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Blood, Sweat and Tears

Posted in: Blog by amy on September 24, 2012

I expect the sweat. I expect the burn. I expect the pain. But, the tears surprise me every time. And, of course, I’m not alone. Many of you have been there, too: You’re in the midst of a great yoga class; you’re feeling good and strong; you are completely present, in the moment; and then, boom! The tears escape from your eyes. Sometimes, you may not even know their source. You did not even feel sad or overwhelmed going into class. But, there they are: You cannot deny their presence. Your mat is speckled with their salty evidence.

At first, it can be slightly embarassing. That is precisely the time when you need to listen to the words that your wise yoga teachers have shared: This practice is only about you. There is no judgement. No one is paying attention to your poses or your flexibility or your strength … or your apparent sadness!

The truth is: That is exactly the kind of presence you should be trying to experience when you step onto the mat.  You have carved out this time for you and your practice, and there is nothing else that exists except that moment. Not only are your teachers and the rest of the surrounding yogis not expecting anything from you, but you should free yourself from any expectation or self-judgment. On that note, you also should not feel the need to analyze the source of the tears. Just let them flow. It may simply be a phsyical release that your body needed or it may be something deeper. In this moment, it simply does not matter. Just go with it. Let your body, mind, emotions and subconscious all seamlessly flow together.

by Photos8.org

Of course, it’s not always easy to dive into something with full abandon. And, I’m not just talking about the release of tears. That just happened to be my experience recently. I clearly had some emotion that just needed to flow freely. And, I let it go. Yes, there was some resistance in the moment. But, the more I think about the tears’ occurrence, the more grateful I am for having experienced it.

While the energy in our bodies is in constant movement, we have learned how to build walls that block this most natural flow. Sometimes we consciously create these blockages in an effort to get through some pain we have experienced; and, in other instances, it is a subconscious act that we have executed as we race through our days.

Step back and consider all that you do and all that you attempt to do and all that you want to do. It can be overwhelming. It also can be so habit-forming that it is all we have come to know. We simply accept this pattern we have created in which our minds are taken over by overflowing thoughts and responsibilities and stressors. Many of us run from one place to the next, making checkmarks on our lists of “things to get done.”

For many of us, it does not feel natural to just be … to sit quietly with our thoughts … to do nothing … to fully embrace emotions that pop up unexpectedly. In addition, this simple solitude and overall serenity does not seem encouraged in our society. More often, we are motivated to accomplish as much as we can in as little time as possible. I believe that is part of the reason that yoga has been more and more appealing to a growing audience year after year. Our yoga class does not leave us with much of a choice: If we are on the mat, we have slowed down. And, if we have slowed down, we have enabled our bodies to heal, stretch and feel.

I love this quote by Edgar Allan Poe, and it makes me realize how fortunate we are when we experience an unanticipated moment or emotion — one that we do not even need to attempt to identify or understand:

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” 

So, when you finally slow down, embrace all of the signs that your body is exhibiting. Embrace all of the emotions that you are feeling. And, don’t be overly eager to wipe away those tears. Whatever you feel, embrace it. Accept it. Be grateful for that beauty. And, let it flow as you flow through your poses, through your day and through your life.


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One Response to “Blood, Sweat and Tears”

  1. Sue love says:

    This happened to me this morning as I was driving my kids to school. Talking about homecoming and the decision not to allow Bailee to drive in the car with one of her peers. I volunteered to be the driver. She then proceeded to say ” I wish you would love me a little less so, I can have more fun” !! The tears just came, out of control weeping for the love I have for her that she will never know. Or, one day hopefully will.

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