One of the greatest, and sometimes most difficult, parts of yoga practice is allowing yourself to be completely open and vulnerable. We grow accustomed to holding in the parts of us that are hurting, or stressed, or angry, and it takes a certain strength to be able to open up and take those things off your shoulders, even if only for an hour-long class. But believe me – vulnerability in yoga is completely worth it.
I was always an incredibly open person emotionally, and a few years ago, it caught up with me. For a while, I would swing between talking about my life and personal experiences to everyone I met (and I do mean everyone), to being a complete shut-in and having walls up around every corner of myself. I’ve mostly found a nice balance now, and a good part of that balance has come from practicing yoga.
One of the things that has truly stood out to me at Sanctuary Yoga is the fact that at the beginning of almost every class I’ve attended, the teacher will ask each person in the room to mention any pain or tension they’re experiencing in their bodies. Many people say they’re fine (although, some say so through clenched teeth!), but most will mention a sore back, work stress, tight quads, overwhelmed brains, cramped hips, or any other thing they’re experiencing. This honesty within the soft, sweet, safe bubble that is Sanctuary has been the main quality that brings me to that mat over and over again.
So maybe you’re not going through an existential crisis, but I do think that anyone can benefit from opening up a little bit in yoga. The physicality of literally opening your chest or your back or shoulders in certain poses can and will directly impact your mentality. I encourage you all to leave your egos and shyness at the door, and allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel – I had my first “angry” yoga experience a few weeks ago, and as luck would have it (or, more likely, a very intuitive instructor), we were encouraged to just yell and let it all out over a few breaths in Downward-Facing Dog.
Trust yourself. Trust your teachers. Trust the practice. Now, go out there and feel.