I cry during yoga. The first time it happened was the first time I went to a yoga class in my latest attempt to bring a regular practice into my life. When we settled in for shavasana, the lying pose at the end focused on relaxation, the teacher talked about gratitude for the chance to practice yoga, and being aware of what we could let go as we sunk our backs deeper into the floor, scanning our bodies for any places that still needed to release tension. I felt a surge of tears rise and then quickly subside. What was I letting go?
Then it happened again a couple of yoga classes later, and this week it’s happened every time I’ve gone. Thankfully, that’s been a lot. I’ve been telling myself I should start practicing yoga for almost a decade, and lately I seem to be doing just that. I’ve been to yoga three times this week and am enjoying it and looking forward to it so much I’m hoping it’s going to flow right into being a regular part of my life. Finally.
Today the teacher had us begin in crocodile pose, face down on our mats, our heads resting on our hands. She wanted us to be able to feel our breath fill our bellies, pushing against the floor. What I felt were tears rising again. “We carry stories in our bodies,” the teacher said as we settled into an awareness of our breath. “If we can make the stories not personal, if we can leave the drama and hurt that might go with the stories behind, we can work on accepting where our bodies are right now.”
Is it finally sitting still with mindfulness that’s letting some sadness rise to the surface for me? Is it the practice of yoga itself, with its focus on the balance of mind, body and spirit, that’s pulling an unbalanced part of my mind and spirit back into a softer place?
The sun has been riding through the wall of gray storm clouds to the south all morning, sinking into a hint of light then brightening again into a broad halo. By late afternoon it should be snowing and the world will be all gray and white and black. Something is sinker deeper in me right now, or something deeply sunk is rising. Or maybe both, a knot of sadness that’s surfing the stillness I’m cultivating.