Thursday, November 5, 2009
Sometimes the thing you need the most is that which you want the least.
Driving to yoga this morning, after not having been to class in just over a week, I found myself wanting to turn around. The past week or so has been incredibly hectic and uncomfortable for me, and I just didn't know that I could go sit in a quiet room and breathe. I wanted to run (away) but knew that what I needed most was yoga.
The thing about yoga is that it forces you to be present. The practice is more than physical, and has a strong connection to release of emotions. I believe that yoga causes spiritual growth, by focusing on the breath, working through tough poses, finding your edge and meeting it with a strong mind. But that also means that it brings you to face things that you may not want to face.
If you do yoga, you understand what I mean. If you don't, let me attempt to explain.
A backbend is a heart-opening pose. It energizes the body and quickens the breath. When I go into a backbend and I am happy, I feel exhilarated. But when I am feeling sad, it deepens that feeling. Now with the pose and the feeling is the breath comes the quieting of the mind and hold... and the floodgates of emotion open. At least it's that way for me.
When I focus on love, I end up feeling more loving. Today, I chose to focus on strength and being grounded, what I need most right now. This was very difficult. I kept forgetting to breathe, letting my mind wander, wanting to run (away). The only thing that got me to the class, and to stay, was that the woman teaching it is very comforting for me, and I felt that if anyone were to guide me through the class, it would be her. Every time I allowed my heart to open, the rawness of it all just stung, and my eyes would well up with tears.
I kept hoping for very difficult poses, poses that would take my mind off of me and onto my body. After some twists, she began doing some warriors, chair pose, planks, and cobras. And I started to let go. We even did shoulder stands, and held them for a couple of minutes. The rush of blood to my head was overwhelming, and as my feet started to feel numb, and my body started to move uncomfortably towards plow pose, I was thankful for the physical sensation. It took me away from the thoughts that I didn't want to deal with.
By the end of the class, which was quiet save for the grunts of a man in the class (and I was so thankful for those grunts, for a change), we went into corpse pose. I laid there trying to focus on my breath. It was fruitless, but I tried nonetheless. When class ended, I didn't want to leave. I wanted to sit on that mat and let time roll by.
I talked to the teacher about my experience, and afterward I realized that sometimes there's nothing that can take you away from a weeping heart, not even yoga. But, for part of those 90 minutes, my focus took me to my body and away from my mind. Sometimes, the only way to go through something is to just go through it.