It’s not unusual for someone to cry or laugh or have emotional outbursts during a yoga class. When we stir up our body’s energy and we shuffle things around we sometimes uncover something that we ate thirty years ago and didn’t ever fully digest. Some trauma or repressed incident, some hurt or shame or sadness. These are all part of our internal landscape we accumulate as we live our life burying pain, shoving it deep down where even we can’t find it. Sometimes this rising of emotion comes as a surprise, like a rip tide, sometimes we know it is there and if we let ourselves go we worry that we won’t ever come back to ourselves again.
Frustration, anger, resentment, self doubt all build up within us creating habits of dullness, avoidance, lethargy, laziness or a feeling of being stuck in a rut. These coping mechanisms show up when we surf the internet for hours or sit in front of the tv mindlessly. They show up when we overeat or don’t sleep. They visit us in every form of avoidance just so we don’t have to deal with what is in front of us. The seem to work. The watching tv seems to take our mind off our problems. The net surfing makes us forget our deadline or relationship issues. The over eating or drinking dulls our life to a monochrome shade.
When I teach I often say, just sit with that and see how it feels. How do you feel now, or now? What does that feel like in your body? When we learn to connect with ourselves in this way we are confronted with all our stuff. We are forced to face it and look at it. This is not easy for us because we would rather avoid than view our own misery. We would rather not have a reminder of our pain or where we have failed. Just give us the nice sugary sweet stuff please.
The good news is this. When we sit with what is, when we give ourselves connection to ourselves as opposed to avoiding ourselves we start to really believe in ourselves again. The reason we have self doubt, fear or pain is because somewhere along the line we avoided ourselves. When you look at yourself fully and then get out of your own way you will become confident, alive and ultimately happier.
Practice for today: The belly is where we store a lot of our battles. If you feel like there is something that you still haven’t digested try the practice of Agni Sara to churn it all up and out.
The Way is perfect like vast space where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
-An excerpt from Hsin Hsin Ming on Believing in Mind