We all return to our yoga mats for entirely different reasons, although it seems the outcome we desire is nearly always the same: peace, serenity and flexibility of both mind and body.
As we all know, from new yogis to world renowned gurus, it is not uncommon to have resistance when we are on the mat, sometimes because of the chitter-chatter in our relentless monkey minds, other times a challenging asana may cause frustration, but sometimes, the resistance is no mere frustration, but instead an absolute meltdown.
There were tears, not silent and ethereal tears gliding effortlessly down my serene face, but body shaking, face contorting sobs. To borrow a phrase from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love adventures, I was “Double Pumping It” on the mat in class, while others lay in Shavasana trying to relax.
There was no hiding from it, especially when the snotty snorts and sniffles were coming from my direction in the most silent and sacred part of the practise, but isn’t that the absolute truth? There is no hiding from unresolved emotions, unresolved fears and unresolved messy life situations. And if we do not deal with them at the time, you can bet your favourite deity, they will reappear at any time, and in my case, that time was on the mat.
The Art of Yogic Teaching
“The best teachers show you where to look but not what to see,” Alexandra K. Trenfor said, and this is never more true than with your chosen yogi, but they go a step further. They metaphorically stand by your side as they guide you, inspiring your own thoughts, emotions and revelations, with a kind of warming compassion. A good yogi will encourage you to look inside yourself, a great yogi will literally be by your side, on their knees, with a man sized box of Kleenex in one hand, your blocked chakras in the other.
The Art of Yogic Practice
So, our role as a student is to be mindful of ourselves, whilst continuing to be kind to our physical and emotional body. Yoga is about breath, about release, so instead of resisting my tears and thoughts, I dove straight on into them, lapping up every painful emotion the visualisation encouraged me to face.
I felt it completely, like a surround sound, ultra high definition, 4D experience. I relived memories with gut wrenching pain, explored unresolved questions with heart rendering honesty and as I slowly began to wiggle my fingers and toes, bringing me back into my body, I opened my tear soaked, red rimmed eyes with a new clarity, a clearer understanding of myself and utter relief—that I had released my suppressed emotions.
The Art of Receiving
In life, we seem to struggle with receiving, whether the gift be a compliment, an encouragement or a physical gift. It seemed in my yoga mat meltdown, I openly received my experience and allowed myself love, as in, I allowed myself to love me, completely, compassionately and honestly.
But do you want to know the strangest thing? As I left my yoga studio I saw a sign (I love signs!) right outside on the sidewalk in front of my feet in the pouring down stormy rain, it was a stunningly beautiful, single burgundy rose, which I openly received, as a gift from the Universe. Incidentally, a burgundy rose is a sign for unconscious love.
I smiled ironically, that the love was always there, always inside me, I just needed a yoga mat meltdown to realise it.
So embrace the meltdown, embrace the mat and embrace the awesome awesomeness that lives inside of you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Harold Bonacquist/Pixoto