Article by Sarah Moyes; Yogini, journalist and blogger on Life at Five Foot Two.
I came across a quote recently in a yoga philosophy book by Stephen Cope that really explained it all:
“Yoga should come with a warning: these practices will change your life.” (The Wisdom of Yoga)
Well, I couldn’t agree with this more. It’s been almost four months since I started my Ashtanga Yoga teacher training and the world around me and within me continues to change. It hasn’t slowed down, in fact everyday gets more intense.
Once you’ve started on this journey – there’s no going back. I go through times where things are calm, and I experience so much lightness and happiness, but then an emotional blockage will appear.
These blockages lie so deeply within us that for a lot of people they remain dormant for years until something just releases it, and out of no where you find yourself sitting in the traffic, walking along the beach, eating dinner, and all of a sudden the most intense feelings of sadness, of fear, of pain, overcome you and absorb you completely. What do you do? You tell yourself to stop being ridiculous and force it back to where it came from.
With practices like yoga, especially one as intensive and detoxifying as Ashtanga, these blockages are brought up on a regular basis, particularly when you take the physical practice to a deeper level.
I’ve been asked why I even bother – why put myself through all this pain. And yes, at times it is real pain. But I guess it just depends on how you look at it. I see the rising of these blockages as a positive thing. They are coming up so that they can be released and I can let go of the event or the issue and the emotion that is attached to it. I have been trying to learn how I can just sit with the pain, and just feel it, just experience it. I try not to judge myself about feeling these feelings, I try and not question why they have all of a sudden come out of nowhere.
At first it was so confusing – I couldn’t figure out why events that may have happened to me when I was a child, that I hadn’t thought about in years, started appearing in my mind maybe after an intense yoga practice or meditation. I didn’t even realise that some of these events had an emotional affect over me at the time – that they had scared me or upset me in some way. Sometimes the same event resurfaces time and time again.
But it does get easier. You start to become so aware of every emotion you have – and you can see where it has come from. Your habits are so obvious and you start to discover the little stories you have created about yourself over the years “Oh don’t mind me, I’m just really clumsy” or “I’m too stupid to be able to do that”. Where did these stories come from? Who said you were clumsy? Who made you feel stupid?
It is the most interesting experiment – and I am constantly studying myself.
As part of my training, I’ve just been on an intensive yoga block course over the last three weeks and at times my emotions were all over the show. I had days where I was so ecstatic I couldn’t even sit still, it was like I’d had about five coffees. Then other days I struggled to just keep my eyes open and stop my mind from wandering.
Insecurities about myself and my relationships as well as my deeply ingrained fears started to arise at random intervals. Even though I had been warned and I was quite aware that different emotions would arise, they still jumped out and scared the shit out of me every time.
But despite all of these highly emotional experiences, I know I’m on a beautiful journey which I feel blessed to be on. The yoga is changing my life in the most positive way, and as my physical practice begins to deepen, my emotional practice deepens even more.