The definition of emotional strength says that it is a state of emotional resilience that is characterized by an assertive attitude, along with stress management, coping, and caring skills. But, stressful living and distracting adult pacifiers (like alcohol, food, technology, etc.) have done an injustice to our emotional savviness. They blind us to our deepest emotions, which can seriously hamper our ability to thrive. So what is one to do?
This is where yoga comes in. Yes, it's a great physical practice, but it’s also an excellent way to unite breath, mind, and body. And, in the process, it builds emotional strength as well. Additional benefits include:
Weight loss: Yoga is a calorie burning exercise that strengthens and tones the body. It also calms the mind and makes it easier for you to deal with impulsive tendencies, like overeating.
Stress relief: When you are stressed out, just a few minutes of yoga can help you clear your mind. Taking this time to focus your attention on the body, mind, and breath will help you center yourself and find inner peace.
Boosts energy: Today’s fast-paced world places a lot of demands on your physical and mental energy stores. A regular end-of-day yoga session is a great way to refresh your mind and body.
Improved posture and flexibility: Practicing yoga on a regular basis improves posture and tones muscles. It also leads to increased mental and physical awareness, which can help your posture even when you’re off the mat.
Tones the body: Yoga uses your own body weight for resistance. In this way, yoga tones the body without the use of weights or other exercise equipment. As such, unlike resistance or strength training, yoga gives you a nice lean figure.
Poses That Build Emotional Strength
Yoga poses build our emotional strength by pushing the limits of our physical boundaries. Some good choices include:
The Warrior Poses: These poses release the fire within and help boost your self-confidence.
Locust Pose: This pose not only builds physical strength, it increases determination and energy levels as well.
Half Moon Pose: If your mind is full of self-doubt, doing this pose can be challenging. But, if you go with the flow and breathe, it can serve as a great boost for your self-esteem.
Yoga provides a space where we are able to interact with our feelings and increase emotional strength. But, simply going through the motions is not enough. To truly strengthen your emotional health through yoga, it has to be more than just a physical practice. To help you get started, consider these techniques:
Breathe: When you regulate your breath during your yoga practice, you are able to stabilize a breathing pattern that can be taken off the mat.
Challenge yourself: When the sensations become too intense during a challenging pose, it’s natural to want to back up to a more comfortable position. But, when we work through it, we are able to build our emotional resilience.
Relax: Too often we zone out during savasana instead of staying in the present moment. This time should be used to practice conscious relaxation. Doing so will help you invoke a feeling of peace whenever your emotions try to get the best of you.
Wear comfortable clothing: In order to build your emotional strength, you must be able to cultivate a sense of peace in the most challenging poses. This can be easier said than done -- especially when wearing the wrong clothing. Can you imagine going through the warrior poses only to be held back by bunched up workout shorts? Snug leggings that allow movement will eliminate this issue so that you can focus on more important things.
If you are like most of us, then you weren’t taught how to deal with your emotional energy. But this doesn't mean that you can't learn how to. Yoga provides a playground where you can explore your feelings and eventually gain mastery over them. This leads to a peaceful state of mind that can enrich your life in incredible ways. Namaste.
Photo by: Patrick Leung