the emotional body

“the cure for the pain is in the pain.” rumi


i keep coming back to this quote in my teaching and in my practice.

in the past few years i’ve delved myself in the study of the emotions, the body and “the emotional body”. this study has been through reading, a deeper understanding of anatomy & multiple yoga therapy trainings but most significantly experientially through my own body and practice and through my own pain.

“the cure for the pain is in the pain.” we as human beings have multiple layers, the cognitive layer (the mind), the physical layer (the body), the emotional layer (feeling) and the spiritual layer (spirituality). our cognitive layer (the mind) is designed for survival, to keep us from feeling painful emotions. we spend our lives hiding, avoiding, covering up, running away from emotional pain because we have somehow convinced ourselves that feeling the pain is far more unbearable than stuffing it down and that if we stuff it down far enough and long enough it will go away.

here is what i have learned. the body remembers. we can run, we can hide, we can keep ourselves busy, always going, never slowing down but the body will still remember.

our memories are stored in our cells, our muscle tissue, our nervous systems.

think of the body as an energy system. when we allow the energy to flow naturally, when we allow ourselves to acknowledge, to feel and to release painful emotions the energy moves freely, when we stuff our emotions down, when we avoid, when we numb our feelings our energy system becomes stuck. the tension, the pain, the stagnant energy remains stuck in the body.

our minds are powerful. they will convince us that we’ve forgotten, that the pain no longer exists. if our mind senses the pain coming up it will convince us to stay busy, to numb the feelings with drugs, alcohol and other things that help us forget. the mind wants to forget but the body remembers.


our bodies want to remind us. our bodies want us to feel. they speak to us through illness, fatigue and physical pain but we ignore these messages because our minds are conditioned to avoid emotional pain. the fear of the emotional pain becomes so overwhelming that we continue to suffer physically, we continue to push our emotions down, we continue to attempt to forget our past traumas, pains, losses, disappointments and grief, but the body remembers. the nervous system remembers and responds in the same conditioned way it has learned to respond to painful emotions – we become anxious & agitated, our muscles become tense, our digestive systems act up, we develop autoimmune conditions, we can’t sleep, we experience back pain, we become sick, we become constricted, we close off the front side of our bodies so as not to feel pain and sadness in our hearts, we forget what it felt like before the heaviness of it all built up and stored itself in the cells of our body.


through the breath, the stillness, the opening, the awareness and acknowledgement of the emotions we can slowly release the stuck energy, the tension, the gripping, the holding. with this release of stuck energy we create space for healing and allow for new energy to flow throughout our bodies.

i know this because i have experienced the pain. i learned to avoid and push my emotions down by staying busy, always doing, always going. i became sick with autoimmune conditions, back pain, anxiety and digestive issues. when i allowed myself to be still, to breathe in to the body, to connect to the deeper layer, the emotional layer, i began to heal, to face the pain, to feel the pain. you can read more about my journey towards healing here.

“the cure for the pain is in the pain.” it is through the body that we can let go of the pain.

stay updated on my newest yoga therapy classes coming soon The Emotional Body Yoga.

acknowledge your emotionslisten to your body, slow down, breathe, make space, go deep, let go, face the pain to free the pain.

much love, Shawnee



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