them make us tired, then we should loosen our ties and find a place where we can breathe more freely.
In the eight-branch yoga philosophy of yoga master Patanjali, there is a branch named brahmacharya — moderation. This branch recommends us to refrain from extreme edges, be moderate, and get rid of addictions and ties. During the yoga teacher training program last year, I was moved by many different feelings and thoughts. Some of them were challenging and hard for me, but I easily accepted some of them and applied them in my daily life. Do you wonder why I am writing such a long article about ties and addictions? Because it was the most challenging issue for me during the program. I even tested some special meditation techniques related with ties and addictions. What happened in the end? I saw something that is a challenge for everybody. I saw “how difficult it is to give up and quit.” What did this awakening do to me? I can only say that I was relieved and I started to work on this issue. What happened at the end of the program? I quitted the most important addiction and tie in my life that I never thought I could quit. I gave up my job. I gave up material addictions without thinking how I could continue earning my life after that very moment. I only believed that everything I need would come to me in life as long as I continued doing and being yoga.
What else happened during the training program? I stopped seeing people who made me unhappy and whom I did not want to see any more. What about feelings? I tried not to build emotions. I used to be careful about my sentences not to hurt people, but I started to give this habit up. Naturally, I still pay attention not to hurt people, but I try to clearly say what I feel. I am still working on this issue, it is not that simple to get rid of addictions and cut your ties and attachments so easilly. I still have a long way to go.
Either ties, attachments and addictions, or a free spirit? It is totally your choice and preference…