A Practice to Hold the Emotional Body

Yoga and meditation teacher, speaker, and author Leslie Booker offers a practice to check in with your body, breath, and heart.

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1. Find a comfortable posture—walking, standing, lying down, or seated.  With open eyes, move the head side to side, breathing in and pausing when the chin is over a shoulder, breathe out as the head moves, pausing with the chin over the other shoulder.

2. Notice your space—the colors, shapes, height, width, and depth of the room, the elements of nature. 

3. Rest the eyes—open, but with a soft gaze, looking down, or close them. Breathe, and feel into the moment.

4. How is the mind? How is the body? How is the breath? And how is your heart? Feel into the posture of your body. 

5. Feel gravity pulling down, rooting this body, connecting it to the Earth. Feel the sense of solidity, knowing this body as Earth element. Feel Earth holding Earth. In this stillness, you might begin to feel the sense of movement. It could be a little vibration, a shimmering. Or you could feel a bigger movement. Perhaps the body is rocking, soothing itself. Whether it’s in the stillness or the movement, you might feel a sense of ease in the body—a place where you can rest. A place that allows you a sense of ease and peace. Keep coming back to this anchor. 

Opening up to the Emotional Body

6. Begin to open up to the emotional body. Is there is a presence of, or an absence of? Without getting caught up in the narrative, without anything needing to make sense.

7. Find softening and widening into the experience, and see if the body can follow you. Is there contraction or tightness? Heat or coolness? Stillness or vibration?

8. If we begin to create stories or narratives around it, can we come back to the anchor?

9. Allow this emotional body to move through us at the speed of trust. 

10. How do we know the presence of this emotional body? Is it moving throughout the body or is it staying put? 

11. Is it getting bigger, or is it getting smaller with our attention placed upon it? Is it solid or is it breaking apart? 

12. Are you able to see all that it’s made up of—the fear and sadness, the joy, the happiness, the grief. Can you see impermanence as the emotional body moves through? 

13. How is the mind responding? Is there a pulling toward or pushing away, a confusion?

14. What is the quality of a heart and mind when holding on, grasping, clinging, or identifying with a strong emotion? What is the quality of a heart and mind when there is a knowing that this arises, and this will pass away.

15. Is there a sense of ease, of spaciousness, of an opening? How is the body now? How is the breath? How is the heart?

16. Breathe the breath in, and breathe the breath out.

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