Poses that trigger

This was a tough weekend at yoga training. We did a lot of poses that can trigger major reactions in some people.

First there were the backbends. These are actually really great for depressed people because they are energizing poses. I quite like them. But if you also have anxieties and traumas, they can really hit a nerve. Except for the ones done on your stomach, backbends expose all your vulnerable parts – belly, heart, neck, genital area – as you curve yourself backwards. It’s not uncommon for these poses to cause people to break into tears.

If that weren’t challenging enough, today was all about hip openers. These I really reacted to. Funnily enough, I had different reactions to both sides. When opening my left side I felt really angry! I wanted to yell at the teacher for the torture she was making us go through and for not keeping the poses short. But some poses on the right side made me almost tearful!

The hips are apparently where we store all of our emotional baggage. So if you’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for most of your life, that can be a lot! When you open the hips physically, it can then trigger the release of a lot of emotions. It’s also not uncommon for these poses to bring on anger and tears.

Also, after a LOT of resistance, I opened myself up a little mentally to some poses that I HATE! I mean really, really HATE! Not only are they hip openers, they are awkward poses that seem physically impossible for my body shape (alas, quite overweight thanks to depression). One is called “cow face” (weird, I know!). It’s a really terrible pose where, instead of sitting cross-legged, you bring the knees together in the centre, one on top of the other with the feet out to opposite sides. All the while keeping your butt firmly rooted to the floor. I could never do it, and while I’m always quite happy to do alternate poses with props, these ones were completely useless to me, working nothing whatsoever. I’d get so frustrated. But today, after I interrogated the teacher and explained my frustration and how none of the other expressions of the pose did a thing for me, a small aside helped me find the way to make it work! I could do the original pose as long as I went in from a different direction than the norm! That made me really happy.

The next hated pose is fire logs. You have your legs squared in front of you and one knee on the ankle of the lower knee with the other ankle over the knee of the opposite knee. Essentially your calves are stacked one atop the other like fire logs. Here, too, the reason for my hatred was that the pose seemed physically impossible for me. But now I can find the pose, 🙂

Aside from the occasional emotional roller coaster and struggling through anatomy class, it was a good weekend. I’m not as exhausted now and was even able to socialize at lunch. I’ve often been leaving and taking a nap instead because the program is so heavy, physically and mentally.

I’m not feeling sore or too exhausted. And I think I’ll be ready for work tomorrow, and maybe even yoga too. We’ll see. I’m also really thinking about starting to run again. I feel like maybe I need that outlet for the stuff yoga can sometimes bring up!

Have a great night. 🙂


I did a Handstand!

Today was a really tough day at yoga. I found myself getting angry, tearful and stubborn. But there were some great points too.

Overall I was really frustrated this weekend because with a special master yoga teacher I felt the class to be too difficult for my abilities. And the constant reminders to be courageous and step up to a challenge left me feeling like a failure and a coward when I couldn’t keep up. It’s amazing the reaction in my body and in my mind as my emotions veered between anger and disappointment.

But there were two great highlights. I really dislike a few poses and there are also a small number that I just think about and say, “NO, not gonna do it.” Two of these poses are handstand and wheel. Today I felt just the same about these two, but then I did both with help!

I’m grateful to some supportive yogis in my group who really encouraged me to give handstand a try. It’s something I never aspired to do in yoga, but with two supporters helping out, it was actually really easy!

Wheel is a pose where you are completely bent over backwards with you hands and feet flat on the floor. I have never been able to get into it and just stopped trying. Today with the assists, I actually managed quite well!

Lesson of the day: We can do so much more than we think we can. Sometimes we need to ignore our worries and fears and just try.