Yoga Makes Me Cry

But let me start with the day yoga made me laugh. I was at the Y for chair yoga. Our instructor warned that the room next door was holding a Zoomba class and we’d have to work harder that day to practice mindfulness, remain focused and stay above the din. The pounding through the wall was only mildly distracting. Ringing the small bell brought us to attention. We proceeded to mountain pose.

Near the end of their time, the Zoomba class was clearly building to a grand finale. Their pounding nearly drowned out our quiet and peaceful mediation music. As the intensity built, we suddenly heard the sound explosion of an Indian war cry as they finished their routine.

Our class stopped in mid warrior three pose. We looked around at each other with looks of awe. We probably were all happy, thinking our days of hard working exercise programs was behind us. Yoga looked pretty good to me right then. We laughed heartily and continued our program as though nothing unusual had happened. But this made me think.

Yoga is so counter to what is thought to be a great work-out. Instead of being aerobic, tough and fast, yoga is slow. When I first began going to this class I recall that I thought it was nothing. What is the fuss all about, I wondered. You’re not really doing much of anything, I said to myself. But then something happened.

What seemed like simple stretches and lunges became so much more. I could feel the pressure. We don’t go for the burn but sometimes I do feel it. Everyone goes at their own pace. Yoga’s mantra is to never do more than you feel comfortable doing. Yoga’s other mantra is to breathe.

The instructor’s gentle voice reminds me to breathe and follow her lead as we stretch and lean from one side to another. The classes’ hands are in the air reaching for the sky as we moved from left to right. Face forward, turn to the right and look out at the window. Slowness and deliberateness. I looked over the heads of everyone in front of me as we moved slowly; it’s like branches of trees slowly moving in the breeze. Refreshing and energizing.

And this is where the crying starts. I don’t shed real tears or anything like that. It’s just an emotional feeling that overcomes me and results in watery eyes for just a moment. After forty-five minutes of slowing down, life seems to fade away and time stands still.

I could talk about how yoga has improved my balance and strength. I could say how pleasant it is to be in a room of twenty or so others moving in slow motion from pose to pose. But the real prize is the washing away of life’s concerns for a short time and just being.

At the end the instructor tells us to sit quietly as she reads a meditation. That day her words were especially powerful: You are strong; You are competent; You are calm. Then after a moment of silence she finished with the bell and closing: May the light that is in me, honor and respect the light that is within you …Namaste.

The power of those words is joined with the airy sound of chimes so traditional at the beginning and end of each session. The ritual of it is comforting.

 

 

 

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