What I Learned From My Yoga Temper Tantrum.
This morning I attended my weekly meridian yoga class.
My feelings during class are usually ones of peace, calm, and clarity. I enjoy it because in addition to the physical workout, it focuses on energy channels in the body. Leaving me feeling clear and invigorated.
But this morning's class felt very different. Miserably so.
My body felt thick, tight, and fidgety. My mind was racing and wouldn't settle down. And the prevailing voice in my head as we went through the opening poses was one of a cranky, overtired 5 year old. The tranquil smile of the instructor encouraging me to "breathe into the stretch" prompted immediate, irrational anger.
"NO! " My inner kid shouted, clenching her little fists, "I HATE THIS CLASS! I DON'T LIKE THIS LADY! I WANT TO GO HOME!"
This reaction would have been laughable had I not been so concerned for my sanity. "How could such a simple thing as a SIDE BEND have put me in such a state?" my rational mind said. "What is WRONG with you!?" After spending several minutes resisting the urge to curl in the fetal position to protest, a helpful thought occurred to me, out of the blue, "Just be Angry." It said. "It is OK."
"Um...What's that, again?" I replied.
"Just BE angry. There's no shame in it. It's how you feel in this moment, that's all. The feeling will pass."
Well, DAMN. Let me tell 'ya, that thought changed everything.
A moment ago, I was this cranky woman fuming on a yoga mat. Getting all stressed out. Trying to manage my feelings. Ashamed I wasn't more Zen. Questioning, Did I have hidden anger issues? Was it PMS? Was I dehydrated?
Then, with just one thought, none of that mattered. I could let all the reasons go, and give myself permission to relax and experience whatever was happening for me. Sure, there may have been reasons behind my strong emotions. Wasn't that was why I went to this class to begin with, to work out the kinks? The fact that I was experiencing anger was not some massive judgement on my character. It didn't mean I'm not a nice person.
The emotion, and the thinking that created it, was simply working its way through. When I remembered that simple, yet powerful truth, the whole class changed for me. The anger vanished. Quick-as-that. I continued on with yoga - no fetal position required. The side stretches were still uncomfortable. But now I was enjoying the feeling of the negative energy leaving my body. And I felt calmer and less fidgety every minute.
When we said "Namaste" at the end of class, I chuckled inwardly. Grateful for the lesson: That KNOWING how my mind works and EXPERIENCING it are two very different things. And, if I'm patient, that the practice of "LOVING WHAT IS" (like "living in the moment") can work EVEN WHEN I DON'T.
Have you experienced strong emotions at unexpected times? How did you handle it?
Please share your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you.