Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I cry during Savasana.

The practice of yoga grounds and reconnects me to who I am in this great big world.  Yoga is my church, my therapy, and my safe haven; besides being outside, it's the closest I come to understanding my true purpose.  After my weekly yoga class, I feel a sense of renewal, and by the time the week passes and class is on the horizon, I can feel what I call “the crazy” creeping back in.  The final pose of every yoga class is Savasana, and the experiences can vary depending on the instructor, music vs. no music, state of the body, temperature of the room, sneezes, coughs and farts, etc.  The one variable that remains the same is that during Savasana, we rest the body, mind, and spirit.

The first time I cried during Savasana was one year ago at a post-natal yoga class.  As I rested on my purple mat, I felt a strange sensation swirling in my belly and around my heart.  I had a split second to notice a burning feeling, before suddenly, as if someone flicked a switch, I erupted into sobs.  It caught me completely off guard, and I felt embarrassed by the obvious noise I was making in the completely silent room.  The instructor, a sweet, sweet soul, quietly walked over to me, knelt down, and whispered, "Let it out."  Of course, this made me cry harder and more intensely, which in retrospect was probably exactly what I needed.  However, what I felt right then was extremely self-conscious and aware that I had turned a beautiful moment into quite an awkward one.  After all, an integral part of yoga involves watching and noticing thoughts and emotions without engaging with them, and I had just epically failed.

At yoga classes following this incident, I would occasionally feel that same sensation picking up speed as it moved through my body, but I learned how to suppress it, will it away, and hold it back until I stopped feeling it at all.  Soon, I was back in my comfort zone, resting at peace in Savasana along with all the others.

It wasn't until a few weeks ago, at my Thursday night yoga class, that it happened again.  Just like the first time.  Out of nowhere.  Resting, eyes closed, thoughts still, allowing the "So Hum*" chants to wash over me, and then WHAM!  I'm crying.  Tears welling under my eyelids and pouring down the sides of my face, creating little pools in my ears.  I’m shaking and overwhelmed with emotion, but this time, for some reason, I allow myself to feel it, experience it, and own it.  And you know what?  It feels all right.  Good, even?  Necessary. 

Ever since, I’ve been trying to determine what it is about this moment of stillness, about Savasana or yoga in general, that makes me cry.  What is it about Savasana that evokes this stir of emotions inside my being?  It’s not as if I'm thinking sad thoughts or about difficult times before I spill over.  It just seems to happen.   

After class that Thursday, I spoke briefly with my instructor and told her about these experiences.  “I’m laying there, focusing on my breath, emptying my mind, and suddenly I’m so overwhelmed with emotion that I have to release it by crying.  I don’t know what’s going on,” I explained.  I told her the brief version of my past year – birth of a child, death of a parent, loss of a job, gain of (what feels like) a hundred new roles – and asked her if it could be related. 
“It’s absolutely normal,” she assured me. 
I must have looked worried. 
She continued, “It’s when we really allow ourselves to let go that we are confronted with the soul’s truth.”

Her words deeply resonated with me, and I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently.  It’s when we really allow ourselves to let go that we are confronted with the soul’s truth.  What is my truth?  Is it that I have unresolved feelings about times I’ve been through?  Maybe, but who doesn’t? I think it’s deeper than that.  Something is happening at that moment.  Something “soulular” vs. “cellular.”  It’s a ceremonial sort of event where the body and mind allow the soul to step back, recognize, and acknowledge what humanity has had to endure.   I believe it’s the soul’s way of honoring our own sufferings as well as the sufferings of those around us.  There’s both a discomfort and pleasure in creating spaces in our lives where this can happen – an oxymoronic place.  It may not occur for all of us in Savasana or yoga even, but chances are, if you’ve found yourself in this quiet space whether in nature, church, your car, or lying in bed at night, you might have experienced something deeper than you can explain.

Just because many of my quiet moments have resulted in tears doesn’t mean yours will.  I’ve had other experiences where I’m filled with joyousness and celebration, especially in that soft space right after (my pathetic excuse for) dancing where I can feel my energy radiating outward to reach others.  Part of the intense emotion I’m experiencing while I’m alone, I believe, stems from the fact that in my daily life, I’m so rarely alone without an agenda.  I don’t allow myself to meditate regularly (or even not-so-regularly) or pray often (or even not-so-often).  In fact, the meditating or praying I do happens because it’s been scheduled!  For now, though, that’s OK with me because I’m letting go of my inhibitions and allowing myself to feel it, trying not to analyze it, and arriving closer to understanding my truth by way of letting go.

I wrote the above post and then became curious about whether other people have had similar experiences while practicing yoga or laying in Savasana.  After a quick Google search, I found that indeed, I am not alone.  Check out these links:

And many more…

*"The So Hum (aka So Ham, Soham or Sohum) Mantra Meditation, done sincerely, is very effective in bringing about a complete transformation of individual consciousness.  So Hum literally means "I am That" (So = "That" or "Thou" or "Divinity"; Hum = "I am") and the mantra’s aim is to bring about this union (yoga) between your individual consciousness and Divine Consciousness.  Another way to interpret this purpose, is that the meditation brings about the realization that all that you see is yourself — The Observer is the Observed."  -

1 comment:

  1. Wow, amazing post. I have been searching for these kind of posts and I have found so many others experienced what I experienced today in my first hot yoga class. This was my first ever yoga class and I didn't know what to expect. The poses were challenging as I was shaky in many of them.. But that is normal and a good sign. After the one hour we went to savasana (corpse position) and something amazing happened... Exactly as u described it.. That peaceful music came on and I lay there on my back, eyes closed, hands to the side palms open, feet out... And tears started streaming from the sides of my face.. I couldn't understand what was happening to me but I quickly wiped them with my towel... But again they kept streaming uncontrollably.. For no specific reason I could pinpoint.. Just relief.. I just felt good and a sense of release. It was just amazing and I did not expect it at all. I don't know much about yoga and I went in there to stretch, relax and relieve some sore muscles frm a previous workout 2 days prior... Little did I know this would happen. It was Just amazing and believe it or not, life changing. Im glad I didn't read about it beforehand because now discovering about it after and that it happens to others as well is so amazing. There definitely is something about the savasana position after the physical yoga positions that helps to release emotions, energies and get a glimpse of your true inner self. I felt as if I had released some negative energies and was forming positive ones. Absolutely amazing. I didn't even share this with anyone because I feel you need to experience it to see for yourself, but go in without any expectations because at times you will feel nothing and at others you will feel a lot.