In September and October of this year, I went through a 4-week 200 hour yoga teacher training (YTT). Every week we focused on a different type of yoga. Week one was hatha, week two was vinyasa, week three was yin, and week four was restorative. I had no expectations for this training, but I was also ready for whatever might happen. I had heard stories of other yogi’s reactions and experiences while going through YTT, so I was prepared as much I could be.
Through the first two weeks of the training, I was coursing with energy. I felt like I was plugged into a socket, and I had an unlimited electrical current. When one practices yoga daily, I learned that it was not uncommon for the chakras to open, and the channels to clear to allow energy to flow freely. In the past, I had practiced yoga one to three times a week. During this training, we practiced six to seven times a week. Apparently, I had tapped into a continuous energy source.
It was during the third week I had a powerful and emotional experience. It was during this week, my energy changed. Yin yoga, or really any yoga for that matter, can bring about emotions. I think especially in Yin yoga because the purpose is to hold poses for an extended period of time. When we hold poses, it can help unlock trapped emotions. While I “emotionally” skated by in the first two weeks, feeling a positive emotional charge, it quickly changed in week three.
When week three began, I was looking forward to it because my body was tired of the more intense physical yoga, but I got more than I was expecting. From the very first pose in Yin yoga, I found myself getting angry especially in poses like reclined butterfly, baby dragon, twisted dragon, fire-breathing dragon, frog and sleeping swan. I noticed I was the angriest when I had sensations in my hip flexors and groin. Luckily I knew emotions might arise, but it was still alarming to feel anger taking over for no apparent reason.
When I do feel anger, I know it is not a primary emotion. There is always another emotion trailing behind it that wants attention. I just have to be willing to converse with the feelings, let them surface and uncover themselves from their hiding places, and speak.
On one particular day, I felt more frustrated than usual. As I was holding the yin postures, I felt as if I had no choice. In yin postures, we are supposed to sit with the sensations we feel, as long as it isn’t painful, and just notice what is going on. As I was in dangling pose, also known as uttanasana, I felt anger crawling up through my spine and belly and making its way towards my throat. I felt mad because I didn’t want to feel the sensations that day; I didn’t want to hold the poses for 5 minutes. But I eventually backed off of the pose. While I was hanging, I rested my hands on blocks instead. Suddenly, I felt less angry and more like I had a choice. Once my body realized that, it actually started to open more.
As we moved through the yin yoga practice, anger kept popping up, and I continued to make the choice to sit with it. In one particular pose, baby dragon, I started to struggle. As I felt all the tingly and uncomfortable sensations in my hips and groin, the anger ignited like a fueled fire. As my anger peaked, I started to cry. It can be quite maddening to experience emotions with no apparent cause why. I was also battling with the fact that I was crying in front of other people. I have no issue with crying, as I find it to be a good release, but normally I am in the safety of my house and not in front of strangers. In spite of my reservations, I didn’t want to deny this release, these emotions, so I allowed it to happen.
As my tears fell, I started to feel my mom’s presence. My mom passed away in December 2014, and there have been moments where I felt like she was around especially right after she passed away. It was usually through dreams or symbols like songs on the radio, double rainbows, and birds and their behaviors. But over the last two years, there has been a drought. I have felt alone left wondering if I had disappointed my mom or if she had just simply moved on.
As suddenly as my anger appeared, so did my mom’s love. My tears turned to joy and sadness. As I held the pose, the feeling of my mom’s love intensified. I was in a cocoon of security and comfort like being in her womb. It energetically felt as if my mom had her arm wrapped around my shoulder. I hadn’t felt a reciprocated bond in years and certainly not like these feelings I was having.
My tears continued to fall taking my anger with it. I felt wrapped in love. We moved through our practice and more postures. My tears continued to fall because I missed my mom so much. My mom was there; her spirit was tangible, or at least her love was. As we settled into one of our final poses, reclined butterfly pose, I felt my mom again. I felt the actual weight of her love like an invisible blanket had been draped across me. I was able to feel, receive and accept her love.
There are so many times I just want to share my life with my mom. I miss talking with her daily. I want to hear how her day went and what she experienced. I miss having the one person who knew me in a way no one else could; the woman who gave me life. I will never share a similar bond with anyone else. What I am left with are saved voicemails from her, photographs that just keep getting older and a peace lily plant from her memorial.
To have this momentary connection of my mom being present again reminded me of our bond: the love of two souls who agreed to be a part of each other’s lives through birth, life, death and rebirth.