How To Release Toxic Emotions Through Yoga

Emotions, YogaWhen I first began my yoga journey back in the late 1990s I was seeing a therapist for posttraumatic stress and taking medications for anxiety, depression and chronic pain.

I wanted to get off the prescription rollercoaster, and I began seeking alternative practices that would help. That path began with learning yoga and meditation.

At the time, I was looking for a way to handle my overloaded mind and emotions, and it was several years later when I realized a dedicated yoga practice doesn’t just help you manage your mind and emotions, it heals them.

When you begin a yoga practice you are, of course, learning the physical movements; more than that, though, you’re learning to focus on your breath. By drawing your attention to maintaining a steady pattern of inhale-exhale, you get out of your head and into your body – and away from your chaotic thoughts.

The more you practice yoga, and learn to extend the poses, the more you move your attention away from your mind. When you’re focused on releasing tight muscles, you’re beginning to move energy; you’re starting to change the energetic patterns of your body.

You’re also creating a way for the turbulent thoughts spinning around in your mind to drain off. Every thought is energy, and when you begin to clear stagnant energy out of your body you make space for all of those monkey-mind thoughts to shift, too. Oftentimes, strong emotions will surface during a yoga session, ready for release.

When you are working through a challenging pose, a yoga teacher will often tell you to “put your breath there” to help you release tension and ease further into the pose. The first time I heard those words I almost laughed out loud – resistance made me think How in the world can anyone do that?

Try it, though, and you’ll see what I mean; close your eyes and take a few slow, deep inhales and exhales, then “put your breath into your lower back.” Do you feel it? That’s energy moving.

What you’ve just learned to do is to draw energy through your body and focus it where you want it to go. And that means, you have the power to move your spiraling thoughts and emotions as well. You can direct that energy right out of your body, releasing it completely.

When you’ve mastered the process, you can do it anywhere, anytime; when you’re starting out, it’s easiest to learn it in conjunction with a yoga practice because you’re focused on what’s going on in your body (and you’re already moving the energy in your body automatically).

Here are some tips to get you started:

If you already have a yoga practice, you can incorporate into it a focus on releasing thoughts and emotions. If you haven’t done a lot of focused breath work in your practice, take some time to purposefully include it before you begin your clearing work.

If you don’t have a practice, start with Sun Salutations – a flowing sequence of simple movements designed to energize your system. Take a few days to get comfortable with the movements and breath work before you begin any releasing work.

For this purpose, I’d recommend slow, methodical movement through your poses so you can maximize your breath work.

As you begin your session, take several slow, long inhales and exhales (I like 3) to connect with your breath, then move gently into your first pose on the next inhale, picturing your breath moving in the direction you’re moving your body. As you exhale, envision your breath leaving your body, not just through your nose/mouth, but also through your pores.

When you encounter an area of your body that is tight, focus your inhales and exhales in that area; allow the tension to release and the muscle to ease.

Once you’ve completed your yoga poses for the session – and while you’re still connected to this energy movement – sit comfortably for a few minutes and notice your thoughts. Your most immediate thoughts and emotions are the things your body has brought to the surface for you to clear.

As you notice your thoughts, continue to maintain your breathing pattern and choose something you want to release. On your next inhale, put your breath around that thought – in the same way you did with a focus in your body – and on your exhale envision that thought being drawn down into your body and then released from it.

Continue with this for at least a few minutes, ideally until your mind quiets. As you practice, that will happen faster and faster.

When you’re done, finish your practice with a resting pose – Savasana, Child’s Pose, Legs Up the Wall, Reclined Cobbler – and give your system some time to settle.

Be sure to support your body’s natural clearing process by drinking lots of water throughout the day, and be sure to get a good night’s sleep. Your body releases toxins while you sleep and it’s an ideal time to let go of the things that weigh you down. When you’ve intentionally directed your body to clear specific things, it will continue dissipating the energy during sleep.

Most importantly, be patient and trust yourself throughout this process; you’ll intuitively know how to do it – and what’s most important for you to work through – if you do.

The regular practice of releasing toxic thoughts and emotions raises your energetic vibration and creates the space to attract the positive things you want to bring into your life.

For me, that meant finally healing my lifelong anxiety and chronic pain, and it’s a powerful practice I continue to use to stay healthy.

Katt Tozier About Katt Tozier

Katt Tozier is a writer, host of the Your Divine Life podcast, and a Divine Life Flow Guide. Through a unique combination of intuitive reading and practical guidance, she helps women clear the patterns that keep them trapped and invoke their healing power. Her Divine Signature process uncovers the celestial pattern that creates your personal power frequency, so you can align with the power, purpose and prosperity meant for you.

Katt is the Founder of Indomitable Women; she believes, as women, our power is in our individuality and our strength is in our unity, and she facilitates gathering spiritual women together to support our collective healing. Through conversation and community, she connects women to information, inspiration, and resources to help them navigate their transformational journey.

Learn more at and download Katt’s free gift, The 4 Gateways of Personal Power 4-part audio series.