Taking Bad Feelings to Yoga Class


There are some simple, basic things involved in safely adulting. Two of them are having a working smoke detector in your home and staying awake while you cook pasta.

Unfortunately, this past weekend, I failed the basics.

Which led six firemen to my door. Thankfully, they thwarted a very bad situation in the making. I must be lucky to be here.

I don’t know the stats, and I don’t know how long it takes for water to dry up after boiling pasta or for smoke inhalation to make things feel all dreamy and confusing. I do know that a neighbor on my floor must have called the fire department pretty quickly, and that the firemen probably saved my life, or at least saved me and my condo community from a real threat.

So with that experience behind me, I hauled three big-ass sacks of emotional baggage into yoga practice on Sunday. Fear, shock, and guilt. And believe me, I felt the effect they had on my body and my practice.

I was really inflexible in practice — all over. Usually I can count on good flexibility in my lower body and decent flexibility in my upper body. Nothing was giving in this practice. Everything was tightly, stubbornly uncomfortable. That was probably the fear.

My mind didn’t focus at all during this practice. I came out of poses early, couldn’t keep my eyes closed during even the most relaxing poses, and wiggled my toes and fingers constantly instead of calmly going through the poses and flow. Maybe that was the shock.

I also had really tight twists. That release you usually get when you hold twists long enough — it never came. My transition movements between poses were slow, choppy, stiff, and even a little painful. Hello, guilt.

I am grateful to be well today. Like I said, I got really lucky due to other people’s fast actions. I’m writing this partially as a celebration that I am here to write this, and mostly because I want other people to know that they’re not alone in the baggage they’re carrying from place to place, feeling the physical effects but going through the motions anyway.

I am intrigued by physically experiencing these negative emotions manifest in my yoga practice. That is a true testament to yoga’s ability to bond the mind and body. Sunday’s practice wasn’t my strongest, but do I ever appreciate that mind-body connection even more now. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s practice and feel certain I’ll notice the mind-body healing that time offers us.

And, I have purchased new batteries for my smoke detector. I’m also committing to myself to slow down to ensure a set of sleepless nights doesn’t lead to the fatigue I felt prior to this accident. I don’t have to learn those lessons twice!



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