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Yoga To Improve Emotional Health

Updated on January 10, 2016

Yoga To Improve Emotional Health

Yoga is often associated with the physical and spiritual body, both of which are represented by the combination of physical exercises and meditation during yoga performance. However, the emotional aspect of one's body is also another integral part of yoga practice that is also the recipient of several helpful benefits.

Read below to learn which styles of yoga can boost your emotional health.

Kripalu Yoga

Over the years, yogi experts have continually innovated ways and techniques that will enable them to address various conditions, whether it be concerning your health, emotions, or mental state.

Kripalu yoga is just one of the several emerging yoga styles that offer a holistic approach in its practice. Finding its roots in Hatha Yoga, Kripalu is more gentle in its approach with more emphasis placed on healing, meditation, and emotional transformation above anything else. The teachers of Kripalu Yoga also encourage its students to allow the practices of Kripalu to overflow into their daily lives for more effective results.

Every session of Kripalu Yoga involves gentle stretching coupled with breathing exercises. This is ideal for people who wants to gain emotional and spiritual transformation on top of the physical benefits.

What is Rasa Sadhana?

Rasa Sadhana is one of the core components of ancient Tantric yoga tradition. It is made up of nine “essences of emotions”, which outlines the important steps needed in order for one to fully experience the specified emotional state. It is represented by energies that are present in an individual's body, which is responsible for setting moods and emotions. Whatever activities that directly affect these energies will have their consequent effects on your mood and emotions, as well.

Students and practitioners of Rasa Sadhana must avoid the undesirable Rasas but instead focus on attaining those that are recommended by the teachings of Rasa Sadhana.

The Yoga of Nine Emotions

There are nine basic emotional components involved in Rasa Sadhana. Each one have their own corresponding set of functions, as well as procedures for attaining them. It stays true to the teachings of Rasa Sadhana, the yoga of emotions, that these emotions can be taught and learned.  The more you attain for these states of emotion, the closer you get to finding emotional enlightenment. You can incorporate the following nine aspects of Rasa emotions with other yoga practices that offer spiritual and emotional paths.


Shringara is a Sanskrit word meaning “Love”, which could either relate to romantic love or the broader essence of love for all things such as family, friends, culture, art, beauty, and other things in the world. The traditions of Rasa Sadhana yoga believe that Love is the ultimate source of enjoyment caused by the attachment, whether person or object. In order to master this emotion, you need to recognize the beauty of the things that exist around you and learn how to appreciate them.


Hasya Rasa represents the emotion of joy, which is commonly associated with humor as the illusionary aspect in the universe. However, yogi experts of Hasya rasa believes that the real essences of joy comes from an internal source instead of being triggered by an event or act that takes place in the external world. You can use the essence of joy to combat other negative emotions including fear, sadness, or anger.


Several people believe that despite efforts to explain all occurrences in the physical world, it has remained shrouded in mystery. Therefore, human beings exert all effort to try and understand all these natural wonders as part of their quest to gain civilization. The fact that you cannot understand everything and that humans are continuing their quest to gain that understanding is what makes life interesting.

R2. The Nine Rasas or Emotional Essences


Shanta represents one very important emotion for humans – peace. One is only able to experience this by reaching Samadhi, which is a state of gaining super-consciousness and represents the final stage in yoga. In order for peace to happen, all other elements must merge including ego, mind, and body. The best yoga method for attaining peace is through meditation. In addition to this, you need to create a balance between your needs and desires. The better you are able to fulfill those desires, you get a step closer to finding the peace that you want.


Raudra rasa details the emotion of anger, which is often incited whenever desires or expectations are not met. However, anger must not necessarily be relegated as negative. There are positive forms of anger that compels one to aspire for something bigger or change their former habits to make realization of those desires possible. Yoga teaches an individual that releasing anger is better than suppressing it. When you are angry though over another person, you must allow karma to do the punishing instead of trying to act on your anger.

R14. The Art of Humor in Yoga

R15. The Art of Wonder in Yoga


Courage is another important kind of emotion that is developed through yoga practice. Other related emotions include fearlessness, valor, self-assurance, heroism, and determination. According to Rasa Sadhana, courage is important for one to be able to act and respond in times of needs during one's daily life. In order to do that, however, one must learn how to control the ego.


As much as there is an emotional component for love and joy in Rasa Sadhana, there is also the sadness rasa. This is an emotional feeling developed by an individual after letting go with attachments established during the Shringara Rasa. You can master the feeling of sadness though by channeling it into compassion. To overcome feeling of sadness, one has to realize that just like any other emotions, it can merely come and go as well.


Fear is one of those emotions that is capable of taking over one's life. It is often due to ignorance as the mind tends to imagine what it does not know about. Hence, fear is associated with worries that often exaggerates in your mind. There is a positive aspect to fear as well. It serves as your natural protection from harm, making you practice vigilance and control.


Vibhatsa rasa is having a feeling of disgust, whether on yourself or on others. When this happens, all perverted actions are triggered such as cursing, bad manners, and manifestation of other malicious intent. When your mind becomes too consumed with all the negative thoughts, there is a tendency to neglect responsibilities.

Therefore, yoga teaches one to focus on Shringara only to be devoid of negative emotions. Other important components to avoid such negative emotions is being in good company and paying attention to your health.

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