This past weekend was another yoga teacher training session for me and lo and behold, my floodgates finally opened and tears spewed from me like bats out of hell. I have already expressed that heart openers/backbends affect me greatly, so really it was only a matter of time before this deluge happened, yet I was still overwhelmed and beyond embarrassed.
On Saturday we were yet again working on urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose) and my instructor asked me if I’d be willing to volunteer so he could demonstrate the ways for a teacher to help align a student in the pose. I believe my enthusiastic response was, “not really”. He asked why and I explained that heart openers in general are difficult for me. Not letting me off the hook, he pressed further and asked if I meant they were physically difficult, or difficult in an emotional way. I said the latter. Even as I said that and finally agreed to do the pose, I felt myself tearing up. I was so hoping that would be the extent of things.
I set up for the pose, listened to his cues, tried to get out of my head, and finally glided up into the backbend. Now normally, I stay in the pose for as little time as possible and get the hell out of dodge before any real breakthroughs or emotional expressions can happen (not on my watch, feelings!), but this time I had no choice but to stay in it while he showed the class what to do. He talked me through the subtle movements I needed to do with my body, then assisted me further into the bend and suddenly I just felt this enormous release. Just, massive. Something clicked into place. I felt powerful yet vulnerable and the tears just kept sliding down my face and into my hair, onto my mat below me. Everything I have been through in the past several years, both good and bad, seemed to just bubble up to the surface. And then gush out of me uncontrollably.
I could not help but picture Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own standing over me yelling “Are you crying?! There’s no crying! There’s no crying in
I had to lie on the floor for a bit after coming down from the pose, mainly because I was too embarrassed to sit up and have my blotchy, tear- and snot-stained face in clear view of my fellow students. I needn’t have worried, though, because the next day two different people (neither of them me) cried, as well! Yoga teacher training is intense. Chakra work is intense. Allowing yourself to fully FEEL your feelings is intense, and often really uncomfortable. It makes sense that so many of us bottle it all up and only let little bits slip out every now and again.
The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t suppress your feelings and emotions, because one day they are bound to explode right on out of you, whether you like it or not. If you are determined to keep those sensitivities cooped up, though, I really hope you are lucky enough to finally have them released in such a safe and welcoming way like I did, rather than randomly at Target while shopping for underwear or something.