By Adrienne Boland
“Nowhere can a man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul: -Marcus Aurelius
Why do we attend yoga? Is it for physical growth, mental strength, or that longing for a connection to our mind, body, and soul? Everyone has a different reason for rolling out your mat, whether it be within your home or at your local studio. We all come to the mat carrying emotions and feelings both positive and negative. We come to calm the vibrations that may cause anxiety, grief, guilt, sadness and create a flow of mind and body that leaves us with the “yoga buzz,” a feeling almost orgasmic in nature. The buzz can be caused from the stress to the physical body or maybe it is because of the emotional release and clarity that is achieved by just surrendering yourself to your mat, your teacher, and yourself.
The vulnerability that comes with that initial placement of the toes on your mat is always the hardest part. You have made the choice to let your mind and body flow, struggle and find clarity even if only for a moment during savasana when you truly relax and find peace. Sometimes tears come while practicing asana or while in meditation exercises. I found yoga in a time in my life where chaos was present every day. I was unhappy with my job and had decided to make a great change by moving to another state to become a yoga teacher and start over. Most did not understand my decision to leave a well paying job with the government to find happiness in life that I knew existed… I had tasted it before and needed to feel it again to be whole. Coming to my mat was intense. The stress that I was carrying in my joints and muscles was being released with the toxins that had been confined for so long. Some of my tears came from the poses known to release emotions and create vulnerability, the twists, hip and heart openers, some came from my meditations, but most came from the feeling of freedom.
The great thing about crying on your mat is that others are doing it too, the teacher has done it, and maybe silently the person next to you feels it too. The great gift of yoga is the energy of community and the independence to share who you truly are among strangers or friends. The oneness you can feel with yourself. Sometimes you just need to cry… period. That build up of emotions that has been released only creates freedom and openness to tackle that obstacle, let go of a grudge or just relax. How good do you feel after a great cry? Totally uninhibited and free? I sure do, once you release the negativity from your body you can feel it in your mind and transfer it to your life. You can walk into your next interaction with a new confidence to tackle anything.
Crying on the mat… should you do it? Heck yes! I am not saying bring all of your problems to the mat and cry every class in lieu of consulting a counseling professional; however if it happens after a class of heart openers and twists, then embrace it. Let it happen because keeping it bottled up only fuels the fire instead of releasing the flood gates to move forward and bring peace to the chaos we all experience.
Keep up with a regular yoga practice either at the studio or at home. The more we practice mindfulness and keep that negativity out of our mind and body the better we can focus on happiness.
If you find that something is causing these negative emotions try to change your life. Some things are harder than others but think about what you want and need and what can be eliminated to create a better, more complete you!
Talk to your instructor if you are having a particularly bad day and maybe they can offer you some ideas on how to improvise your poses to contribute to your healing during practice and at home.
Let er’ rip, you will feel better once you have a good cry and you won’t worry about being emotional in class anymore because that first cry is over with.
If you need to leave the room to collect yourself, do so, it is ok to take some time to breathe and then return to class if your mind and emotions allow.
Above all don’t be embarrassed, it has happened to all of us at some point. Embrace it and utilize the therapeutic benefits of being in a peaceful space that allows for non-judgment of such things. That is the great thing about yoga, just be who you are with no inhibitions and love yourself for what you are.