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Sooner or later, life happens.

It feels personal, but the truth is it’s not even personal, as these things happen to the best of us.

Someone breaks your heart. You don’t get the job. Your taxes come due. A little too much work, a little not enough sleep and all of a sudden things feel like they’re snowballing.

One of the quickest ways to take your pressure off is with a gentle yoga exercise called the container exercise.

It’s my experience working with all kinds of clients over the years that the reason so many of us become addicts – you know what I am talking about here, legal and illegal drugs, overworking, over exercising, shopping every day, smoking, drinking, etc. etc. etc. – is that we fail to feel our feelings.

Wouldn’t you rather release that stress than stuff it, eat it, drug it?

The container exercise gives you a quick, safe and easy way to release some of your pent up emotions so that you can begin to feel better right away.

Here’s how you go about the container exercise:

  1. Place yourself in any super comfy, totally safe position. At the simplest, lie down with a pillow under your knees and a blanket over your body. If you like, adopt any of the restorative yoga postures I describe in this blog post that you can read for FREE at this link. Just find a way to put your body in a relaxed state for at least five minutes. Set your smart phone or another timer for five minutes. Click start.
  2. Visualize a container. You could choose a dainty teacup or a gigantic dumpster. Whatever you choose, this is the container you will fill with all your feelings.
  3. Allow your mind to roam through your body and figure out where you appear to be holding your stress and tension. It may be in one location, such as your abdomen, an achey shoulder or a throbbing toe, or it could feel global, like it’s absolutely everywhere.
  4. Begin to feel your mind-body soreness. Give yourself permission to feel as much of the tenderness as possible, knowing and experiencing that you are 100 percent safe in this moment and that you are only going to feel as much as will fill your container and only for as long as five minutes, so that your emotions won’t get the better of you.
  5. Cry, scream, groan, laugh. Moan it out. Allow any sounds to erupt that you may have been suppressing. Every emotion is also a vibration. You can release that particular vibration by expressing its sound. On the other hand, maybe the feeling is so deep you can’t even connect it to any sound. In that case, just breathe.
  6. As you are feeling your ache and expressing the vibration, notice how quickly your container fills up. When your container gets full – once again whether it’s the teacup or the dumpster – OR your smart phone rings, stop feeling the energy.
  7. Get up and do something totally different. Go for a walk. Put on cheerful music. Do a little dance. Call a friend. Drink a glass of water. Break the energy.

The container exercise gives you power and control over your emotions.

You get to set your own boundaries on how quickly you release the energy pent up inside yourself.

Give yourself permission to release your tension little by little and notice how your mind, body and spirit lighten up!