This is my latest article for the Stanly News and Press. It is dedicated to my beautiful friend, student and teacher, Erin Rose Ryan Sizer.
I am writing this just hours after attending a beautiful friend and fellow Yoga teacher’s funeral, so the power of Yoga to heal emotional wounds is on my mind. Yoga is great for your emotional health because it helps you to remain focused on the present moment and your breath, which are essentially all we own.
We live in a world of “what if’s”. We worry so much about what we could have done differently in our pasts that we waste the lessons of our sorrow on regret. Studying and practicing Yoga helps us learn to let go of attachments. People tend to hold onto the sad things that have happened in their lives the same way they grip and hold themselves up in surrendering postures because they fear that it will hurt when they let go.
Sometimes is does hurt when the muscles relax and pose deepens, but we find that after a few moments of focusing on the present and the breath, the pain subsides and we are now okay in this new place. The body will never change if we do not let go. You can be stuck in a moment the same way you can feel stuck in a Yoga pose. But the more you practice, the more you will reap the rewards of riddance.
The only way the pain of your body and your mind will change is by going straight through it with long deep breaths. In life and in asanas, you cannot go over it, under it or around it. Sometimes you have to hold your poses longer to work through it and sometimes it happens more in a flow, but the work has to be done.
Focusing your attention on the always-present moment is something we do not get a lot practice with in our society. I think this is why Yoga has started moving so strongly through our culture as a way to counter all of our distractions. Focusing on all of the senses during a Yoga class brings heightened awareness of that focus off the mat. If we realize that at this very moment everything is okay and we are all right, we will begin to heal and appreciate all we have more deeply.
Yoga is not a magic pill for healing your pain and sorrow, but it is an effective tool that can bring you more peace and more gratitude. A Yoga class is a place that supports us and accepts us and waits patiently for us decide when we are ready to let go.