Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Are yogis even allowed to be mad???

There is an image, maybe in my mind, a yogi, a yogini sitting cross-legged, thumb and index fingers meeting in an oblong circle and eyes cast down calm and serene.

Right,  if we do enough yoga, if we practice enough in the hot room isn't it true, don't our teachers promise that happiness is quick to follow.  So what happens when life gets real and it doesn't feel easier outside of the hot room.  Didn't I just suffer 90 minutes so I could feel good the 22 1/2 hours I'm not in the room? Isn't that what I was promised during my last Savasana?

Well the truth is life does happen and sometimes it's not easy and sometimes it stays not easy for longer than ninety minutes, sometimes it's a whole day, a whole week, maybe even months or years at a time when life just isn't as easy as breathing through it sounds like it should be.

It's funny, I've been pretty stressed the past few ummm weeks? months? Don't get me wrong, if you ask me if I am a happy person, I feel beyond blessed to say that I am one of the luckiest people I know because YES, I am truly and honestly happy, but life hasn't been all butterflies and kisses and I've been a bit stressed for a good stretch of time.  Money is tight, help is limited, sleep is sparse, and emotions are high and sometimes, every once in a while it gets the best of me.  This week my stresses and my anxieties reared their ugly heads as a bit of anger.  Now I don't want to sound like I'm an angry person, but I was just quick to get angry, quick to the fight this week.  So far this doesn't sound funny, the funny part, funny as in interesting not hahah hilarious, is that almost everyone I have spoken to this week has been in the same boat.  Maybe it's that we are stuck in the worlds longest winter I don't know, but it seems to me that tensions are high these day and I figured it was worth a word or two.

So what happens when a yogi gets mad, because I say it in class every once in a while " a yogi shows no struggle," do we bury it down, not acknowledge our emotion and put on our happy smiling face?  What happens when a yogi gets mad? are they even allowed?

I think there is a lot of truth in what comes up after we do Camel Pose, you hear your teacher say it, "normal to feel nauseous, dizzy, emotional, mad at me"  I usually finish this sentence with something like "this is energy, try not to judge it, criticize it or label it, acknowledge it and let it go"  MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE.  Much easier to do in the yoga studio than in real life, but that is why we practice.

So yes, yogis are allowed to get mad, they will, no doubt, someone will irk them and that image of the serene yogi will be challenged by the red faced, eye brows raised, forehead scrunched face person that we are all capable of becoming.

It's interesting how frustration plays out in the yoga room, you had a bad day, your husband said that thing, your boss asked you to work on your day off, that thing happened, but in the yoga room sometimes it turns into " my neighbor breaths to heavy" " this teacher talks too much" " The room feels to cold"  And this is where we can really start to practice .  The truth is yes, sometimes the person next to you breaths heavy (sometimes their breath stinks!) sometimes the teacher talks too much, sometimes the room is too hot or too cold, but all of that does not matter if shift your attention to something much more simple.  When you shift your attention to what it is you are doing at that very present moment, maybe it's breathing, maybe locking your knee, all that other stuff becomes less significant until it doesn't even exist anymore.  This is our practice for the real world, when shit gets REAL.

If you can find your peace in your Hatha Yoga practice.  If you can find stillness in the mind there, then you should be, ideally be able to find it outside of the yoga studio as well.  A constant practice, a constant awareness of where your mind is and a mindful practice of bringing back to the present moment can help you to keep from getting to attached to being angry.

So I guess, I'm trying to work it out in my mind, but I think that being angry is an emotion just like all the rest and it doesn't have to be a bad one, the scary part of anger is when we hold on to it.  What happens if we acknowledge that we feel it and then let it go, shift our attention to the task at hand, be it breathing, scrubbing the floors, forming a standing split or nursing your baby in the middle of the night, what if we shift our attention to the task and work on doing our best? I wonder if just as quickly as it came the feelings will pass and we can find a bit of calm in the middle of the storm?

I'm going to practice it, I mean I am CONSTANTLY practicing it, but I am going to set a goal, that this week I will give the task at hand my 100% participation and see if I can't find more joy in that than anything else? Are you with me?

Much Love,

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