I sometimes mention to my students when we are doing hip openers that emotional releases can occur and not to be alarmed if they do. Usually this will come on in the form of sadness or anger although I suppose really any emotion could come up depending on the person and their own life experiences. I frequently tell the story of myself being in a class doing deep and long held lunges. I became FURIOUS with the teacher (quietly inside my head). It was quite surprising to me because I actually totally adored her yet here I was cursing and raging at her inside my head. The anger was totally blown out of proportion for the situation I was in. It was like old anger that I had been holding onto for years. The teacher even said, as if she knew what I was thinking, that is was okay if we felt anger towards her. When we released the posture I felt as if I had been totally emotional cleansed. I felt lighter. It was lovely.
I don’t often get emotional releases in yoga these days. I maintain a practice but don’t usually hold postures longer than five minutes. All my longer held postures are asanas I am familiar with.. until today. I have been noticing that I don’t do many side body stretches. Actually I have noticed for years that my side body tends to be a little tight. I just forget about that part of my body. I have been working with breathing into my side body recently and decided to try out some longer held supported side stretches much like the one in this video. Boom! Three minutes in I became suddenly extremely teary eyed and sad. Then I came out, felt fine, and repeated the posture on the other side. Three minutes in this intense wave a sadness hit me again. It actually felt quite good to have this release. It was like some sticky old gunk was jammed in there and it loosened up a bit. Despite the gentle restorative natures of the pose I find myself feeling quite sore from the pose. Side stretching is certainly going to become part of my daily practice now.