Speaking Our Truths and Acting Ourselves

Author: Jackieb / Date: 12-02-2015 / Tag: Full Circle Yoga, Yoga Longmont CO, Libby Felts, Truth /

Article written by Libby Felts
 

I remember the first time I cried on my yoga mat.

I walked into the studio with a brave face. I’d been having a rotten morning, but I was determined to lock it up.

But somewhere around Sun A, asana, as it tends to do, broke down whatever shaky barrier I was struggling to hold up between my spirit and my body and the tears began to flow. They dripped from my eyes, down my nose, and onto my mat. There may have been some snot involved, too.

Pretty.

Hey--yoga is beautiful, but it isn’t always pretty.

I’ve been thinking about this experience lately as I’ve encouraged my students to consider how they can not just be themselves, but act themselves. It takes courage to go deep inside and recognize our truest selves, warts and all, but bringing that person out, honestly, authentically, for all the world to see requires an amount of vulnerability and courage that many of us find challenging.

Where to start?

Your yoga mat is a fantastic place to practice acting yourself. Start out by wearing what you want--even if it’s not the latest yogiwear trend. Even if it is your favorite worn, holey, baggy t-shirt. If it makes you happy, wear it. (Though my fellow teachers and students will thank me for mentioning that saucha is always appreciated.)

When you walk in the door and I ask how you’re doing today, feel free to really tell me--even if that means crappy, angry, whatever soooooo non-yogic adjective you feel meek about sharing. But if you don’t feel “fine,” I don’t want to hear you say “fine!”

During class, let go of expectations of what you “should” look like in any given asana. Remember that the body and mind you bring to the mat today are unique to this moment in time. You bring with you all the life experiences that have made you who you are today, experiences unique in the entire universe to you--so no, your down dog or crow may not look like your neighbor’s. But it looks like yours.

Teachers often encourage students to “find your expression of this pose.” Here’s what we mean: your body has unique strengths, challenges, desires, and limitations. It may feel better for you to drop to your back knee in crescent twist or take an extra breath in up dog. Your body may be craving the challenge of eka pada chaturanga. A child’s pose may be what your heart really needs instead of flowing through Sun B. If you’re not sure what you need, try something and see. If you need a modification, ask your instructor for help.

Whatever comes up for you emotionally during your asana practice, express it. Joy? Crack a huge smile. Throat feel stuck? Go ahead and sigh loudly! Angry, sad, frustrated? Yes, cry. If you shed tears on your mat, the worst that will happen is you’ll probably get a really juicy adjustment next time you drop into child’s pose, along with my personal admiration for speaking your truth in that moment in such an authentic way.

Remember that we practice yoga, not perfect it--so be gentle with yourself on this journey. May we speak our own truths--to ourselves and the world. Namaste.

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