Therapeutic Yoga: How One Pose Can Get You UnstuckWritten by Lori Pollard
I have dabbled in yoga, meditation and various spiritual teachings now for about 10 years. Over the last 7 months I have become much more immersed and serious with my yoga practice, so when I attended my first therapeutic yoga workshop recently, I was a little thrown off when I proceeded to bawl my head off during class. There was a faint, familiar voice in the back of my malleable, dozing mind saying, “There’s no crying in yoga!” One minute I was feeling warm and cozy in a pose that for the life of me I still can’t pronounce, and the next minute the wise, compassionate instructor was placing a
tissue in my hand. The pose brought me to my knees, and opened my heart in a soothing, familiar ineffable way that completely enveloped my entire body. In that moment of emotion, I couldn’t have articulated exactly what I was feeling, but instead, I felt it at such a primal, involuntarily physical level that I broke down and just succumbed to my tears.
I was able to compose myself by the time we all sat up for what I call, criss-cross apple sauce pose (the actual name has a lot of syllables that again, I never remember). Still grappling with my unexpected emotional outburst, I heard the instructor say in a very gentle voice, “That pose emulates lying on a mother’s chest.” I held back my knee jerk reaction of sitting up bolt right and yelling, “No way! That’s exactly what I felt!” This would’ve been totally inappropriate, so instead I pretended to act like what the instructor said was completely obvious, and tried to transition to the next pose with grace. However, focusing proved to be impossible, because my feelings of longing were experienced at such an illogical, inarticulate, crashing cellular level. Did I mention that I am a therapist and a Life Coach? I’m rarely at a loss for words, and I’m pretty open to having emotional experiences for crying out loud, so what the heck was going on here? Secretly, before my spastic epiphany, I was somewhat skeptical of therapeutic yoga. Again the small voice, “So, this is therapeutic yoga? No wonder they call it that.”
For some time I have read, intellectually understood, and even embraced the whole Deepak Chopra- mind-body ideology, but until that moment, I had never experienced, or felt it in such a profound way. In that moment my body allowed me to open up, bypassing my mind through my heart to a place that I had been unable to reach with other therapeutic methods. My body said to me, “You just want to feel safe, loved and nurtured sometimes Lori. It is a basic human need.” My body also told me that even though my mother wasn’t perfect, I still longed for this woman, not just a mother figure, but my mother to make me feel loved and accepted just as I am. It took my healing to a much deeper level that transcended the need for words or analysis. The truth is I didn’t really need the instructor to give me a name for what I had already named for myself. And even more shocking, I feel it would’ve tainted my experience to dissect it with words, and my over active left brain. The wisps of images of me and my mom flew through my mind, and told me everything I needed to know. It is the difference between hearing a description of the ocean, versus actually sitting on the beach smelling the salty, sticky air, while feeling the moisture on your skin, and witnessing the vast, unrelenting waves crashing over you.
Last Updated on January 09 2012