This week in our yoga we worked on a set to relax and release fears. We did this by using postures and movement that work specifically on the liver, spleen and kidneys. These organs are affected by and connected to the emotions of anger, fear and worry. With that in mind, I want to highlight how important it is to care for the organs in the body to support us to feel more balanced in our experience of emotions, such as anger, fear and worry.
The body reflects the emotions and the emotions are reflected in our bodies. As an integrated mind/body system, the emotions we experience can have either a helpful or a stressful effect on our organs. There’s plenty of good energy that comes from feeling the emotion of love. We feel energised and like life flows more smoothly. We feel less affected when things don’t seem to go our way. The emotion of love can create a sense of wellbeing and acceptance that things are ok. But what about the emotions of fear, anger and worry?
Feeling angry or fearful or worried at times is part of being human and is a worthy expression of our good self. Any emotion, expressed consciously and with awareness, has a positive effect on our wellbeing. It’s part of life for us to feel emotion, the trick is to let the emotion flow through, be felt and acknowledged and then move out of the system.
It’s not the emotion that causes the body system to become imbalanced, rather, if we get stuck in that emotion, this can erode the physical health of our organs along with our mental state generally. As we travel along in life, it’s good to observe how and if we process emotions or whether we let the emotions become stuck and take over.
It can be useful to observe the connection of the emotions of fear, anger and worry to the organs in the body.
Anger – The emotion of anger, frustration and resentment is connected the liver. The liver supports the flow of energy and blood throughout the body. One of its functions is to filter out harmful substances in the body. This filtration process breaks down nutrients in the blood into forms that are easier for the body to use. Through the emotion of anger, stress is placed on the liver and liver function. This can result in low energy, headaches, eye conditions, tendonitis and inappropriate anger (or completely LOSING IT at the slightest thing!).
Fear – The emotion of fear, weak willpower, insecurity and isolation is connected to the kidneys. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and eliminate them through the urine. When we experience the emotion of fear, the body contracts to protect us. This creates stagnation and stops the flow of energy through the body. An imbalance in the kidneys can cause frequent urination, incontinence, poor short-term memory, low back pain, hair loss and osteoporosis.
Worry – Worrying can have an effect on our spleen function. The spleen supports the body to digest food and absorb nutrients. This is beneficial for clear thinking and memory. An imbalance in the spleen can create tiredness, loss of appetite, poor digestion, diarrhea and bruising. (*A great way to support the spleen to get grounded. Spend time in nature. Walk barefoot on the grass.)
Knowing the links and connections of the mind/body system can provide us with many tools to actively support the body to come into a state of balance.
Remember, the body reflects the emotions and the emotions reflect the body.
We can lessen the impact of emotions such as anger, fear and worry by lessening the stress we place on the organs connected to those emotions. For example, if we are eating enough organic, alkaline, unprocessed foods, the liver and kidneys will not have to work so hard to filter and eliminate chemicals to keep the body healthy.
The more pressure put on the organs due to what we eat can cause us to become unstable emotionally, or less able to cope with day to day experiences. Without strain, our organs will function efficiently and easefully. Due to their link to certain emotions, if the body is in good flow and ease, the likelihood of extreme emotions or over-reacting will be less. We will be more able to allow emotion to flow through and come back to a state of balance with ease.
And vice versa, the more emotions we get stuck in and feel trapped in can have a direct effect on our body’s ability to process food and chemicals that come into the body. Working to clear and support the organs, through our yoga practice, we provide added support for the organs so when we eat processed or junk foods, the body can filter the good from the bad and maintain a balanced state.
If you’re stuck in an emotion, you need to attend to it. Perhaps come at it from a different angle. If you’re struggling with fear or worry or you find you’re flying off the handle at the merest thing, attend to the body through the food you eat or try to shift that emotion through with exercise. Do yoga. Get into nature. Walk bare foot on the grass. Know that the body and mind are linked so that you’re not just stewing in the emotion, you’re actively addressing the stuckness via simple things such as food (drink more water) and exercise. Just do it, allow that emotion to be there and know that it will pass.
From a balanced space you can then observe what’s going on for you. Forget about controlling life and think about what you can do to create more harmony internally so that you can flow with life and all it’s wonderful challenges.