When I was a little girl, according to my mum, of the three daughters I was the one that would throw myself on the floor and have a “paddy” if I was upset. I would literally flail my arms and legs around crying and most probably screaming, it couldn’t have been easy to be around but I bet I felt a lot better after.
This now makes me smile – some time last year I could feel a lot of stuff bubbling under the surface over a situation that I could not control, I felt powerless, frustrated and pain for those all of us who were affected by it. I almost did not know what to do with myself, so I found a moment to lie down in Savasana (that’s resting on your back in Yogic terms) put a yoga bolster under my knees, a lavender pillow over my eyes and hid under a blanket or two (I love to feel cocooned). Did I rest quietly focusing on my breath, feeling the sensations in my body? Only for a minute before I erupted into a sobbing, wailing five year old again and I did it for so long and so loudly in the end I actually made myself laugh……..did it change anything? I felt a whole lot lighter and it helped me move toward accepting the situation.
I’m referring to this because this week I’ve had few conversations with my students and clients about keeping it together when actually what they want to do is to let it all out. Who are we pleasing by keeping it all in? Or does it come down the fact that we simply don’t feel as if we have the time to go scream into a pillow? Or is the real reason because we keep ourselves busy to avoid truly feeling what is bubbling up underneath?
Is it a combination of all those things?
We often get to a certain point though that something has to give, have you ever been having one of those days where you feel like you’re wading through treacle, a lot going on and someone says something thoughtless, or as happened to one of my closest friends recently a man shouted at her as she was at work in a public place (she works in a busy hotel) and she burst into tears……..
On the other end of the keeping it together spectrum we have the genuine“are you OK, how are you?” question, where you think to yourself, “please don’t be kind to me or I’m going to burst into tears”, ever been there?…………
Sometimes my private clients who do let their guard down then apologise for doing so and just this week a student on mine said she almost burst into tears half way through the class. I don’t know why she didn’t but she did say she felt a lot better after the class.
It isn’t easy to be vulnerable in a group because we think we are going to be judged. But I want to reassure you that in my classes and private appointments it’s OK to not feel OK and I offer you a little time in your week to honour what you feel. Yoga isn’t about creating a distraction, it’s about a time in your week that’s all about you. It just so happens that your body will also feel less tension from the movements we do; as a result of being aware of your breath and the guided relaxations you follow you might also feel a sense of space for whatever needs to come up (or let out) to happen.
I’d love to know if you keep it all in, or if you do let it out, what’s your preference, pillow, paddy or some other way?