Become a Connoisseur of Your Emotions - Yoga Journal

Become a Connoisseur of Your Emotions

Take time one day to be actively conscious of how the rasas show up in your life.

Sit for a few moments, allowing feelings and emotions to arise. See them as flavors or colors of the Self, threads in the weave of your consciousness, details in the tapestry of the great consciousness. Notice that when you become the spectator at the emotional dance, the dance becomes interesting, even beautiful. Now try offering each emotional flavor to the heart of the universe, or to God.

Just for fun, take time one day to be actively conscious of how the rasas show up in your life. Identify the rasas you move through. See the rasas being played out in conversations, in events you see on TV, in situations you pass on the street.

With a few friends, spend an evening acting out the full range of the rasas. I've done this as a party game, in which everyone picks a slip of paper with one of the rasas written on it, then remains in character during the conversation that follows. Give yourselves permission to be unabashedly dramatic in your expression. Be terrifying. Tell a gross-out joke. Inhabit it fully.

Then sit together in meditation for a few minutes and let it all subside into the shanta rasa, the flavor of peace. Discuss afterward how it felt to do this.

Try doing your yoga practice with awareness of the rasas. Practice a round or two of Sun Salutations as if you were saluting your beloved. Then try it with the heroic energy of a samurai. Let yourself wobble in Tree Pose until you do a comic prat-fall. Set your body into Warrior II, then let out a terrifying roar. See how many different rasas you can express in your asana practice. Notice which rasas give you juice. Experiment with others until you feel their natural flavor.