I’ve always been emotionally expressive. I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve. It doesn’t take much for folks to know that I’m experiencing something because it’s pretty evident. I can be loud. I can be silent. I can be boisterous, verbal, a dish pitcher, a music blaster, a happy dancer. I remember hearing my father say to me once, “Sarah, you emote really well.” It wasn’t until years later that I realized that that might not be a good thing. It’s true, I emote, but I don’t often allow myself to feel. I get angry, I get excited, I get happy, I get ready, I get moody, I get sad, I get I get I get I get… but I don’t feel angry, I don’t feel happy, I don’t feel … much of anything.
Feeling is too ooey, gooey, sticky, messy, uncertain, real. To feel feelings means to be vulnerable, open, brave, curious. It’s almost too much to handle. Why, having a feeling might mean that I don’t look like I have it all together! Having a feeling might mean that I have to reconsider my thinking! Having a feeling might mean that I am… human. NO way, Jose.
My teaching preparation has gone through some changes. I used to script out every asana for an entire hour practice, print it out, and f0llow it step by step (didn’t we all do that when we were first starting out?) Occasionally I will still make notes of new flows or sequences that I’m working on, but I don’t write the whole thing out anymore. Often, I sit quietly and breathe deeply and see what comes to me. Sometimes I will have something planned and the energy of the room makes me abandon the plan entirely and start from scratch. There are also days, of course, when I have nothing planned at all – I just put the music on shuffle, ask The Universe for guidance, and go with the flow. Most of the time, however, it’s a bit of each of those things. Classes like that usually turn out to be some of my best (in my opinion) because I seem to be guided by unseen hands and offering up something to the class.
Lately, I’ve been offering up a lot of heart openers. I’m not sure why, but these postures in which we breathe into the front of our lifted hearts call to me like a long lost lover across the river. Shoulder blades reach each other, sternums thrust forward, and hearts soar to the sky as breath fills our lungs. We breathe into our future, we breath into our potential, we breathe into our own best selves. As the breath leaves our bodies, something stirs inside us – FEELINGS! We store emotions in our bodies, most often in our necks and groin area (no, perverts, not that groin area,) and yoga can release them. Our hearts and core also hold the untapped, unnoticed, unhonored feelings and emotions. That’s why we get short of breath when you’re stressed / sad / upset / scared / worried – there’s no room in there for any air because we’re so full of feelings needing to be felt! There’s a saying that “we teach what we most need to learn.” mmmmhmmmm, you think?
I’ve been doing heart openers for several weeks and the darndest thing is happening – I’m FEELING things. Two weeks ago brought me 3 days of almost non-stop tears. I was crying because I was sad, because I was happy, because I was relieved, because I was scared, because the fabric softener smelled extra good. I’m not sure what I was sad / happy / relieved / scared about (I’m positive about the laundry, though,) but it doesn’t really matter why I was feeling any of those things, it simply and seriously matters that I was feeling those things. It’s highly likely that I was crying 25 year old tears. Know what happened after that? I laughed. Big, huge, round, deep, belly laughs in a voice that I didn’t recognize as my own came pouring out of me and scared my dog (he has issues.) Something inside of me broke loose and opened the path to a better understanding of myself. I feel free.
I am free.
My heart is open and I’m breathing into my future of new awareness, of being present, of being alive. I opened my heart and opened a bright, rich, full future of healing, health, hope, and humanity. I opened my heart and opened my future. That, friends, feels pretty damned good.