Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day 15: Feelings, whoa whoa whoa Feelings….

Last week, in the middle of one of her classes during the savasana (the rest in the middle for 2 glorious minutes), Emmy said how in Week 3, our nervous systems were really going to start to let loose. She (like many teachers) encouraged us to just let it happen – and that it will look different for each of us in terms of intensity, and physical reaction. Some will have muscle twitches or oddness in our bodies. And some of us will cry, sob, and have really huge emotional releases. Well, within minutes someone a few mats over was crying hard. They kept going and working through the whole floor series just sobbing and crying. What’s interesting to me is that in Week 1, Rajashree gave similar “permission” to let it out at the end of a class, and the girl next to me did a similar thing – just broke down and let it all out.

It’s interesting that sometimes, all we need is permission to have our feelings, and in this environment, there is a crazy momentum that will not let you NOT have them. That is to say, what many people I’ve talked with are experiencing is an overwhelming, unstoppable wave of feelings that are bubbling up and all over them. For some it’s sadness, but for many it’s anger. Ah, anger. The most uncomfortable, scary, seemingly-socially-unacceptable expression of emotion that we all try to bottle up, both for the sake of others (ouch, it hurts!) and for our own sake (ouch, it really, really hurts!). Most of us are conditioned that anger is simply not ok; and here, it’s interesting to explore the resulting fear of it we’ve developed as a result of suppressing, hiding and avoiding our anger. Anger, really, is just another word for pain in most cases – and we all fear feeling pain, because, like a full minute of 2nd set of Awkward pose, it really f’ing hurts. And who wants to hurt?

So much of what is said here, repeatedly and relentlessly, is that when you encounter discomfort, choose to sit in it; observe it; let it exist and flow and be with it, accept it, and then watch it fade away as you keep moving on through life – knowing that you can have that pain and it will end and you will move on, and most importantly, you will be ok.

It’s amazing how yoga is a metaphor for “real” life. For example, Luke said the other day after one of the more intense postures, “Ok, wait – don’t grab your water. Just let your self be uncomfortable without reaching for the first thing that could relieve the feeling. Just sit with it, don’t let it own you. Overcome it.” And back in life off the yoga mat, we do this all the time. Smooth over this and that, ignore feelings, pacify ourselves with all sorts of crutches from (in my case) food, to, uh, food, and well, food – but also distractions galore – my laptop, the tv, music, keeping myself over-busy, doing for others to avoid doing for myself, the list goes on. This feels like a lecture I’ve attended a few hundred times before, but every time it’s revisited, it sinks in a little more, I’m reminded a little more to actually implement this concept (because, uh, forgetting is another great defense mechanism!). Not to be clichĂ©, but it is a process, and it’s about the journey not the destination. So, here’s to the path of sitting in discomfort, pain, anger, having my feelings and not fearing them, while also not letting them own me. I’ll uh, let’cha know how it goes. I’ll throw out a pre-emptive “ouch” as a starting point…

Here's a few pix that didn't make the cut initially, but Jill encouraged me to put up the first one; enlarge it - look at that sweat! It's at the savasana, the teacher was taking a while to talk, so I snapped one. Jill said, "honey, put that on the blog - close up shots like that are so cool!" so while I feel sort of a bit chunky in this pic, it's a good at the same time; a pic of me and Vicky (I really like this one of me). More photos later today!

As Huevos Rancheros (fave weekend breakfast!); the Birds among us; Allyse & Christian; Dinner with (clockwise from lower left...) Allyse, Christian, Tanya (Todd's visiting wife), Todd, Steve & Priscilla (married couple from Australia, though he's American); and Jennifer (she and Todd go to the same studio in Laguna Beach, CA).


Anonymous said...

"It’s amazing how yoga is a metaphor for “real” life."

Ahhh, yes. So very, very true!

I wrote about this same idea at some point in my 30-day challenge---basically saying how much I love my "yoga into life" lessons. Most any major or minor philosophy (even if it's "just breathe") that you learn in a yoga studio transcends into your day-to-day life, if you let it, if you're cognizant, if you're disciplined, in and out of the studio.

Really, that's the beauty of yoga, isn't it? It's more than exercise, more than a work out, more than just stretching. It *is* a way of life, a mindset. So long as we open ourselves to the lessons it can teach---and, more importantly, put those lessons to good use.

As always, the blog is lovely. So enjoying your daily posts! :)


Norah said...

hi Jenn
i am not sure if you are able to answer this (realizing how busy you are at this point), but i am very curious about how you FEEL physically apart from the obvious tiredness and sore muscles.
are there any major changes and improvements you've noticed since the start of this training journey? i mean like stronger tone in your legs/arms? ability to go deeper in certain poses? lock the knee? ;)

anything you can write about, thank you. love the daily posts :)