By Katie Silcox

Katie Silcox

I remember hearing Ayurveda healer and teacher Dr. Vasant Lad say that our emotions are like mangoes. “We have to learn to ripen them,” he said. And then juice them. And when emotions are juiced, they are deeply nourishing. Even sweet. His words gave me permission to feel. I started to believe the unfathomable—that emotions could lead to nourishment and revelation. Through my now decade-long study of Tantra and Ayurveda, one thing has become clear: there is no running from what is occurring inside me. And in the words of Eve Ensler, “I am an emotional creature.”

The word “emotion” comes from the Latin word “emovere”—to be moved. Emotions move us. They are a call to action and attention. Emotions are energy in motion. Our feelings only become a problem when we short-circuit their natural tendency to move by “not feeling” or by overreacting. According to Tantra and Ayurveda, our emotions can be powerful gateways into grace, revelation, and even ease. When the emotions are repressed or misused, they lead to more pain and suffering. When systematically channeled, they are portals into more empowerment and self-understanding. A deeply experienced emotion can help us dissolve blocks in our energy body as well as embedded psychological patterns from the past. When we are lovingly present to feelings, they can come to a natural completion. This completion usually drops a golden nugget of revelation into our surprised laps.

I find that many of us are afraid to feel our emotions. Oftentimes, when I teach on the topic of motions in my yoga workshops, I can sense the room beginning to squirm. “Oh, no,” the students seem to be saying, “This woman is telling me I can feel my feelings. She is going to open up the floodgates, and I will never be able to turn my emotions off.” They fear turning into wild, emotional banshees, throwing temper tantrums or balling up in bed for days. What I have found is that the contrary happens. The more I let myself deeply feel my feelings in an appropriate time and place, my daily emotional life is a much calmer sea to sail on. I am more aware of my reactions, and I feel confident because I know how to digest any emotional residue that wasn’t properly channeled in the moment. Ayurveda says that if we “juice” our emotional mangoes in the moment—when they are ripe—we become calmer, more stable people. We seem, ironically, less emotional.

This paradox is the quintessence of Tantric alchemy. Juicing emotional mangoes is turning what feels like cow dung into holy ash. But the process can be scary, especially because women’s emotions have been demonized, and men’s emotions have been denied and shamed. But through this unfortunate denial, we have also dampened our ability to access wisdom and intuition. I am one of many beings on the planet inviting herself and others back into the power of our heart’s capacity to be present to our emotions and body sensations. I hope you will join me. The gift is waiting.

Katie Silcox is the author of the upcoming book Healthy, Happy, Sexy: Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women. She is a nationally recognized yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, writer for Yoga Journal, and senior teacher within the Sri Vidya ParaYoga lineage under Yogarupa Rod Stryker.



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