Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yoga makes me cry.

Sometimes, yoga also makes me want to throw up, but most of the time it makes me cry.  I started taking Dahn Yoga just after I got the osteoarthritis-of-the-knee diagnosis in early February.  My logic went something like “fight a lifestyle disease with a lifestyle change (rarr!)”…so I signed up for yoga.  I’ve managed to attend classes somewhat regularly (1-3x a week) and so far, it’s been a very…interesting…experience.

My initial impressions of Dahn are that it’s largely stretching-oriented rather than “pose” oriented.  We have five posed positions that we do in the second half of each class, but they don’t seem to mirror any of the poses you might typically associate with Yoga (distinct lack of downward dog, for example).  The whole first half of the class is dedicated to stretching, and it’s amazing.  I’m reasonably bendy-stretchy naturally, and the class work has helped me to regain some of the flexibility that too many years at a desk had stolen from me.  The poses are a sneaky core workout (and soooo much better than sit ups); and the meditation at the end generally leaves me feeling relaxed and fairly peaceful.

Except for the parts where I cry.

Twice now I’ve inadvertently attended a “brain vibration” class.  I’ve not fully read the literature on the purpose of brain vibration, although I believe it has to do with energy movement…getting things un-stuck.  There’s a lot of “tapping” involved.  Tonight, we pounded on the top of our head with fists.  We beat our chests while vocalizing a long, low note.  We tapped our lower abdomen and our solar plexus and our shoulders.  We tapped until our fingers tingled and our arms ached.

I cried partly because I’m in pain.  I slept funny last night and I’ve got a pinched nerve in my back that’s preventing me from moving my head properly.  I physically hurt in a variety of places and I haven’t quite figured out why.  The stretches were harder than they should have been tonight.  I made such a face at one point that the (incredibly attentive) instructor came and adjusted me (love her!), trying to reposition my side-bend into something less grimace-y.  My body just had no fluidity to give, so frustration compounded the pain.

But mostly, I think I cried because “brain vibration” seems to work.  The tapping and the vocalizing….the loud swell of the music…the rhythmic head movements … it actually seems to provide some release for all the emotional baggage I’ve pushed down into my muscles. 

Though my emotions are experienced viscerally, they’re stored physically.  My body literally holds on to accumulated emotional energy – particularly those negative emotions that I’ve not given myself time/permission to fully experience.  All the residual “stress” (I hate that word) and fear and sorrow and frustration collect in my muscle tissue, tightening everything up in a giant knot.  When my body finally releases, it makes sure I feel every single emotion on its way out.   And the tears come unbidden and unrelenting…

By the end of class, I was exhausted and stunned...but ever-so-incrementally better.  And even though it hurts like hell (I literally feel bruised in places), I know I’m doing the right thing.  Holding on to emotion has never served me well.  It’s not that I try to hold on to all these feelings…I’ve just needed a good gateway to release.  Dahn yoga appears to be exactly that.

I told the Monkey on the way home that he needed to be a little gentle with me tonight and I tried to explain why.  He suggested that maybe I shouldn’t take the brain vibration class if it’s going to have that effect on me.  He doesn’t like it when I cry…and, truthfully, neither do I... 

...except during yoga.  I’m starting to think it might be ok that yoga makes me cry.

1 comment:

Labelmaker said...

this post touched a nerve. skkg ggg ggg! :)