Thursday, July 14, 2011

Releasing Tension

I got my ass handed to me on a plate yesterday afternoon doing yoga. (Yes, I do yoga at home from online videos. Yes, I know I really should go to classes with a real instructor. I don't care. I'm poor.) My abs are super-achy today, but that's just because they're busy becoming a killer six-pack. Or something. It's fine.

At the beginning of the class, the instructor was doing normal yoga instructor zen talk, and saying to let go of all tension in your body and just be present. Feel your body, feel your mind, and let go. I did that. And then I started sobbing.

I am someone who is very determined to be happy. I believe in dealing with sadness, anger, etc, embracing it while I'm there, but then moving on. As I was telling my friend Frank over brunch the other day, however, when really big things happen, I sometimes become so determined to not let it bring me down that I don't fully surrender myself to grief. I allow myself a few moments of sadness, but then I pull myself out of it. I rationalize, telling myself that things are for the best, that a year from now I might not even be sad about this anymore, that in the grand scheme of things everything will work out. All of that's true.

However. A loss is a loss, and I have just lost something truly wonderful. I was a willing participant in this loss, but that doesn't mean it doesn't ache pretty terribly. As I told Frank the other day, I think I worry that if I completely let myself feel what I'm feeling, I won't be able to handle it.

I learned back in college, in Leigh Smiley's voice class, how much physical tension is related to holding in feelings. What happened yesterday shouldn't have surprised me. When I released my muscles - the muscles in my face, my jaw, my neck, my shoulders, my feet - I felt an overwhelming sadness just about knock the wind out of me. I hadn't even been thinking about the break up. Feelings have a way of lurking in our bodies though, even when we don't notice them.

I started to try to get control of myself - the class was about to start! I couldn't follow along if I was too busy crying! - but then I remembered my conversation with Frank. I paused the video, curled up on the floor, and acknowledged this loss in a way I hadn't since the night it happened. Eventually, I calmed down, and felt ready to press play again.

I feel better now. Overall, this break up is going about as well as break ups can go. Mutual, amicable, nothing but love for the other person. Despite that, I need to learn to stop judging myself for sometimes feeling a bit heartbroken about it.


  1. Found you from HTP.

    Just wanted to say that I love your sense of humour and that I totally understand how you handle sadness/setbacks/badthings/etc because I do it the same way. Usually it works but sometimes I find it backfiring and I'm crying in public about stuff I could have cried about at home :(

    On the plus side, the amount of tension you must have released between the crying and the yoga... you were probably more relaxed than my cats after a good hit of nip!

  2. Thanks! And yeah... I've definitely ended up crying in public as a result of trying to hold things in, hah.