“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” -Aesop
We all have heard it, “Yoga is the cure-all for any and everything.” I will be the first to admit, that yoga does indeed help with a lot. It helps with stress, posture, improves cognitive function, helps with sleep, makes you aware of your body, and so on and so forth. It isn’t just the postures, but the mind set that is created while partaking in the practice. However… no one system is perfect. Every individual is different, and sometimes yoga just doesn’t cut it.
I am not bashing yoga in any way, but from my own personal experience, sometimes an hour on that mat just does not make me calm, cool, and collected. Sometimes I feel worse off after a class than I did before. I have to be aware of my body and how I feel, not let my emotions get in the way of my postures and use them as fuel to move through it, and all that breath work stirs up hidden emotions and issues I have been holding onto. Have you ever seen someone cry in the middle of class while doing certain poses? I have and I have also been that person. I have fallen apart on the mat all due to anxiety, fear, hate, pain, and sadness.
The best way to put it is I am like a glass window, people read me really well with what is going on in my head and I am not one to hide my emotions very well at all. Granted, it takes a lot for me to have a full on meltdown or cry in public, but none-the-less, my face tells all. So, what happens when the anxiety monster comes creeping in and I am trying to bang out even a few minutes of practice? Sometimes, nothing…and I can let it go. Other times, I turn into a giant mess and just curl up in a ball mid practice. I guess it is a part of life and we all have something to work on, but lately it has been awful. It is harder for me to pay attention to my body and stay focused for a full practice than it is for me to go for a long walk…so I go for a walk.
It is not that I am ignoring my practice, but actually listening to what my body needs and wants. Some days, I want to do a deep asana practice with lots of bends and folds, other days I only want to go slow and do a few easy postures, and other days I just don’t fool with it at all and just try to do something else that is good for me. Yes, the emotions are still there and I try my best to deal with them, but I do think it is rather foolish for someone to think that yoga is the ONLY thing that can help out. I have met people in the past who have scoffed at my outlook and said, “You should practice more, you aren’t serious, you’re missing something, why would you say such a thing?” Truth is, my practice might indeed be deeper than theirs for that reason, but I am not one to judge. We all have our own path in life, so I am just going to do what feels right for me and let the haters sip on that hater-aid.
So, what is your body telling you? Namaste.