Today was the first time I’ve ever cried in a yoga class.
After listening to my teachers, Melanie Salvatore-August and Mynx Inatsugu, talk of the rinsing and cleansing effects of yoga I’d come to a cognitive understanding of the concept, but knew it would take true experience to really understand. The clearing out of what hides beneath the surface—in our muscles, joints and minds—is said to burst forth at some point during our practice in the form of tears (or laughs or hiccups, whatever works). I knew it was only a matter of time before my turn would come. Hence this morning, as the tears welled up in my eyes after bottling up for who knows how long, I thought to myself: Here we go…Game on.
Sometimes you’ve just gotta feel it out.
Perhaps the most vulnerable and brave thing a human being can do is to share their vulnerability in the presence of others.
It’s in direct opposition to our society, which so often emphasizes the hiding of our faults—fears—low points and presenting an upbeat, positive facade to the world each day. We’ve all encountered the classic situation: someone asks you how you’re doing and you respond, “Great!” When really, your relationship just ended…your dog ran away and you just spilled coffee all over yourself and the car seat. Suffering is an undeniable part of each human journey through life. This world we live in plays out in a delicate balance of opposites (happy—sad; positive—negative; good—bad). Yet we often end up hiding away particular parts of ourselves in favor of the more desirable ones.
Alas, in a moment of overwhelm a week or so ago I reached a breaking point. I asked the Universe/God/Spirit___[fill in the blank] to support me in the journey; to show me the way as they say…And Voila! Here I was a week later with tears streaming down my face amid a room full of beautiful, sweaty, strong yogis (in the front row no less). It reminds me of the classic adage: Ask and you shall receive. Ask I did…and there I was, arms open wide in our 7th (8th? 9th? 20th?) Utkatasana (Chair Pose) ready to receive when Mel uttered:
“Feel the resistance. Move into it. Love it. Make yourself comfy. Then soften into the resistance and release. Let it flow out of you with the exhale.”
It occurred to me in that moment (amidst quite possibly the sweatiest yoga class of all time) what exactly it is I’m doing here in this life. After months (years even) of personal struggle—struggle to find my purpose, to feel safe and secure in my skin, to share my true self with others–-it finally clicked. The best (albeit ironic and humorous) part of it all is that it’s been there the whole time. It’s not something I had to go out and purchase at Target on sale for $19.95. I’ve had it in my toolbox the whole time. It was just hiding; waiting for me to clear out all the extra hullabaloo and see the light. Straightening our legs into Tadasana (Mountain Pose) Mel continued:
“We are taking a stand, literally. A stand for what is, for the power of the heart, the power of love, the power of vulnerability, the power to sit with ourselves through every moment of struggle and love through it all.”
This journey we’re all on is an imperfect one, the nature of it all is change. And yet, it occurred to me that there is one thing I can do in every moment: Be true to my self. This is a self that is ready to love, ready to shine, ready to be extraordinary and inspire other towards the extraordinary in themselves—because you are all (whether you know it or not) extraordinary.
And really, what else is there? Everything is love.
We tend to forget this along the road at times, but ultimately there is nothing else. All of us (human beings) thrown together on one planet in our infinite manifestations to learn how to be together. How to communicate without judgement or attachment and how to lift each other towards love. My purpose (the one that came to me mid-throbbing quad muscles) is to lift this vibration. To be the vibration when no one else can be. To be vulnerable and open, creating a safe place for others ready to do the same. To keep eyes open, looking forward, because you can only see the love if you’re looking. There are plenty of things to do in this life…And do I shall! I’m a being of light in a human body; hungry for experience. I don’t expect that to change any time soon. But this is my common thread—what ties it all together.
You just have to lift your head, open your heart, take a deep breath and let it flow through you.
Kelsey lives, writes and practices yoga in the beautiful Napa Valley, CA. Currently enrolled in the 200hr Yoga Teacher Training program at YogaWorks in Walnut Creek, she will embark on her new adventure as a yoga teacher in June 2013. In the meantime she can be found pouring wine at one of Napa’s most prestigious wineries, while pursuing writing and as much French cheese as possible on the side. Visit her website @ kelseyfrazier.com for more info!
Like elephant journal on Facebook.
Assistant Ed: Dusty Ranft/Ed: Kate Bartolotta