Listen to Your Body Talk: How Yoga Can Release Pent-Up Emotions

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | September 11th, 2009 | 2 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga


A few weeks ago during my Core Integration Immersion, my students did a partner exercise where they had to consciously release their hip flexors and inner thighs while a partner supported their legs. One woman, Anna (not her real name), was unable to “let go.” Her inner thighs grabbed each time they were supposed to release. She was quite confounded by the bizarre tension that seemed to have a mind of its own in her inner thighs and hips.

That afternoon in the shower, when the hot water hit her backside, she was struck by a memory of prolonged labor that was a nightmare for her and her doctors. She remembered suffering from back contractions for a full 18 hours, on her hands and knees for that time. Her memories came flooding through in tears and weeping, able to release the trauma that had been stored in her clamped hip flexors, inner thighs, memory and more.

The next day in class, her whole body had shifted, and she was able to let go in the exercise without the mental tension that had apparently been holding on since the time of her daughter’s birth five years ago.

Tune into your body with yoga

Our bodies are a wealth of information, loaded with pleasure, pain and memories. Our minds sometimes stuff memories into our tissues that were painful or traumatic. A practice of yoga can come across those memories within the body’s tissues like trip wires that result in opening up the flood gates of unprocessed emotion. I invite you to welcome the stories you have stored and listen to how your body talks.

Bodies do not always communicate in simple language terms. Sometimes our bodies conjure concrete images. At other times, ghost-like apparitions pass in and out of our conscious mind. And still others are strong words that nearly punch you in the face (see an interesting message I had in Overcoming Yoga Roadblocks).

Be patient and compassionate

They key with any of this mind-body communication is to stay present, be open to receiving the messages, but at the same time, EXPECT NOTHING. Your body will not speak if it is being watched like a hawk or forced to produce a result. Be patient, remain compassionate and seek support if necessary. You are worthy of being listened to at every level of your being.

I wish you all the best as you tune into the depths of yourself!


  1. [...] when your body talks, you’ve got to listen. After all, who knows you — your needs, likes and dislikes — better [...]

  2. This really hit home. I am just starting yoga after getting involved in conscious dance, which is another activity that can really get a person in touch with inner emotions. The negative emotions sometimes come to the surface, but sometimes there’s a connection with something strong and positive – joy!

    KathyC | June 14th, 2010 | Comment Permalink

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