There is a place inside of me where all my negative shit lives. No, its not necessarily in my heart, or my hips or my solar plexus. But it’s definitely inside of me. I was having a conversation with a friend this week about how negative emotions absolutely live in our tissues. That’s why its so important to process (or digest) and release those emotions before they manifest themselves in some kind of physical form.
You see maybe the law of attraction people got it right in the way they talk about energy. According to the law of attraction all is energy. (How very yogic of them.)
So, thoughts are just a subtle form of energy. When you think one thought others of similar frequency are attracted to you. And eventually those thought forms become “manifested” in your life experiences as events, or goals met or a healthier body etc.
This is not so far fetched, because yoga has really been teaching us about this for thousands of years.
But what happens when you have negative thoughts? You know the sadness, the betrayal, the grief, the loneliness, the broken hearts. Those things that your parents may have told you to just “suck up” and get over. Or maybe you turned your attention to work so that you didn’t have to think about all those negative emotions.
Those emotions are energy too. And physics tells us that energy is never created or destroyed, so… just because you worked your way into not thinking about them or just because you sucked it up does NOT mean that the energy of those emotions went away. They just changed form. And I believe that sometimes the form it changes into, manifests in our lives as tightness in the body. Achy shoulders. High blood pressure and other chronic disorders.
In our modern world there just are not many outlets that are socially acceptable for us to let go of the negative energies that are constantly bombarding our lives. Crying, tapping on ourselves (as with EFT), shaking (as in shamanic dance), yelling, all kind of make you look like a crazy person in the eyes of someone who just doesn’t “get” it.
Hell we even tell our little kids to suck it up and not cry, when crying is incredibly cathartic. Its an excellent way to release negative energy before it makes its way into “solid” form in your tissues, bones and organ systems.
So we don’t cry, shake, dance or scream. We work through it. We push it down. And down those hurtful feelings go, right into our joints, our muscles our organs. So why am I talking about this?
Recently, I’ve been feeling called right back to my mat. This time not in my typical flowing vinyasa kind of way. Not my yoga practice of 20 years or so that has focused primarily on movement and strength building. But this time to a practice that is almost entirely focused on the yin postures. The poses that, in all honesty I HATE.
I do not like to stretch. I never did. Even as a kid gymnast. But alas my body is calling for deep, deep, can I say, soulful stretching. The kind that is not aimed at getting more flexible. Because as far as almost 40 year old American women go, I’m pretty damn flexible already. So, I’m not stretching to get or even keep my flexibility. Instead I’m stretching to let go.
There are hurts. Hurts that go so far back that run so deep that my conscious mind can’t even find. Even in doing something like EFT my cognitive brain can not find the language to articulate this pain.
Its likely trauma that was experienced even before I had language to express it. Trauma that goes back to infancy or even in the womb. Stuff that I wouldn’t have even had the cognition to actively try to release from my body at such a young age.
Or maybe not?
I’m told that I was quite the cry baby as an infant. I cried and cried and cried and as I said earlier crying is incredibly cathartic and a great way to release negative energy before it sets into the body. But as I got older, crying was NOT tolerated in my house. I was regularly asked when I was upset “How’s crying going to fix it?” And so, a goal-oriented problem solver was born.
In the processes of thinking of and then carrying out solutions to the problems I faced growing up (which by the way is not a “bad” quality to develop) I built a shell around me. A shell that didn’t let others in too deep because “I could do it myself and hell I was supposed to do everything myself.”
My life focused on action and doing. I scheduled things. I was rigorous and rigid in my rituals. Pretty damn OCD if I really want to be honest.
But a shift is happening. A shift in my life towards more softness, more yielding. In my life I have to go with the flow a lot in terms of my daily activities. When you live as a mom and substitute teacher there are lots of variables. From not knowing if or where I’ll be working from day to day. To what I can or can’t schedule because of my children’s activities and my husband’s busy travel work life. There is certainly a lot more need to be malleable and flexible in my exterior life.
Now, even interiorly, Life is calling me back to my body in my yoga practice to release all those things that lie deep below my consciousness. To even, as it will, become more malleable, flexible and fluent on my mat.
And so, I step on my mat. I neglect the sun salutations and the standing postures. And I get low to the ground. The lower the better, where I feel safe connected and rooted to the Earth beneath me.
I settle into my postures, not focused on the breath like I was taught, but this time laser focused on the sensations of the stretch. The sensations I’m experiencing in my muscles. I don’t care what the pose looks like. I’m not reaching for an ideal expression. However, with each moment, I release deeper and deeper into each tissue that a specific posture is focused on.
THAT is the sweet spot. Deep sweet release. The discomfort I feel in each pose is welcomed. Because I know that the discomfort is releasing things in my body that just need to go. And in the process, this soulful release draws me nearer and nearer to my true Self.
When I’m done I can feel the lightness that arises in my body. The tingling. The ease. And the weird part….I actually look forward to doing it again….even for a yogini who HATES to stretch.