The Discomfort Of A Yoga Pose: It’s More Than Physical
Yoga Heals on Many Levels
Everyone experiences yoga differently, but what we all have in common is the experience itself.
It happens to every student and every teacher.
Yoga, over time, becomes more than a series of poses that move our bodies. It becomes an opportunity for self-study: physical and otherwise.
The first time I experienced this was in Pigeon pose, an intense hip opener.
My teacher kindly guided the class into the posture, reminding us to listen to our bodies and be mindful. I knew she liked to hold poses for several breaths, and Pigeon was no exception.
I know now that there is a good reason for that.
Pigeon is difficult for a reason, and it has so much more to do with our feelings, emotions, and internal baggage than it has to do with our hips.
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A Natural Release
I gently lowered down, breathing deeply to release the overwhelming sensation that was hitting me like a ton of bricks, and then I cried.
Tears started rolling down, and I had no idea why. With each exhale, a new emotion emerged and more tears came. Naturally, I tried to hold them back, but I am glad that I had a teacher who understood and welcomed this release.
Throughout our life, we experience hits — emotional, physical (although I hope not), mental, and even spiritual. Our memory may not always serve us well, but our bodies carry every argument, bad word, insult, and loss.
The kinks we feel in our shoulders or our back are epicenters of what we’ve held onto, but we treat them like any other bodily symptom of sitting at a computer or hunched over our phones and tablets.
They are more than that, and yoga helps us see why.
As I laid in Pigeon, trying to control my tears and praying that the teacher bring us out already, I held onto a judgmental presumption: I’m just not that flexible yet.
Unfortunately, this same thought runs through each and every one of us, until we push our bodies over our edge, thinking that more practice and deeper bends will get us to where we’re supposed to go in yoga.
Letting Go of the Past
Growing up, I had a rough childhood.
I saw my hometown bombed and I saw countless people leave their homes in a war-stricken disaster that had no reason to occur.
I also spent years by my parents’ side, serving as their second-language English translator, carrying a burden of trying to start over.
As a child, that’s a heavy load to bear.
Over the years and into adulthood, fears of not being helpful enough plagued me, and I spent more time than I had with others, sacrificing, giving, and expecting a reciprocation that never truly satisfied me.
Crying in Pigeon that day served and continues to serve as a reminder that we all have baggage.
It is emotional and mental and hard. It pulls us down like an anchor and prevents us from being the pure, loving, and free souls that we are.
It manifests in our physical bodies, but it’s not permanent. We can let it go, and that’s why crying helps. Never feel weird or uncomfortable releasing your emotions in any yoga pose. Our practice is there as a mirror, showing us to ourselves.
Next time you find yourself in a difficult pose, don’t assume that you’re not flexible or strong enough. Allow the emotions of that pose to come through. Sit with them. Let them in, and then slowly, mindfully, beautifully, let them go.
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