It happens. Once in a while, in yoga class, there is a glorious moment of emotional release when the floodgates open and the tears rush through. It seems to happen out of nowhere, a certain movement, a particularly insightful comment from the teacher, a powerful adjustment, something is accessed on a deeper level that allows pent up sentiment to rise to the surface and release. And for those of us that have experienced it, when it happens for someone else, we are happy for their tears, because we know a divine discovery or a glorious blossoming is about to take place.
This hadn’t happened for me in a very long time. In fact, it was starting to feel foreign. Students often express to me that they are able to access deep wells of emotion during class, which thrills me of course, yet I was losing my ability to relate to it. Class had become very heady for me. Deep internal focus yes, speaking to layers of musculature I hadn’t previously been able to converse with, massive physical transformations taking place. Beautiful and uplifting, but still, lots of holding on and holding back.
Then, I got sick. Last week, I was struck down with an awful cold that left me totally sapped of energy. On the fifth morning, I hauled myself to class (The Thinking Body, The Feeling Mind, with my mentor Dr. Linda Lack), hoping that moving my limbs would counter the feeling of stagnation and allow healing energy to flow freely throughout my body. When I got on my mat though, I felt more exhausted than ever, and very aware that I was in no way feeling better. My teacher, of course, knew I wasn’t well, and wanted me to be mindful and take it easy. To help me find a safe place for my practice, she said something along the lines of, “Imagine you are moving through water. Feel the support of that around you.”
That was it. Those words struck a chord and the tears started rolling. Gentle tears, not sobbing, just a subtle dam break that allowed some of what was held inside to let go. It was the idea of being supported, and recognizing that yes, I am supported, and it’s ok to be vulnerable. That’s the beauty of going to a class that cares for your body, with a teacher that knows you intimately. You find a space to explore not only the layers of your physicality, but also of your emotional body. Being sick removed my own personal pressure to push myself deeper physically, and allowed for the vulnerability to be emotional, to not be “perfect.” It showed me how much pressure I’ve been putting on myself lately, and how much that has been weighing on me physically and disrupting my productivity.
I came up with a mantra right then that I’d like to share with you and give you free license to use it whenever and as often as you see fit! I am kicking ass! I am doing enough. I am enough. Time is on my side.
CALL TO ACTION: If you are feeling pressured, spent, pent up, stressed…say the mantra! Find your own emotional release in class or with a Thai Yoga Massage! Please share below any thoughts, reactions, or experiences you’ve had with emotional release in yoga or elsewhere.