Yoga teacher during class of heart opening poses: ” I see someone in Savasana.” Goes over to student. “Are you feeling all right?”
Student resting in savasana with knees bent: “Not particularly.”
Teacher: “What’s going on?”
Student: “I feel like crying.”
Welcome to yoga.
Yoga is about embracing all that is and everything includes difficult emotions like sadness, anger, and fear. The breadth of human experience involves a tapestry of hues, none better than the other. The only constant is change, which provides perspective during both the peaks and the valleys. This too shall pass.
In yoga philosophy, it is said that we are already in a state of union with spirit, that is, freedom from worldly attachments (ego and mind-based) and from identification with our physical bodies. We forget this when we are born. Our lives provide circumstances and opportunities to remember who we really are, at our essence, by letting go of all that which blocks the knowing of our true nature. This can be a tumultuous process!
Being in pain of any type can be such a block and speaking personally, I know it can contribute to a cranky mood, impatience and fatigue. The physical practices of asanas and the breathwork of pranayama, indeed all of the yoga techniques are designed to reduce suffering and create inner alignment, both structurally, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. Recently I attended a Yoga for Scoliosis and the Nervous System workshop that facilitated deep healing and opening for my body, mind and spirit. Noticeable reduction in my scoliosis on the physical level translated to more energy from greater capacity to breathe, better posture, and less internal strain, offering me easier access to a light heart. Deborah Wolk, the teacher of this workshop, said “If people are in less pain, they are nicer people – nicer to themselves, to each other, to animals and to the planet.” This is how yoga works and I encourage you to keep up your practice during the summer months. This may be in the form of being mindful while lake swimming or observing your breath while cycling or allowing yourself to have a meltdown and cry. However you spend this time of fire and water, may you be happy, peaceful and well.