Day One Yoga Training: Why Am I Doing It?

I have never been a huge fan of yoga. I found it hard to stay focused on my mat, always wanting to know what time it was till the class was done. I did not see the point in flailing my body around on a Mat. I was more into hard core boot camp classes with weights and squats. When I pushed my self hard in boot camps my mind just automatically shut up. I never new the reason I loved boot camps so much was for that very fact that my mind went relatively quiet in the moments of straining to lift a heavier weight then the day before. I never thought of it as being meditation but in a way it was, it gave me silence. This is not the best way to lift weight you should focus your energy on what you are doing and be mindful of the muscles you are using but for me I just wanted some quiet. It was my escape. Yoga on the other hand did not give me silence. It gave me more thoughts and self doubt as I saw everyone around me seemingly in peace flowing through the movements. I still did it because I new there was something to it, I new it had healing properties I just had no idea what. I did notice small things change when I did it. My hips would not slip out, I became more flexible, my posture improved. I am sure there was more but at that time I was very shut off from my body and I was not ready to heal the mind/body disconnect from my childhood.

When your mind and body stop communicating sometimes it is to keep you safe. If you were neglected, abused, or traumatized, it can happen your mind will dissociate because the sensory overload is too much for your nervous system to handle, too much to comprehend it may shatter your world too much and cause much more suffering then if it just detaches. Detachment is one of the best fail safes your body can offer. It took me years to understand my inability to feel was actually a gift. Once I realized this the work began. I needed to thank my mind/body and let it know that I was safe now, that it was now safe to feel. This is the mistake many people make is they forget to go back and learn to feel again. They just keep running and there body stays detached believing the threat is still there. It’s not there anymore. Once you are safe you can go back and heal the separation. It’s not really separate you just couldn’t feel it for awhile. It takes more then just learning about detachment to heal it you have to experience healing and for me yoga is part of that journey home.
Let’s say you break your leg, you cant walk but you don’t just go around not walking the rest of your life in pain you go to the doctor after the accident and they put you in a cast and after it heals you need to learn to use the muscle you lost again. While it was healing it was not safe to use to much. Then you do the exercises and build up the muscles and then you can walk again. Your leg would not heal if you went home and just started reading about how to heal broken legs but never actually did anything. You could read all the books but they would not heal your leg until you go to the doctor and get it set and do the exercises. Emotional pain and trauma is the same. It’s okay to need help and you have to put what you learn in books into practice. You don’t know anything until you apply it and often we need help.

I have spent years studying psychology, the cognitive parts of mental illness but a key component was missing, the other half, the body. The Body Keeps Score, a book by Bessel van der Kolk really helped me to understand this path of healing from trauma. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to heal. In the book he talks about Yoga being a key therapy in helping individuals heal from trauma. This was just further support for my curiosity with yoga and a glimpse into what it may have to offer.

I had another experience in yoga last winter that confirmed to me that there is something in yoga that is very powerful. I was taking a Yin restorative class and I was struggling to get into pose due to my inflexibility when the teacher said my lack of flexibility was my inability to let go of the emotional pain I was holding in my hips. I thought about this for a minute then said to my hips, “okay I am ready to release whatever I am holding onto”. I dropped about four inches down the tension just released. I went from hardly being able to learn over my crossed legs to almost having my head touch the ground in a moment. It took my breath away and changed the way I viewed my mind-body connection. I had to know more. This is what has lead me to to the yoga mat. Well it lead me to thinking about taking yoga training for about six months but now I am doing it. I want to experience more of the healing yoga has to offer instead of just reading about it in books. I find classes are just to informal. I want to know the psychology behind it and then experience it on the Mat and in my life. Yoga isn’t just something that happens on your Mat it something you take with you everywhere you go. The book, The Inner Tradition of Yoga: A Guide To Yoga Philosophy For The Contemporary Practitioner by Micheal Stone is an amazing start to understanding what yoga really is. It is not just a bunch of poses put together in a sequence it is so much more it is the key to not suffering or at least not so much. It also teaches you how we suffer and why in such a simple, easily, and comprehensible way you feel like you always new but somehow forgot.

Even though I grew up in Nelson surrounded by yoga, eastern medicine, energetic healer, and everything that is not western medicine I never let it in. I never believed it. I always went to western science to western psychology but it is so empty without this other side. I have read so many texts books that teach you absolutely nothing about healing or about living life to the fullest. They list facts about suffering with no cure but medication. I am slowly opening up to the other side and to be honest it feels like coming home. I hope you join me on this journey and please reach out if you are skeptical like me but you want to learn more.

Namaste.

 

kyliefeller

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