MANDALA Testimonial Ranja Weis is one of the most well-known Yin Yoga teachers in Germany. In this blog post, she describes why it is important to let feelings take hold of you.
Yin Yoga is different in many ways from other Yoga paths. One outstanding feature of Yin Yoga is that it creates a space of experiencing one's own emotional world. In the positions, which are practiced for a longer period of time (usually between 3 to 7 minutes), it can happen that once in a while a few tears may begin to flow. Tears are usually a consequence of the fact that when we release tension, we are brought into the core essence of our being, which can be very moving and touching. But from my experience, above all, it is working with your own shadow that has a purifying and healing effect.
Feeling emotions such as grief, pain, loneliness, fear, anger can be immensely liberating, for we tend to suppress unpleasant feelings in everyday life. Yet, as soon as we stop giving such emotions space, they become unconscious and sink into the shadows. They do not stay there, though. They tend to rebel and to take over the helm of our being when we least need it. For example, Rüdiger Dahlke quite aptly declares: "Where we do not voluntarily deal with the shadow, it will deal with us in its own way". And the American psychologist Debbie Ford explains: "The emotions we have suppressed urge to be recognized and integrated, they are harmful only when they are suppressed, then they threaten to break out during a completely inappropriate moment. Such sneaky attacks could be a hindrance in those areas of your life that are most important to you." Often this occurs on the relationship level. The very people we love the most often trigger us the most. Here, working with your own shadow becomes a relationship-promoting measure. For once we have come to understand, accept, and integrate our suppressed emotions, we will not so easily say or do something that could hurt or affect someone in a destructive way.
Also with regard to the love of one’s self, the integration of our shadow is essential. This we have been already taught by old fairy tales and myths. The hero must first make his way into the dark and face the dragon before he can ascend the throne. Thus, we can be at peace with ourselves only when we have come to know our shadow side and have learned to love it also. In my opinion, this is the way, in which Yin Yoga is a valuable help.