Between doing far more yoga than I have in a long, long time (humbling to admit since I am a teacher) and the sitting on the floor for lecture for hours at a time, my body was depleted after three days of a yoga certification weekend. The 7 a.m. yoga practice came way too early and felt far more stiff than that which brings me joy. My intention was to be present in each moment. A lofty goal, considering the context of my body and mind at that moment.
The practice was a struggle, with each moment leading more into the awareness of where I am now and how I came to this place of tightness, discomfort, even disease (read dis-ease). Many adjustments had to be made and a surrendering away from judgment and shifting into a simple observation, awareness, and inspired action to return to the breath, find spaciousness, and honor my bodies. Yes, bodies.
Though it's a closed loop system that contains he physical body, mind, and emotions, we often live as if they are separate. We repress emotions every time we judge them based on the virtues of right and wrong, good and bad. Healthy is the ability to ingest, digest, and eliminate -- literally and figuratively -- from food to information and emotions. If you don't eliminate what you digest, toxins build up and you feel quite lousy. It affects the body and the mind. What you resist will persist. The mind will play it over and over, attracting lots of fabulous opportunities to right the process. Meanwhile, the body, trying to hold all of this begins to manifest the internal externally through pain and disease.
Eliminating or "letting it go" is so simple to say, but so challenging to do. From the perspective of what we eat, if you don't digest what is ingested, a. you won't reap the nutrients your body needs, b. it probably won't feel so great coming out, if you know what I mean. In terms of information or emotions, after ingesting, you give it meaning during the digestion. What if you look at the information or situation from a neutral viewpoint -- just the facts. For example, a breakup happens and you're hurt. You may even vilify your former partner for the actions that caused the breakup. But what's really under the hurt? Is there a fear of starting over or being alone? Have you lost a piece of your identity having wrapped it around the relationship? Have you attached your value or worth to the relationship and now are questioning it? Is there a deeper hurt from long ago being triggered?
So much can go into the meaning you've created around the situation. When you look at it from fresh eyes, did someone really hurt you or are you judging yourself and projecting it outward? How long do you need to feel the pain before you make the shift back into a more authentic, whole version of you? And if you're getting courageously honest with yourself, what does this emotional charge potentially get you? Nelson Mandela said, "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." Holding judgment, resentment, even hatred in hopes that they other person will hurt as much as you do is truly punishing yourself. When you're hurting, often the people who love you will try comfort and encourage you. Ultimately, in your hurting, you're wanting love. What if you gave love to yourself rather than seeking it outside of yourself?
Self-love and self-compassion is where I played on the mat at 7 a.m. Returning gently to present moment, time and again, as I honored all the bodies. Exploring what is it there, what else is being stored, what have I given meaning to and where am I lying and projecting to avoid self-care. Yoga is a practice, one that helps us live more balanced, flexible, and strong off the mat. Some days are easier than others, for sure. The trick is to keep showing up, softening, and practicing the art of yoga.