Saturday, January 26, 2013

How yoga made me cry (but not because it hurt)

I've found a new love in my life, and it's bittersweet.  Yoga.  I have been taking classes and practicing daily for the last 2 weeks.  I'm in love.  Total and complete knock-me-on-my-ass love.  Which is why it's bittersweet.  My newfound love of yoga has left my running shoes pretty still the last two weeks.  I  mean, I've run, but only 3 times.  Three measly times.  Pathetic.  I'm just loving the yoga and stretching SO much more lately.  Maybe because it's new, maybe because it feels so damn good, maybe because it's winter and yoga is inside where it's nice and warm?  I don't know.
Whatever the reason is, I'm yoga-ing more and running less.  I need to figure out how to balance this out better.
I have taught a yoga elective to 8th graders for the last 3 semesters (this is the 4th semester I've offered it).  The class always fills up, and the kids are eager to learn and practice.  I've really enjoyed it for lots of reasons: the kids get to experience a different non-traditional form of exercise, they get to experience a meditative/quieting/non-competitive form of exercise, and they are learning coping mechanisms to help them deal with stress.  All of these things I love very much.   I also love that I get to practice regularly twice a week and get paid for it. Not too shabby. I also love the environment I get to teach the class in.  It's in my library at school.  There is a huge wall of windows looking out into a courtyard and the space is big and inviting.

We have plenty of room to spread out and practice in a calm and peaceful place.  Occasionally a student from another grade comes in to check in or out a book, but they are always quiet and respectful of our class.  This semseter my class is all girls.  We read from a daily devotional before class begins, then we work our way through some sequences which are sometimes led by me, sometimes led by a video.
It's very relaxing and calming for all of us.  We always end with about 5 minutes in savasana (corpse pose) to settle ourselves down.  I think they like that the best.  I'm not sure if that's because they like to drift off to sleep, feel the deep relaxation, or just get in touch with the calm inside.  It doesn't matter to me what they experience during that time (even if it IS sleep), just that they take the time to quiet themselves and relax.  They get so little of it in their daily lives.

Now, back to how yoga made me cry.  This morning I blew off my long run in favor of a 2 hour gym session.  One hour of pilates class followed by one hour of power/hot yoga.  I needed to run long, but I put in a long day at work yesterday setting up for the Book Fair next week (12 hours on my feet is something I'm not accustomed to) and my lower back and feet were complaining so I opted for the yoga instead. 
I'm SO glad I did.  I might have been jelly for a few hours afterward, but it felt SOOO good on this old body.

Back to the crying: Last night I had a lovely dream about my father.  He's been dead for 14 years now and to say I miss him terribly is an understatement.  I'll always wonder what could have been.  What I missed out on.  What kind of friends we could have been as adults.  The usual what-if stuff.
It was a wonderful dream. We met up after a wedding and he was telling me about it.  We sat and talked and then we danced.  We danced just like we did the last time I ever saw him (on my wedding day). It felt so real.  I woke up crying.  A sad cry, but a happy cry at the same time.  A peaceful cry. 
I haven't dreamed about him in a long time, and just recently I was upset because I felt like I was losing his memory and forgetting him; how he looked, how his voice sounded, how soft his rugged hard-working hands were.  Even tho he looked different in my dream (he was young with no wrinkles and wore a thin beard), I knew it was him.  He told me he was OK.  I knew he was OK.  I felt a connection again.
Like I said, it was beautiful and peaceful.
So I headed off to yoga class not even thinking about it.  We did our practice then laid down in savasana.  The lights were off, I was falling into a deep relaxation, I was breathing and then a song started playing.  I don't know if it was the song in my dreams (proably not), but it was a beautiful melody.  The kind of song that makes you want to dance with someone you love.  And I started crying.  Tears began to flow no matter how hard I tried to keep them in.  I unashamedly let them fall.  I composed myself before the lights came back on, but it was difficult to gather myself back together.
I don't know what it was about savasana today (the relaxing, the song), but it made me cry.  Tears are good cleansers and I think I needed a little cleansing.  Like I said, the dream was beautiful and I really felt like my dad was next to me, but it was both beautiful and sad at the same time. 
And that's how yoga made me cry.
Tomorrow yoga might make me cry for a whole other reason.  I got my ass kicked in class today and I'm surely going to feel it tomorrow.
But I will run. I promised myself I'm going for a long run no matter what!



  1. Hey Tanya! I'm glad you have found a new love.. I've tried yoga a few times and I never could get the hang of it. I wanted to let you know I nominated you for a Liebster Award, Sweat Pink! Check out the details here:

  2. Linda- THANK YOU so much!!! That was really considerate of you!! I'm so flattered. Off to read about the Liebster! :)