As part of my quest for increased flexibility, I’ve been taking stretching and yoga classes twice a week. (FYI- I switched yoga instructors; the first yoga experience I had was just a little too weird for me. You can read about it here: Ninja Prerequisite.) The yogi asked us if we had any pose requests. I said I wanted to learn how to do splits, so she led us through deep hip opening exercises.
After we were done she said, “Oh good, nobody’s crying.”
I was thoroughly confused. The poses were difficult but not painful. “Why would we be crying?” I asked.
“A lot of emotions are held in your hips. Anger, resentment, primal things. When you release the muscles sometimes powerful memories are released too.”
“I’ve been in classes where people begin sobbing. And even if you don’t cry here, you might notice on the drive home you begin to feel agitated for no apparent reason. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but if it happens to you, don’t feel weird about it; it’s pretty common.”
I’m happy to report I did not cry. But, then again, my life is pretty good right now. Thinking back on other yoga classes I’ve taken however, I do recall seeing people cry. Like this summer during the FitBloggin’ convention the yoga teacher was leading us through exercises and saying power mantras like, “You are stronger than you think,” and this one woman who recently lost a significant amount of weight, like over 100 pounds, was just drenching her mat in tears.
Anyway, after yesterday’s class I did a little research. Many articles said that poses which opened the chest (exposing your heart in a vulnerable position,) and hip opening poses, (drawing blood flow to your groin area,) tended to activate emotional releases in students (and some instructors too.)
Here are some suggestions if you get some unexpected yoga tears:
- Know that this happens a lot, so don’t feel embarrassed.
- Yoga integrates your body, mind and spirit. Perhaps your mind is pointing out to you something that you have been avoiding dealing with.
- Crying in and of itself is a good stress relief for many people. And numerous studies show that yoga and meditation are good for your health for things such as cancer, stress management, diabetes, insomnia and blood pressure.
Here are a few articles you might find interesting:
- Emotions in Yoga – Yoga Journal
- A 20-minute bout of yoga stimulates brain function – Science Daily
- The Yoga Revolution…and Its Opponents – Psychology Today
How about you? Have you ever seen someone cry during yoga?
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