Finding Emotional Balance Through Yoga: Cultivating Calm Amidst the Storm

In today’s world, tuning into the news often feels like bracing for an onslaught of negativity: wars, hatred, violence, pain and suffering. It’s overwhelming, enough to make one want to bury their head in the sand. Yet, escaping isn’t simple, as recent experiences illustrate vividly.

Just last week, a reckless driver nearly collided with the car ahead, gesticulating wildly in a fit of rage. At the drive-through, a sour-faced cashier snapped at my son over a trivial mistake. Meanwhile, nearby, intoxicated neighbours engaged in loud, confrontational arguments. Beyond the orchestrated violence depicted in the news, we’re besieged by unchecked emotional eruptions, likely fueled by pent-up stress and strain.

Consider the agitated driver: perhaps he’s projecting his frustrations from elsewhere onto the road, venting his anger on a perceived slowpoke. The disgruntled cashier might be grappling with the toll of long shifts and meagre wages. Even the rowdy neighbours might be grappling with inner turmoil, manifesting in their loud disputes.

Whether you’re directly experiencing this stress or, like me, feeling the strain of witnessing it, yoga offers solace and strategies for emotional balance. Through a myriad of techniques addressing both mind and body, yoga provides a pathway towards emotional regulation. Here’s how it can help:

    1. Breath Regulation: Pranayama, or breath control, is a fundamental aspect of yoga. Different breathing techniques, such as deep belly breathing or alternate nostril breathing, can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety levels.
    2. Physical Release: Emotional tension often manifests as physical tension in the body. Yoga postures (asanas) help release physical tension by stretching and strengthening muscles, which in turn can alleviate emotional tension. Practices like Yin Yoga, which involve holding passive poses for extended periods, can be particularly effective in releasing deeply held tension.
    3. Stress Reduction: Yoga is known to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Regular practice can help individuals manage chronic stress more effectively, leading to improved emotional well-being.
    4. Emotional Processing: Some yoga practices, such as Yin or restorative yoga, encourage introspection and emotional processing. Holding poses for longer periods allows practitioners to sit with uncomfortable emotions that may arise, fostering acceptance and emotional resilience.
    5. Mind-Body Connection: Yoga promotes a strong mind-body connection, emphasising that physical and emotional well-being are interconnected. By nurturing the body through yoga practice, individuals may also experience greater emotional balance and stability.
    6. Mindfulness: Yoga emphasises present-moment awareness through breath and body sensations. This cultivates mindfulness, which allows individuals to observe their emotions without judgment. By becoming more aware of emotions as they arise, individuals can choose how to respond rather than react impulsively.
    7. Self Awareness.  By practicing yoga meditation as we do at the end of every asana class we can find a place of respite, which will give us greater strength and calmness to deal with our challenges.

Overall, by integrating breath, movement, mindfulness and meditation, yoga provides a holistic approach to emotional regulation, offering tools to navigate the complexities of the human experience with greater ease and resilience.


By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training