A part of me has always wanted to teach classes that stir things up for people. I remember the first time I cried in a yoga class, my life was changed in that one, releasing moment. I wasn't grieving at the time, I was overjoyed. Before that moment, I had never felt so unbelievably connected to who I really was, it was a true coming home for me.
Yoga gives us the opportunity to process, release and discharge energy (emotion). This is what I want to teach in class. As a human being with a million and one different interests, and as a new yoga teacher finding her groove, I have felt my tone, dialogue, and what I choose to focus on in a class switch up all the time. Sometimes I want to choreograph a sequence that is super creative and fun, sometimes I want it to be fast paced, dance like and fluid...sometimes I want to stick to the baptiste-style, or more traditional like ashtanga...other times I want it to be incredibly slow and mindful.
Lately, I have been talking in my classes. Talking a lot and asking my students a ton of questions about their personal relationship to trauma, pain, suffering, forgiveness...you know, the uncomfortable stuff that no one wants to talk about. It has drawn up a lot of tears and my initial ego reaction was to stop immediately. "No one wants to: A. Hear you talk about serious issues because it's bringing them down and you sound like a fool, B. Look that deep inside-yoga is their chance to decompress and get away from their problems, not go into them! And C. What are you trying to do? Stick to what you know and what they like or they'll stop coming."
Ahh the ego. That's the scared little child inside each of us that is terrified of absolutely everything. Unfortunately we need it to survive however, if you can start separating yourself from that voice, your life will change for the better.
In the past week I have made a couple observations as I have crossed into this "new territory" in my classes: 1. It is way easier to practice and to teach when we bypass the emotions. 2. There have been tears. Lots of tears and it makes us uncomfortable.
There is a time and a place for Wild playlists, hip hop yoga, buti and dance classes and crazy hot power hours. Believe me I do them all and they release sweat and energy in the best way. They allow fun and self expression. But when do we cross the line from a yoga practice into a fitness class? When does the internal work begin? Can we start to invite people to get familiar with their "Shadow Self?" Rather than suppress and bypass it? Now, more than ever, is the time to do the inner work. I'm seeing it more and more- friends embracing therapy regularly, treating it just as important as a doctors appointment....because it IS. People seeking yoga, meditation, opportunities to be still and at peace. Holistic healing arts such as bodywork, massage, acupuncture and reiki...people are being called to do their inner work more and more. The ultimate goal of meditation is to be in an enlightened or open state of awareness where the thoughts have become so distant that you just simply "are." Complete presence, bliss and connection to all that is.
Unfortunately chaturangas and green juice doesn't get you there. Actually nothing gets you there, unless you're willing to back-track a bit. So instead of bypassing our thoughts, distractions and suffering and suppressing it with a mantra or whatever...I'm learning that it's actually necessary to go INTO that discomfort, tension and emotion and ask questions. Why do the same thoughts keep coming up? What is my ego terrified of? How has heart break and addiction shown up in my life? What am I grieving? Who do I judge? Where and when do I separate myself from others and let it become me against him, or us and them? It is easier to bypass shadow emotions. As humans we have become experts at suppressing the "ugly" parts of ourselves. I think it's time to recognize that all energies and emotions are beautiful. Because they are part of our humanity...and guess what? We all have them. We. Not me, not you, not us, not them. There is no separation.
The most natural way of releasing emotions that is shunned widely in our culture, is crying. From A very young age, often the first thing we hear even if it is said with love is, "Aw, don't cry!" Unfortunately many of us, particularly our men have been conditioned to associate crying with weakness. Even as grown adults, if we see someone we love start to cry, we don't hold space for them and let them cry it out… We jump to comfort them right away. We hold them, tell them not to cry, switch the subject. Somehow, the most natural phenomenon has become the most unnatural and uncomfortable. My mother raised me to be comfortable with my emotions and crying was never shunned fortunately, but I still feel stress rise inside me when I see students and clients cry. This is an opportunity to normalize emotion and celebrate vulnerability, finally.
So let's commit to being human and allow ourselves to be scared, angry, feel ashamed, guilty, sad...but let us do the inner work necessary to process and release these energies. Find therapy, pray, meditate, practice yoga and then access the highest energy of all. On the other side of pain and suffering is liberation and purpose.
When we are finally able to forgive those who have hurt us, or forgive ourselves for thinking we should have known better, when we are finally able to see that humans are humans and love is love no matter your gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, political views, or color of your skin...when we are finally able to see beyond the separation that has been drilled into us for lifetimes, we will create great change. A change that is rooted in the lightest vibration of all:
*Post inspired heavily by the lectures and teachings of Seane Corn