Yoga and emotions
Yoga considers emotions as energetic movements, temporary or recurrent bouts of mental energy, which appear as a result of a disparity between the external or internal situation and the existing mental programming, the set of memories previously stored.
Psychological diseases are also excluded from the scope of this reflection. We will not approach the subject from the perspective of health but we try to provide elements to understand how to safeguard the balance of the personality by living emotions and how to integrate them in the context of our evolution.
How do emotions work?
In our brain, there are three strata of development called primary or instinctive brain, limbic or emotional brain and cortical or superior brain. The emotional sphere is located in the middle of the brain, with the hippocampus and amygdala influencing the hypothalamus, the computer that regulates the body and the mind through hormones.
When the emotion is more pronounced, the limbic brain takes over and disconnects more or less long cortical brain. This is why we feel we are losing all our means and being overwhelmed by emotion. In general, when this happens, there is then a call to the instinctive brain and it is therefore the instincts that will guide our responses.
Our attitude to emotions
The emotional sphere, just like the body and the mind, is subject to the duality of existence. Emotions are therefore positive or negative, they always go in pairs, love and hate, joy and sadness, fear and security, anger and tolerance. It seems unrealistic to consider that in our life, we are going to live only the positive sides of emotions and avoid all their negative expressions, jealousy, aggression, frustration, guilt, shame which are also part of Nature.
Yet that’s what we do. Positive emotions are rewarding, we search for them and try to prolong them because of the imperative we give to the pleasure principle. Emotions classified as negative are upsetting to us, questioning our value, so we are trying to eliminate them.
The intellect tries to stem this unwanted flow and in this case we tend to repress the emotional manifestation. Or our instincts get into the game and push us to manipulate the situation generating the emotion: either we fight against what exists, it is the reflex of combat or we try to avoid the problem, it is the reflex of escape, avoidance.
Emotional excesses are more or less frequent. Our ability to control them can save our lives, and it also conditions our quality of life and our possibilities for personal fulfillment. We act too often under the influence of an emotion, with a priori, without trying to analyze the situation thoroughly.
Just watch your reaction to a snake or even a simple spider. It is a conditioned reflex. If you act like a madman when you fall into the water, you are more likely to run out of steam and drown while remaining calm and waiting for help.
Once you practice yoga regularly, it will be possible to condition the emotions as well as seeing things are they are rather than acting on emotions and taking the bad course of action. Not to confuse with being emotionless though since emotions are part of us and we do not want to get rid of it.