Have you ever cried in a yoga class? I often have. In the early days, I was ashamed; I thought that there was something wrong with me that I cried. The curious thing was, I felt so much better afterwards, once I had dealt with the shame thing!
As a yoga community, much is made of being heart centred. Not always easy when life is full in our face and tears flow, especially when we criticise ourselves for visibly suffering or feeling sorrow on the mat.
I have had students come to me after practice and apologise for crying in class.
My answer is usually in the realms of this …
It’s no longer helpful to bottle it all up; push it away. What does serve is allowing yourself to feel life in all its technicolour vibrance, knowing that you can find your way through and out the other side. Let the tears flow; they are your freedom from the past, liberation from all the ways you held on tight.
Because as awful as it might seem in that moment, this is not the way it’s always ever going to be. Learning this one truism can make a difference.
Yin yoga as a practice teaches a safe passage through the mind field, undoes what life does, releases the stored experiences, and dissolves the emotional molecules with the breath.
I’m simplifying this, I know.
Yin offers emotional, physical & mental resilience. But these are only some of the core elements, aside from the physical. It takes a willingness to stay with what is in a safely contained environment with teacher/guides who know how to hold safe space for the transient moments of undoing.
Many of us have been where you stand; many of us have cried on the mat in the throes of letting go the wounds, hurts and bruises from a life well-lived, and many of us have chosen to guide this style of yoga because it made a significant difference to our lives.
We leaned in, found soul & psyche practices to support us and permitted ourselves to feel all that the asana has to offer. We learnt to slow down, to listen & honour what has been waiting to emerge.
To take a look is brave work; to risk telling yourself the truth and letting the fire of insight burn away the past is transformational. It’s courageous work to allow the narrative of identity attached to the story, go.
One practice that has scaffolded my psyche on the mat as well as when guiding yin yoga is called the Three Excellences from a Tibetan Buddhist lineage. They underpin most endeavours in my life.
- How we show up to our mat, meditation or practice.
- How we engage with the practice itself.
- How we close our practice.
Put simply, I am intentional with my dedication, showing up the best way I can for myself and the students who come to classes & workshops.
Be devoted in a way that transcends the physical and brings you closer to that which seeks you. Being excellent at a particular asana is only the first step; what lies beneath the asana is where the jewels are.