Witnessing: Emotional Feeling by Claire Lalande

Claire Lalande
 Claire is one of our newest teachers to join The Local Collective. You can watch our very first French yoga class HERE. (Psst, it’s FREE!) And the English version is HERE because who doesn’t love yoga in a cute accent?

In thinking about emotions lately, I have come to the realization that I have some very conflicting feelings about them.

Here are some of my personal experiences about strong feelings and how to accept and then deal with these kinds of emotions.

Step 1: Admittance 

 My husband and I lived in two different countries for over a year before we got married. When he would visit, I used to wake up very depressed on Sunday mornings, crushed by the inevitability of his departure that same evening. Again.

First I felt bad about feeling sad. Which would then evolve into feeling angry about the sadness. I was clearly upset for every single visit, and in the end I would arrive at the epitome of the experience by  feeling guilty about feeling angry about feeling sad about him leaving. Sheesh!

See the issue here?

In the end, I was a complete mess, feeling horrible- resentful and full of hate for myself.

This was years ago, but it is still something that happens to me from time to time. I feel an emotion that I am not proud of and it starts that vicious circle of guilt.

{What yoga says}

In a lot of different ways, yoga helps us to take a little distance. Inside of us all, there is the ‘witness.’ This witness- the one that we help grow by observing things (our inner most selves, our breath, our mood)- is one of the best tools we can cultivate.

Thanks to this witness, we realize that WE ARE NOT OUR EMOTIONS. This realization holds the possibility to change, well, everything. Once we accept that who we are and what we feel are not intrinsically related, we CAN simply stand back and observe the spectacle.

Instead of identifying with them and being defined by them, we instead CHOOSE how we are going to react TO them.

It is fine to have strong feelings. All of us do. We are not responsible for HOW we feel. However, we must take responsibility for how we act ON those feelings that we feel.

Step 2: Letting Go

 My own personal work revolves around my relationship with my emotions. For someone who has tendencies of an angry dragon at times, I can say that Yoga has helped exponentially.

 I still have strong feelings. I still get angry, sad and frustrated. But now, I can more easily identify the situation as it is happening, and just focus on accepting it for what it is. And then what?

You guessed it! Let. It. Go.

Sometimes it takes a while and sometimes it is simple. Depends on the situation and my own personal well-being. Regardless though, the end goal is that I let go.

And letting go becomes easier and easier each time it happens. Practice makes perfect as they say.


I always take a moment to remind myself : “your feelings are valid, it is ok to feel the way you feel.”

Love yourself, love your feelings. Accept them as they are, and let them go.

~ Claire