Last night’s yoga class got pretty intense. Let me start off by saying that I am someone who often holds back emotion. Ok pretty much all the time I hold back emotion. Yoga is supposed to help you free all that built up emotion and move your emotional blocks so that your energy can flow freely. I can’t say I had a huge break through, but there was a little nudge.
It all happened in a pose called Camel or Ustrasana.
This pose is a heart opener and for those of us who keep our hearts under serious lock and key, it can make us feel quite vulnerable. Lisa was filling in for Phillip at Salt Pond Yoga (she was fantastic) and she came over to adjust my position in this pose, pulling my chest forward and cracking my heart open. Talk about feeling vulnerable, my instincts were screaming at me to get the hell out of this crazy contortion and protect my heart…emotionally and physically. I kept myself in it, though it wasn’t pleasant and for the rest of the class, and last night, I felt on the verge of tears. Being the tough chick that I am (ha!) I kept myself from crying and pushed through the rest of class.
At the end of class I talked to Lisa about it. She said it’s a great class if you feel comfortable enough to cry, other people have cried before, she’s cried before, she said. Are you kidding? I don’t cry when I’m by myself, let alone in a roomful of sweaty, grunting people. And then she said something that really struck me. “You don’t have to have it all together.” “If I said I have it all together, it’d be a lie” she admitted. I was astonished. Here is this woman, years ahead of me in her yoga practice , seeming as though she’s got the inner peace thing down and she has the strength to admit that she doesn’t. Beautiful.
I’m learning that being strong often means being open to pain. Being strong means being able to set your strength aside and allow everything in, even if it could hurt. Being strong means feeling the hurt and moving on, not pushing it away. Being strong is being able to admit that you don’t have it all together and you’re still learning, a lot. These are all extremely difficult things, not just for me, but for everyone. We have a skewed view of strength and often see it as being able to muscle through things. Yoga teaches otherwise, and I dig it.