Today was a good reminder. A strong and insistent reminder of why I created this website.
Because sometimes I forget the sheer power of Yoga when I am focused on “perfecting” specific Yoga poses.
My latest perfectionist goal is working on opening my shoulders. No big deal right? That’s a very common area to focus on to gain more range of motion. So every day I committed to doing Gomukhasana (cow face pose).
It’s quite easy for me to clasp my hands together when my right shoulder is raised in this pose, but quite difficult on the left side.
The ego fueled high I experience on the right side is short lived after transitioning to the left. I KNOW that I can’t reach my hands together on the left side.
Is it a big deal? No. Can I just keep trying and I’ll get there? Yes. But my ego goddamnit!
And again today, I cannot reach. I stretch and reach aggressively. My neck grows tense. My shoulders are screaming in pain.
And I feel like a failure.
A rush of emotion envelops me. Feelings of inadequacy, of pain, and of sorrow. I have felt these same feelings many times during Cow pose, but never to that degree.
And frankly, I always pushed what feelings did come up down since it seemed so silly. COW pose! Who feels emotional in cow pose? Come on.
But today the strong surge of sadness overwhelmed my whole body. The ability to force the lid closed on my overflowing sadness was over.
So I sat back on my heels and placed my hands over my heart. And felt it all. All of the frustration. And intense grief.
It was painful. Oh that pain. The kind of pain that sits in your stomach and throat intensely needing to leave your body, but doesn’t.
After my emotional meltdown, I launched a full force investigation. How was COW pose able to invoke such a strong reaction? Is there something I’m missing about this farm animal?
And indeed I did miss an important detail. Cows are very sacred to Hindus. You know, Hindus, the culture that brought us Yoga! Cows represent wealth, protection, nourishment, peace, and provision.
But the real kicker is that cows are the symbol for mothers. Mother Earth (Prithvi Ma). Life is sustained and provided through this animal.
And now this all makes sense. I recently lost my mother. The person who nourished and grounded me is gone.
Was there further analytical analysis that needed to occur? Nope! The West feels that everything needs to be over-analyzed and the root cause dissected. And then weeded out to never be felt again. But has that honestly helped anyone?
I know it never helped me.
Emotions and the release thereof are not necessarily accomplished during a single point in time. “I felt, and dealt with this life experience so now it’s over.”
No. Life is to be felt. Over and over. It is not neatly wrapped up in a therapist’s office. And that’s ok. That’s life. The good and bad felt with the same equanimity.
The loss of my mother will never NOT be painful. And the grieving process will not be rushed. It will always hurt.
The nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach upon the remembrance of her sickness is not easily forgotten.
So sometimes it all comes out. Strangely through COW pose. Who knew that was the reason for my Yoga crying session.
You see Yoga is SO MUCH MORE than bending like a gymnast. It truly has the ability to break you wide open. To open up that safely guarded heart. Behind the scenes, internal shifts are happening during your 60-minute “workout.”
Energy moves to the places that need the most love. Or attention.
You are given a rare opportunity to peek behind the internal curtain. That quick glimpse at your raw heart offers you the chance to heal.
Again “heal” is not meant here as in a “one and done” occurrence.
Rather, after your initial peek behind that internal curtain, take some time to digest. And when you’re ready, peek again. Maybe there is room now for a little understanding or acceptance.
And on your next peek, perhaps the seed of forgiveness can be planted. And so on and so on.
Do you notice the difference? There are patience and kindness found here versus hurried fixing. There is the recognition that we are human. And fragile to a certain extent. We are not robots.
Our goal is not to find the “malfunction” or “bug” and fix it as soon as possible. Oh no. There is relationship with self found here.
There is love in the peeking. Beautiful and restorative self-love. A love in the gradual unfolding of all the hidden secrets of the heart.
You as much as anyone in this entire world are WORTHY of this process.