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There’s (no) crying in yoga?

June 16, 2010

You know that scene from A League of Their Own with Tom Hanks when one of the woman baseball players begins to cry and Tom Hanks, being shocked and seemingly offended, shouts “There’s no crying in baseball!”? Well I love that movie and that scene. There are so many wonderful things about that movie that I could go on and on about it here for days. But I’m not going to. This is a yoga blog after all! And this post is about crying.
When I go to yoga, there is sometimes….ok often times…..crying. Sometimes when we work into areas of the body where I tend to hold my stress, such as the shoulders or hips, I find myself crying for seemingly no reason. That’s not terribly surprising to me, as I know how moving things around like that can stir up emotional gunk that needs to get out (by my crying all over my mat, myself, the floor, wherever). Other times all it takes is sitting down on my mat in the studio, listening to my instructor and I find myself with tears streaming down my face. In the past, I may try to analyze the reason(s) behind why I cried during yoga. I can clearly remember thinking “what is wrong with me? Why am I sitting/standing/laying here crying like a baby? I will have to get to the bottom of this [so that it doesn’t happen again!]!!” I used to worry that other yogis and my instructor would see me crying in class. I don’t know what exactly I was afraid of if they did see me, but nonetheless, I was terrified that someone else might realize that I was being moved so much. But then something funny happened.
I saw another student crying in class. Then, a week later, a different student crying in class. I heard from more than one instructor that they have found themselves crying while practicing asana in class. I realized that it’s not all that unusual to cry while in class. And more importantly, it’s not something to be afraid of. It is in fact better to let it out. Now I’m not saying that I’m wailing or sobbing, chest heaving on my mat or anything like that. It’s more like a peaceful silent cry. Like I’m just leaking as opposed to willfully forcing the gunk out. But every time it happens, I find myself focused on Tom Hanks’ voice yelling “there’s no crying in baseball!” Strange association, but there you have it. Yesterday as I was in class and we settled ourselves into pigeon pose, I immediately felt a huge movement of emotional gunk being forced from its cozy home in my left hip. There it was, I felt it happening and then there were tears. Lots of tears. And it felt great.

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