Emotional Wellness Academy
What is Emotional Wellness Academy? Emotional wellness is a consistent state of feeling balanced and feeling heard. The EWA provides individuals the ability to state and recognize their unique emotional reactions. Identify emotional patterns without shame, blame or self-sabotage. To express emotions clearly and directly to friends, family and colleges. To promote healthy emotional boundaries by enrolling others to honor their emotional needs. Empowerment through emotional understanding. Owning your truth.
We grow up learning how to count numbers and read letters but did you ever think there’s another language worth understanding? The language of your emotions. Do you know what makes you angry, how you respond to grief? How about jealously? Or fears of rejection? Do you have any idea how you respond to stress?
The truth is we don’t live in a world that acknowledges emotions. We spend the majority of our life in accomplishment, produce, find a mate, settle down mode. Our emotions get pushed under a rug, spinned, weighted, yoga-d down. Things meant to shed light on our emotional nature have turned into escapes of our emotions. Because the truth is that once we start acknowledging our emotions, they tend to dictate our choices (which is good!). Instead of going to that networking event you stay home and take a bath. Instead of partying on a Saturday night you cry for hours on your mat. And instead of yelling at your partner you actually pause and find the source of your pain.
Women (men) are told for so long that our feelings—our internal sensations of pain, pleasure, joy, sadness, or anger—are too much, or wrong, or bad. So eventually we can’t stop thinking and thinking about these problems, trying to think them out, but we stop feeling our feelings about them.
― Naomi Wolf, Vagina: Revised and Updated
The strongest distinction between our analytical mind and our emotional essence is that while so much of our thinking in the physical world revolves around a calm mind, our emotions do not live in the mind, but in the body. They are in our cells, our throat, hips, organs and everywhere that the body can store them. The key to truly understanding your emotions is to get into the body. At EWA we use yoga and meditation as the physical blue print. After the body has been opened and is more receptive to information we start to clarify and express emotions that came up for us. For everyone this will be a different manifestation. Some will want to write, some will want to sing.
The meridian lines. A big chuck of this work is relying on an ancient map called the meridian lines. Think of them as highways along your body. Each highway flows prana (energy) into different organs. Due to our busy lifestyle and our daily physical patterns (sitting or walking on concrete) our lines of energy get blocked, making huge traffic build up throughout the body. The poses we use for emotional wellness work are targeted, intentional and designed to reopen those meridian lines. Our organs (based off of Chinese Medicine) store our emotions. So the clearer the channel of energy towards those organs, the easier it is for us to identify how we feel.
Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going inside ourselves.
― Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
There are a lot of courses out there that offer emotional intelligence work without the movement, and a lot of yoga out there offers movement without the emotional component. Modern science is recognizing that the body is the mind and the mind is the body. You cannot work one and expect the other to truly transform.
Hormones and the nervous system. Hormones are the drivers of our emotional reactions. It would be impossible to talk about emotions without addressing the impact hormones have to regulate us. The amazing thing about living today is how much research is being done to fully understand the difference between men and woman’s unique hormonal needs. As men need testosterone to calm down and relax, woman need oxytocin. We can infer if woman (especially in NYC) ar going to spin, boot-camp or vinyasa yoga classes (all testosterone driven exercises) plus the extra testosterone they’re building from working all day (problem solving, high stakes environments); you could conclude that woman in modern society are deprived of oxytocin. The nervous system can help us start to generate the necessary hormones we need by switching off the sympathetic (fight or flight) and turning on the parasympathetic (rest, restore, digest). Men need to build testosterone to relax, but if they’re always stuck in fight and flight gear their hormones will literally never allow them to calm down. The body needs to be trained how to relax. During EWA sessions we will trick the body into relaxing, simple techniques to seduce the body into the calmer nervous system (parasympathetic) so that the proper hormones (for each sex) can start rebuilding.