“It’s so much more than just movement. It’s healing. It’s mental. It’s emotional. It’s spiritual. It’s everything I need, including the tears I’m shedding right now talking to you. Thank you!”
Those were the parting words a student said to me today as she left class. It was my first class back from my vacation and it was one of those strange classes where only one person showed up (it happens!) I wondered if the class was going to bomb. I always say that yoga is a community event, that it takes the energy of everyone in the room to make a great experience. Usually I mean the energy of a lot of people in the room, but I was reminded today that the energy of 2 people working together can be equally powerful and transformative.
I asked her what she’s specifically like to work on (if there’s only one student, I often tailor the class specifically to them – I mean, why not?) She mentioned something she struggles with (I had noticed that she is tight in this particular area as well,) and for an hour we worked together to find the best variations of asanas for her to utilize until her body opens. I would demonstrate and explain and then assist her as she found her way. Slow and deliberate, with my hands on her almost constantly, with the use of props, visualization, pranayama, and time, the hour passed quickly and the changes in her were almost immediate. Every few minutes I asked her if she was feeling “it” differently than before (she’s a talker,) and she would tell me what she was experiencing.
“I feel the energy going right to that spot!”
“I feel more open than I have in years!”
“Oh, now I see the point in keeping my legs bent a little here!”
“You mean I’m not broken? It’s okay that I’m like this?”
I suggested she take Savasana in Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) with her hips supported with 2 blankets. I lay a rolled mat upon her feet for a little weight and balance. She closed her eyes and I watched her melt away for 6 minutes. I brought her out very slowly and she started crying the minute she said, “Namaste.” I’m used to crying in Savasana, but crying after is not something that happens often.
She spoke to me and I felt that she was telling my story. I don’t know how many times I have broken down in my car after class (that I have taught or that I have taken!) There is something powerful, magical, undeniably holy that happens when the energy of people get together on the mat, sharing breath and belief, love and light, strength and soul. It is the beautiful, tasty, nutritional gumbo that I was looking for when I first discovered yoga all those years ago and it has never let me down. It’s what I hoped someday to be able to share with others as a teacher.
That day is now.
She walked out of the studio and I started to tear up. I am so blessed to have this life, this love, this opportunity. I am so grateful for each soul that has come into my life on the mat. I take so much from each and every class, from each and every student. My heart overflows – and sometimes my eyes do, too.
It is natural to cry in yoga. Stuff comes up and out. If you feel yourself getting misty, please, let the tears fall. They need to come out and, believe me, you are not the first nor will you be the last to cry in class. Your teacher has seen it and even done it herself. Let the tears fall and feed your practice. Remember, nothing grows without the rain.