I remember going to my first yoga workshop. Since this was a new experience, it completely took me out of my comfort zone. One of the major effects of my deep depression is that I isolate myself. At that point, I had not really talked to or seen anyone for months; I wanted to be alone, but I did not want to be lonely.
Tears were very close to the surface and I had no control over when they would appear. This raw emotional state both embarrassed, frustrated and annoyed me. At this yoga workshop, I knew I would be required to share. The thought of sharing my thoughts terrified me. I brought this angst into therapy so that I could hash it out like I do with all things challenging.
Of course (my amazing) therapist had wise words of wisdom. "What happens if you cry," she said, "why would this be so awful? Find your authentic voice and people will respect it and probably respond with compassion."
The compassion I can so easily give to others when there is pain is a gift I am finding hard to give to myself. There is progress; I am getting better, but there is still work to be done.
So I go to this yoga workshop and the time for sharing finally came. I was fourth in line of a group of about ten individuals. The first girl shared why she was there, she was broken and depressed and seeking peace. The second and third had a similar story of pain. I smiled inside at what my therapist would say (giggle) when I told her of the scenario. When it got to me, so many people were crying already. It was such a supportive and loving environment that I felt I had permission, for the first time in a long time, to be my authentic self, to speak with truth, and who cared if I did the ugly cry with snot flying out of my nose (which I did by the way)!
It taught me a valuable lesson: so many of us are broken and depression can be very selfish, it's all about you. I had become so embedded in my own pain that I did not even look up to see anyone else's pain. But by sharing and listening in that community, it eventually brings healing.
There is something about yoga that brings forth such deep emotions. I have cried on my mat many times. On the privacy of my mat, I have done the quiet, personal and internal sob that gives me a release. I have seen many other people cry too and it happens so often it is unremarkable, encouraged and totally supported.
So here began more progress. I was the girl who slipped into the class right before it started and ran out (mat flying behind me) right at the end. Gosh, if I lingered someone might talk to me. In the height of my depression - people, conversations, human connections were overwhelming, too fast, too loud, and too much.
Now not only am I not running for the hills when someone talks to me, I am engaging and initiating conversation, learning names, saying hi, asking how people are...go me!
I made a new discovery: yoga was not only helping me become more flexible, strengthening areas that had not been used in a long time, but it was working on my soul, that inner part of me that had been crying for a long time.
And so I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Sarah Blondin: " The amount of weather you can endure is directly proportional to the amount you will gain."
Until next time, my friends -