Ah, Freak Out?!

Well, hello highly-and-overly-emotional reaction. I’ve been wondering when you might make an appearance on this yoga journey.

Today is Day 6 (which makes Day 8 of being away from home, if my math is correct and chances are, it is not). It is also Monday. So I could rationalize my mental state right now and say, “Oh, I’m tired.” or I could explain that the reality of just starting Week Two (after a really busy Week One and with two more to go after this) finally hit me. Or I could just be honest and say I have no idea why I am feeling so emotional right now.

Our morning was spent learning and practicing anatomy. Whenever we are doing asana labs or discussing the physical practice of yoga, our instructor has people take turns volunteering to come to the mat in the center of room. It helps to see it in bodies, she tells us. And she’s right. It does help us learn what is proper and what is not and to be able to see it in different bodies is key because everyone who walks into a yoga study certainly does not have the same body type. Plus I’m totally a visual learner, so this particular practice is great for me.

Last week, though, I refrained from any such volunteering. Part of that might have been a wee bit of fear of being in front of the rest of my group, part might have been that I wasn’t worried that I was way off in the poses we were discussing (although, in another honest moment? I wish I could have every single pose checked and aligned…that appeals to my Type A-ness very much, thanks). But this morning, Down Dog was on the docket and I totally wanted to jump on that mat and have the magic (YTTs, the magic is everywhere today!) worked on me.

Down Dog is a very basic, very foundational pose in yoga. You do it so often and it moves you into so many other asanas that there is no way to avoid it. For several months now, though, I have been wanting very much to skip past it. Although I can’t for sure pinpoint when/what happened, a while back I did something to my left wrist/thumb that has made DD and other related poses (plank, wild thing, chaturanga, etc.) feel less than awesome. The girls at avani have been working with me to help me with this wonkiness, but it is definitely not gone yet which is why I wanted my instructor this morning, and the other yoga teacher trainers, to look at me.

Scary as it is to get to be the only one on the mat in a room full of people, it felt good to be there. They helped me understand that I need to open more through my shoulders and that my pressure on my hands is not correct (clearly – it was making my fingers turn blue, which is, you know, typically a frowned upon thing). And wouldn’t you know? The pose (and my left side) felt so much better by the time I stepped off the mat to let another “body” give the teaching mat a go.

But as soon as I stepped off, I felt completely flooded with emotion. So much so that I considered leaving the room so I could got have myself a little Moment in the bathroom or dressing room. No actual tears sprung into my eyes, but I felt (and can still feel it now) this big well of emotion rise up in my chest. The confusing part is, I don’t know what’s causing it. Am I on the verge of happy tears because I know there is correction and more comfort in my future with this wrist/thumb? For sure. Am I discouraged and disheartened by how freaking hard I had to think and work to get into that pose and have no clue how I’m going to do that every single time an Adho Mukha Svanasana is called in a class? Totally.

(cue end of lunch break and pause in writing)

Thankfully, just like the two sides of my reaction, this entire day had two sides, too, and therefore, so does my writing. I was still feeling shaky and unsettled when we returned from lunch break but then we spent the most amazing afternoon in the most amazing weather (seriously – breezy but cool in mid-July? Unbelievable and totally the best). And our topic – sequencing – was pretty fantastic (you know I wanted to say “amazing” again, right?), too. There is so much I love about yoga, and asana in particular, so the joy of setting up an entire class helped ease the confusion and frustration of the morning and I found myself smiling and laughing before we broke for the day. Honestly? I still have no clue why I had an almost meltdown. None. But it’s all necessary, all part of the process, because hiccups such as these will ultimately make me the kind of compassionate teacher I hope to be. Having my own struggles makes me human. It makes me relate to my students when they struggle or hurt. It shows me that when the small picture analysis gets sticky, I can still step back and enjoy the big picture. Holy moly cow. Once again – my lessons from the mat are the best analogies for the life lessons off it, too.


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