"Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss, dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen, but felt only by the heart" - Unknown
Is it common to cry during a yoga practice? It's probably not a question I get often, but I have cried during a yoga practice. In fact, I have cried a few times. Have I had students cry in my classes? Yes, I have.
Although society has somehow conditioned us to do everything in our power not to cry in front of people (except maybe our spouse, mom or the dog), sometimes a cry is completely impossible to control. From a yoga instructor’s perspective, it certainly doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable.
Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga is an inward journey that is brought outwardly by the physical body in our asana (physical) practice. We move, twist and stretch emotions that have been dormant, or stuck in our bodies allowing to soften and crack in other areas of our life.
The way we use our energy is also quite different. In other sports we are expending energy into a ball, in a racket, in the ground or with a bat. All that intense emotional energy is projected outwardly, everywhere else. We throw all these emotions out there without really addressing how well feel about a particular situation. Unlike a seated meditation, we are moving with our emotions. This emotional energy bounces between ourself and our mat. As we expend (exhale), it is refueled (inhale)...immediately.
Our emotional sensitivity is also increased in a class setting. Depending on how deeply we drop into our practice; when we are practicing the same sequence and sharing the breath with each other, it's only natural that we are releasing emotions at the same energetic frequency. So, its possible that the tears that flow may not all be yours, just you picking up on on someone else's emotions.
So the next time you fell an overwhelming need to to cry, do it. It's totally okay. May you leave class feeling lighter and clearer. Let your physical practice be the food that nourishes the soul and your tears remind you that you are alive, you are human.