For those who enjoy spending time on the beach, there’s nothing quite as calming as enjoying the ebb and flow of the ocean’s waves. Those ocean waves are unquestionably beautiful, and listening to them has ushered many into an unparalleled state of relaxation.
But watching those waves is also effective at teaching us something about our emotional energy, especially when we are feeling stressed. All waves (regardless of their size) come and go. And just like wave energy, our emotions are simply another form of energy. By simply learning to deal with those negative emotions more effectively -- knowing they they, too, will pass -- we can begin forming healthier emotional patterns and behaviors.
As a central part of Kripalu Yoga, the technique of “riding the wave” involves learning to explore the uncomfortable emotions that may otherwise cripple us.
This ancient technique is, in effect, a delicate dance between quieting the mind and exploring the boundaries wherein we normally feel a sense of resistance.
It involves sitting with those unpleasant feelings, exploring them, breathing deeply to bring about a sense of calm. This practice is far different from the reactions of most--the normal reaction to stressful circumstances is to clutter our minds and our environment with everything from work to anger to substances. In other words, we often practice avoidance and distraction in a futile attempt to make the wave stand still.
If we were, instead, at the beach attempting to physically resist the direction of the wave, its force would most likely pull us under. Riding the wave--in a manner similar to that of surfers--allows the individual to move forward with less effort. It's an active experience which requires focused attention and centered awareness. But the stillness involved with riding the wave helps yogis flow with the wave rather than resisting it.
Although it may seem difficult initially, learning to ride the wave helps a person move from anxiety or fear to eventually freedom and insight. And learning to witness circumstances, rather than reacting to them, is a skill worth having both on and off the mat.
By: Jessica Adams (G+)