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Why I Cry At Yoga

by Lynn G.

Each time I go to yoga class another piece of my broken heart gets mended.. It’s sewn together, not tightly mind you, just so there’s a tighter grip at the seam. One more stitch to the tapestry that will never be picture perfect or completely unadulterated. That’s life, it’s messy and there are curveballs that are thrown your way when you weren’t expecting it. The longer you live the messier or more torn your heart becomes, it’s a fact of life. We don’t get younger, we get wiser. Earning your wisdom means going through some pain and being the better for it.

So what’s yoga got to do with it? The physical pain of enduring a difficult posture is analogous to being in and tolerating the pain of a broken heart. Eventually you ultimately submit and surrender. I learned this in probably my fifth or sixth yoga class. It is in the complete surrendering that you finally come through to the other side and find peace within yourself.

I learned that while holding a pose, on the exhalation breath you need to sink, deeper. Deeper than you thought you could. The deeper you go the more you can break through to the other side. One instructor called it “melting” which I thought was perfectly worded. And the funny thing is, the more pain you feel, the closer you become to your break through and feeling good. You feel lighter. You feel stronger, empowered, and more stable. The next time you go to class you can bend or hold the position longer. It’s very much like grief. You must go through it, endure it, honor it, and eventually it will be easier and it will pass. It will always be a part of you but it doesn’t physically hurt as much as before. You get a sense of just how much you can take and when you need a break. You learn to attune to your body and your soul without thinking about it.

My mom passed away two years ago. The first time I encountered my mom in a physical form was during my yoga class about six months after she departed this world. The music playing was a song that somehow reminded me of her, I felt a breeze, yes in hot vinyasa flow, and someone touch my leg. I was lying on my stomach, getting ready for Dhanurasana or bow pulling pose. I thought it was the teacher touching me but no one was physically there. The teacher was on the other side of the room. Instantly, I knew it was my mother, sending me a touch of love and presence I hadn’t felt since her passing. It was like a thunderbolt of touch. To actually feel her I needed to open my heart and submit physically and emotionally to my soul. I just smiled and hot tears fell down my face. It was she. She was telling me to let go. Surrender. All is okay. Where I am and what I am doing is exactly where I need to be right now. It was overpowering love.

The yoga mat is the only place where I can get physical and emotional without any mental energy or thought utilized. It rips away any egocentric thought. No one wears makeup, you sweat from body parts you didn’t even know could produce sweat, and no one really cares what you or the person next to you is doing. Everyone on their mats are there for a reason: some for exercise, flexibility, health reasons, some so they don’t go absolutely insane, some to open their mind and hearts. Some go for a little of all. I belong to the absolutely insane without it group.

If I didn’t practice yoga I don’t know how I would have gotten through the past two years of extremely difficult times. It is the only time in my day that is complete peace. Work, sweat, tears, joy…without thinking at all. I love that there is no thought at all. Only about doing your personal best, surrendering to your body and its’ beauty and its’ limitations. You learn to listen to your body and your soul. I think the body and soul are interconnected. Yoga is the only practice I have encountered that draws you so intimately into yourself that you have no choice but to love yourself and all your flaws. It is the practice of living in the moment, of being grateful for being alive and able to move, it is humbling and real. For if we never try, we never take a chance to feel some uncomfort or pain, we will never truly feel joy.

The one thing I know is true is that yoga grounds you completely. Whatever else happens after my morning class I can handle. Whether it be five dirty boys in my new car after lacrosse practice, an ailing parent, an emotional upheaval from my teenage daughter, the dogs getting out of the yard again, a dirty house, dirty laundry, no dinner ready, unanswered email and voice messages, it’s all okay. (Except I do make sure to wash my yoga mat and towel every day!) Everything is happening exactly as it should. I did my yoga and I am well, I am whole, I am strong, I am centered and exactly where I need to be.

So go through it, breathe deep, sink harder than you thought possible, melt into the pose. The lessons in yoga will help you navigate the important lessons in your life. Nothing is too much to handle. You are stronger than you think. Go further. Rest in your shivansana (corpse pose or total relaxation at the end of every class) and know you earned it. You are alive. You can move, you can feel, you can heal. That’s what gives me joy. That’s why I cry in yoga.


Lynn G.:)

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