Reading “The Body keeps the Score” reminds me how much we store in our bodies, and having a massage the other day I remembered and was amazed at how much pain our bodies can store.
Our bodies are great friends to us, absorbing as much as they can so we can continue to function in our busy lives.
No wonder, then, that as we start to open our bodies and release some of the physical pain we feel emotional pain as well.
So what to do? As yogis, this is what we’ve signed up for, opening our bodies and our minds to find greater freedom. So how do we cope when we open a can of worms, or the feelings that arise are not comfortable at all?
I’ve learnt that the best thing I can do, rather than being ashamed of feeling down, or trying to push it away and say I shouldn’t be feeling this way, is to simply accept the feeling, whatever it is, soften to it and breathe it in.
All feelings are good, all feelings are valid, they are all proof that we are alive and can in fact feel.
To simply lie in savasana with a folded blanket across our back ribs and breathe the sadness, depression, fear, anger, joy, despair in, let it be there fully and then breathe it out seems to allow it to be recognised and move on.
The poet Rillke advocated accepting our depressions and sadnesses, saying that they contained the seeds of our future creativity, growth and happiness.
We are forever evolving, learning, changing and the downs are just as much a part of the learning as the ups.
The more we’re able to be comfortable with unhappiness, and recognise it as a natural part of the human condition, the more equipped we are as yogis to continue the process of opening and peeling back the layers of whatever is getting in our way.
And if we are dealing with past traumas and hurts, opening our bodies with asanas and breathing improves our vagal tone and helps us to restore congruency, integration and a sense of wholeness, ease, happiness and health.
Sometimes, when it’s working, yoga doesn’t always make us feel good. It’s good to know, when uncomfortable feelings come up, that it is part of the process, it will pass, and we have ways of dealing with those feelings so that we can come to the mat with enthusiasm again the next day!