This morning I attended a two-hour long gentle, hatha yoga class and I walked out of it in an absolutely wretched mood.
I’m still kind of in a wretched mood to be honest, even after my sweet husband made me lunch and we went for a long hike on this gorgeously sunny day. Lame-o.
So what’s the deal?
Aren’t you supposed to be all calm and blissful after yoga? Isn’t yoga supposed to make you happy?
In the long run, my consistent practice of yoga has helped me become a more grounded, well-rounded, peaceful and healthier person. My practice helps me grow and learn about myself and through this I have found more joy and love in my life. Yippee!
But… sometimes the practice of yoga makes me feel like a big piece of poo.
That can be the case if my ego/fear-based self gets in the way (“I suck at this pose”, “I’m too fat”, “I hate how hard this is”, “Why can’t I be like her”, “I’ll probably never-ever be good at that”….blah blah blah, you get the picture). Or sometimes it’s because I practice with a teacher whose style just doesn’t jive with mine. Other occasions I’ve left a class in a bad mood because something the instructor said or did triggered anger/resentment/judgement/feelings of inadequacy in me. I can see that those emotions are mine and that it’s not the teacher that’s bugging me per se, but rather, my own unresolved issues. Those are good learning experiences, even if they are unpleasant.
But there’s another reason – a bigger reason – that it’s possible to finish a yoga practice and feel messy inside – Bountiful energy is brought up by the practice of asanas and pranayama directly. As we move our bodies and practice controlling our breath and bandhas, things shift inside on many levels – physically, spiritually, energetically, emotionally, you name it.
Our bodies hold onto emotions and experiences. We are energetic beings. Our emotions affect our physiology in outright and subtle manifestations.
Yoga practice moves prana, energy, in our bodies in a powerful way. It can unlock blockages you didn’t even know you had.
I remember once Thad and I did an afternoon workshop with Kino all about mula-bandha. After sitting and squeezing the root lock so intensely for two hours straight, you can bet we sure had some serious emotional baggage come up!
Both of us experienced feelings of anger, irritation, unease and restlessness. From the outside, we were all sitting still in this class. But inside, deep potent work and exploration was occurring and this definitely stirred the pot of the root chakra and thus we felt all these strong emotions afterwards.
I guess I’m writing all this to say – If you leave yoga and you want to scream and cry, don’t worry. You are fine just the way you are. In fact, you are probably doing something right. Now is the time to accept where you are, examine what you can about the experience, take responsibility for what is yours and then move on.
Don’t let it drag on throughout the day though (like I did today). Instead, give thanks for the blessed experience given to you to learn about yourself and maybe clear up some old sh*t. Yoga practice is not linear and neither are emotions.
And this too shall pass….
Love and Blessings,