Monday, June 2, 2014

Yoga and Tears

Last week was tough. Saturday morning my husband and I went to yoga class together. I was struggling with sadness, low self-esteem, worthlessness. All the classic signs that summer is upon me.

He introduced me to the teacher when we got there, and I told her I have PTSD so if she was planning on touching me during savasana to please whisper to me beforehand. She agreed.

I organized myself in the back of the room. The class was quite full, but everyone was chatty and pleasant. Looking around the room I could tell that all levels of skill were present. Val started the class and I could tell right away I was going to like her style. And she played good music.

I got absorbed in the poses. Successful in most of them. My body remembering asanas I hadn't done in a long time. Slowly we moved into savasana -- final relaxation. I always joke and say that this is the reason I do yoga. That 5 minutes of total relaxation is bliss.

This time I knew she was coming around to offer soothing touching. I crave it, but I fear it as well. I heard her step next to me as she bent over to soothe my neighbor. Shortly after that she whispered in my ear, "I'm here", and moved to my feet. She rubbed and massaged them, and I felt the tears. I fought hard to suppress them. I don't know why. A knee-jerk reaction, I suppose. How do I explain tears from a foot massage?

She moved on to the next person, and I continued to fight the tears and question them. Why am I crying? Is this just attention seeking? What is wrong with me?

After a few final stretches, class ended and I, keeping my head down to hide the tears, packed up my gear. My husband came to check on me. I apologized. He asked why I was apologizing. Our usual dance. He left to gather his gear.

A couple of others in the class checked on me. I tried to assure them I would be fine. They offered comments and support -- but I didn't want to to explain the specifics to these kind strangers.

Val came and hugged me. She invited me back to class. 

I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. I love the way my body feels during and after class. I love that I connect with my body -- recognizing skill and power and strength. But I never know when all that peace, quiet, and relaxation will open the door to the feelings that stay just below the surface in my brain. I know it's good to release the salty tears, just as it's good to release the salty sweat -- but it seems less acceptable.

But I find myself craving that release again this morning. And I am reminded of a quote --
The cure for anything is salt water….sweat, tears or the sea.”

~ Isak Dinesen, pseudonym of Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke

1 comment:

  1. Ooh I like that quote. I can see how yoga would bring tears. For so long you have disconnected mind and body...then to connect them and have affirming positive touch during the connection makes sense that tears would come.


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