6 months of daily Ashtanga: Dealing with strong emotions in the yoga practice

As I will soon enter my 6th month of daily Ashtanga yoga practice, I’ve decided to talk a little about the strong emotional component in the journey of yoga. There is much to say and definitely more to experience. It is impossible to cover it all in just a few lines.

The physical journey has been smooth and nice. I am still practicing full Primary series and slowly adding up more postures from the 2nd series. Currently, my practice stops at Bhekasana, the 4th posture from the 2nd series. Urdhva Dhanurasana and drop backs feel so nice and powerful. Drop backs are amazing! And standing up from wheel gives me a sense of trust,openness and stability that I never felt before. I finally managed to find the balance point to lift up with a sense of grounding and stability, without wasting energy by over activating the muscles and letting myself overwhelmed by fear.

I simply cannot imagine my life without backbends anymore.

The mental and emotional component has been and it continues to be tricky and incredibly challenging. In almost 6 months of daily practice, I felt physical fatigue only a few times. On the other hand since starting backending and drop backs, I’ve been on a roller-coaster of emotions. And they take a lot from you. Some of them make sense and have root into the everyday life situations, others are triggered by the practice. I believe it is totally true what they say about practicing deep backbends on a daily basis. It totally unlocks things you did not even know they existed or maybe you just felt it was better to hide away from. When you go into the journey of deeper backbends, there is no where to hide and more over, you do not wish to hide anymore.

Backbends make me feel vulnerable and strong in the same time. I think I finally start to understand what is in fact the real strength we are talking so much about in yoga.

Sometimes I feel afraid. Other times I feel some pain that wants to go out of my chest. It is not physical pain, but it’s something that comes from inside. Sometimes I lose my sense of balance and for a short moment I let the fear and the pain take over. Then I start to see again and I ground myself and decide to be strong. Other times I manage to keep an equanimous mind and I just watch without letting myself absorbed by the emotions that are arising. I can more and more detach from my emotions and just watch.

On one hand, it is something I have never thought I will get to experience so soon in the practice.  On the other hand it is so terribly hard to watch and not want to fix everything and just accept whatever comes at you. Sooner or later you will understand. You cannot rush the journey.

There is a lesson in every practice, every situation, every day of our life. Many times it takes a long time until you finally get the lesson that was given to you. Patience is a virtue in the practice and in life.

The moment we start seeing things that not so many people are able to see, we might also start feeling confused. What am I gonna do with all this? You start wondering where exactly you fit. And do you really have to fit somewhere? Sometimes you just want people to understand what you are talking about. You want a friendly hug from an honest human that shares a similar view and journey. You want someone that listens and is able to love without putting labels and using its perception to try to find an answer for everything. You don’t want an answer or an opinion, just want someone who listens and understands.

But in the “real world” things are different. Life is busy and noisy. People are rushing trying to get things done. People are changing. Some are getting old too soon. Others are still searching. Some settle down for things they are not happy with, trying to find comfort in objects and things that you can buy with money. Others are still fighting every day to try to understand themselves better and hope that some day they are going to understand what this is all about.

But the “real world” seems like an illusion. Isn’t it in fact just an illusion? Something that we created by the power of our imagination. We have check lists of things we want to achieve. We have a certain idea how another person should or should not be. We set milestones. We think that by the age of 30,40,50…70 I should be there, I should have that, I should do that… We are so busy making plans that we are missing the point and wasting our limited life.

We put other people into boxes, but in fact we don’t know we just put ourselves into a box from where we might never get out. The box is not closed, but we  might still be trapped inside without any chance of ever getting out.

Unless we decide to break the pattern…

The journey to getting to know yourself better is the hardest thing that you are ever gonna do, I believe. It is so easy to want to change the world, but so hard to change yourself. Hard to become aware. And then hard to deal with it when you start seeing it all, better that you ever did before. And you start to question the superficiality in the world. And where do you fit? Do you actually have to fit somewhere?  Do you?

The journey home is inside your own heart.

“With great power comes great responsibility”, quote attributed to both Voltaire and Benjamin Parker character from  the “Spider Man” movie.

Thank you to Mark Robberds for inspiring me to write this article.

If you like this article, please don’t keep it for yourself and share it with your friends who could also benefit from it.

© Unfold Your Mat 2017


  1. Thank you! I loved reading this and identify with a lot of what you’ve said. ॐ

  2. Natalia Ferrara

    Beautifully put! Sometimes I avoided my ashtanga practise because of the emotions that come.

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