> Although I have listed Yoga as step three towards creating greater happiness in your life, the confession is that I can’t promise that doing yoga actually makes you happy.
> It’s what happens when you have been practising yoga that is the astonishing and often left unsaid reality- it can actually make you more likely to feel pain.
Of course that’s not to say that a reduction in stress, anxiety, muscle pain etc is unwanted. It does help you sleep better/enables you to queiten the mind, be more confident, clear and focused and these things can make you much happier. This is why most of us continue to practice yoga but I’ve decided to write about the less discussed side effects because..
> Yoga reveals more than you might expect, in ways you never expected.
> Wiping the slate clean, so to speak, clearing baggage, blockages, and pain from a previously clogged physiological system, frees up space in your body and your mind and even your heart. This leaves an empty vessel.
> This clear path in your emotional state, and body can often result in that yoga ‘glow’ or high we feel after a Retreat or a class.
> you are a blank canvas which feels amazing, super refreshing and can make you downright giddy with relief- oh all that shit I was unknowingly carrying around could be cleared out? Great.
> The thing that can also happen is that we are more open to feel, to let emotions move through this open vessel. Pain won’t go unnoticed if it’s not lingering around already.
> Connecting to our deeper selves, we find the Self that is at peace. The Self that simply doesn’t identify with the woes of the modern world. But we are also more receptive, aware and awake in this state.
> In other words we feel more when there are no obstructions in place.
> It reminds me of a baby: when they feel uncomfortable they cry and let the strong sentiment gush throughout bubble over and evaporate. When they feel good they giggle and smile and laugh. There’s no pretense. They feel what they feel.
> The body allows them to, the ego, stagnant emotions not yet lodged don’t get in the way of their true expression. Babies are our great yoga teachers!
> We say my heart is heavy? Stand on your own two feet? My stomach is in knots. We all know that our body is deeply connected to our emotional state and yet we act surprised when working with yoga postures they cause emotional release.
> Our bodies hold a wisdom greater than we allow ourselves to accept. Yoga gives us the opportunity to figure out where we’re holding on or not letting go. It lets us embrace our interconnectedness of spirit and body, soul and limbs, the likeness between emotions and movement. And to empty or dislodge any muscle memory of stangnant energies.
And if this leaves us more open, raw, awake, sensitive, aware and able to detect pain on a greater level then is this not something we should also welcome? Surely this also only makes us more capable of healing others?
Not everyone might agree, perhaps remaining clogged with pain and a perpetuating cycle of unhappiness is simply an easier option than really feeling through life. Taking risks with our openings requires us to be vulnerable. The choice is really yours and yours alone.
With that said when I wrote this post on Saturday night I freed up some space in myself also. The result of which (when David let me ly in bed on this rainy Sunday morning, pen in hand, while he played happily with Abigail downstairs) I wrote this poem: