All of us who practice yoga keep coming back to the mat for different reasons.
For some it might be for increased flexibility, or attaining some inner peace, or maybe for strength, calm, or stress relief.
Whatever the reason, whether it’s physical, mental or both, that mat just keeps reeling us back in.
Anyone who has practiced yoga will know that it is not uncommon to have a minor wobble on the mat, and I’m not just talking about falling out of vrksasana. The wobble can be our perpetual chatter of the ‘monkey mind’, not letting us stay present, or it can be the frustration with a particularly tough asana.
The wobble can grow slowly — gradually — until it becomes a full-on meltdown.
Yoga and your emotions
Often we’re not even sure why we’re feeling these emotions on the mat, when we didn’t seem to be feeling them an hour ago, off of the mat. There can be tears, shaking, the odd suppressed sob, swallowed quickly before anyone else’s savasana is disturbed.
It seems odd that a simple yoga class or practice can lead to such dramatic reactions.
The process of using the body in ways which open up blocked areas, along with deep cleansing breathing, allows the body to begin to experience a release of emotion, and generally moves us solely into a place we may not have been for a long time, if ever.
As a student, we should be consistent in our mindfulness.
Being kind to our bodies and minds, not pushing ourselves too far. If you have experienced this emotional reaction in a practice recently, take it easy, do a gentle practice, take an extra long savasana. Allow your experience to sink into the body before pushing it to any more limits.
Yoga and breathing
To remain mindful, the best tool is the breath.
This is the only constant in our practice, the body will change, grow and move with a consistent practice, some days we will be more stiff than others, sometimes our practice will be completely different from the last, but the breath remains constant.
We can control our breath and use it in ways which help connect the mind to the body, processing what is happening through the nourishing inhales and exhales of much-needed oxygen.
Bring yourself back to the present by bringing yourself back to the breath.
It’s totally normal to have a meltdown on the mat. It can be confusing and a bit bewildering, but remember that the body is creating a release, and when the emotions come out, the release is simple necessary. Whilst you’re getting a bit teary and feeling like a backbend is the last thing you want to attempt, it may not seem like this meltdown is a good thing, but remember to savour these moments where your body is telling you what’s best.
Keep bringing yourself back to the breath, and above all: look after yourself.