Thursday, May 7, 2015

I Love Yoga, I Resist Yoga, I Love Yoga, I Resist Yoga

Big aha today.

I attend yoga classes, but I usually don't decide to go until thirty minutes or an hour before the class starts.  I procrastinate, big time.  Yet EVERY time I go, I am filled with utter thankfulness that I practiced once again.  I feel strong, centered, calm, clear headed and if it's the advanced class, my body feels like jello, in a good way.  And every time I go, I think why don't I do this every day.

I thought the reason I resisted was because I look at yoga as exercise and that's a dirty word.  I have spent the last years letting go of the diet mentality and diet is a dirty word. Diets don't work and my goal is to learn to listen to my body, and what it is telling me it needs as fuel.  (And healing my soul along the way!) And my body will tell me what it needs.   My therapist said that when you let go of dieting, exercise can go through an overhaul in the thought department too.  I now refer to exercise as movement, because it is more user friendly for me.  And I hear my body calling me to move quite often.

So here's the aha.  While discussing the topic, my good friend asked why do I not see yoga as something good for my body?  She thinks of it like massage.  And I thought, "Well maybe I need to reframe that."  I'm all for reframing my thoughts. Yet, I kept talking trying to explain myself to her.  And as I kept talking, it finally dawned on me why I resist yoga.

Yoga is like therapy.

And therapy is not easy.  It's requires bravery, vulnerability, and experiencing the pain of events that occurred long ago that come up, and yet in the end, even though you're limping, you are so grateful you showed up for it.

The limp does go away.

I go to the yoga mat, and it's quiet. There's nothing in the way.  It's just you, the instructor and your body and your thoughts via your higher power. (And a roomful of people that you learn to ignore because this isn't a competition.)  Your body carries residual emotions from times gone by.  These are things that you unconsciously shoved down because they were too much to experience at the time.   Dr. Christiane Northrup told Oprah in an interview that:  "shame produces small amounts of an inflammatory chemical called IL6 that lodges in your body and lives in the fascia - the connective tissue. The fascia holds our belief system into place so when you do yoga or massage (something with resistance flexibility) you are releasing that (inflammation) - you are getting new life in the connective tissues."

And isn't inflammation the building block of diseases?

Dr. Northrup goes further: "That is why we have to use our bodies and be with our bodies. Goddesses grieve and rage and move on….You have to feel to heal."

(And yes, Dr. Northrup's new book is "Goddesses Never Age."  Haven't read it but just this snippet is enough to enlighten me for now).

The first time I felt the need to cry in yoga, I had no idea what was going on. This was exercise, you don't cry in exercise?  I wrote about this topic on December 8, 2009, "A Few Tears on the Yoga Mat."  In reading that blog from nearly six years ago I understood this notion of toxicity in our bodies and working it out AND that therapy and yoga were very similar.  Evidently, I needed to revisit this on a deeper level now that I've practice more yoga and more therapy!

I need to reframe yoga.  I have to move away from calling it exercise, although my body benefits.   It is using the body and baring one's self and being quiet and letting all that is lodged and stuck come up.  I need to let myself know, there is no shame in having tears on the yoga mat.  It is in fact the toxic shame coming up which I very much want to release.

(And thankfully it's dark at the end for shavasana anyway, which is when the tears tend to roll.) Not going to worry about what other people think.  This practice is for me.

I'm  so glad that this aha came around to me again.  We will revisit this again in 2021!