Open to Yoga: I wish you discomfort

The breezes of dawn can tell you secrets

Do not go back to sleep.

Ask for what you want.

Do not go back to sleep.

People go back and forth.

The two worlds meet at the doorway.

The door is open and round.

“Don’t go back and sleep!”

I have always loved this Sufi poetry. When I was younger, I first discovered Rumi’s works, and this particular poem immediately captured my attention. It almost feels like it was a premonition of the path I would ultimately find. Rumi’s words have a symbolic nature, and they refer to those fleeting moments of pure presence and deeper understanding.

The opening can last a few minutes, hours, or even weeks. But eventually, a new state of awareness will take hold, and our reality will return to its original state. We go back to sleep.

You Could Sleep While You Were Sleeping

At first, starting a yoga practice might seem like an enjoyable endeavor — a way to stretch out the body and find inner calm.

As we continue to practice, we begin to notice that we are opening in unexpected ways. We discover how deeply we have stored our lives in our bodies, our joints, and our hearts.

It isn’t easy to open up to our inner selves. I, and others who have cried or sneezed in Pigeon pose, understand how closely our minds and bodies are linked. Our bodies and minds are one.

All of the “you’re not good enough,” the “you’re too sensitive,” you ‘re-too-anythings, the ones we’ve told ourselves, and the ones we’ve swallowed down along with tears from others… Where do they go?

They store everything. They can store anything. They store everything.

We store all of it in our bodies. They are sneaky. They sneak up on us when we least expect them. Once again, the “you’re just not good enough” voices are heard.

Yoga is an open door.

Yoga does not require you to express your truth. Yoga does not ask you to sit across from someone and look at them with compassion.

No. Yoga awakens these voices, and you will feel them in your body as you work through the practice. We can’t resist what is a part of us. Yoga is not a workout. We started our practice thinking it would be a good way to get a great workout.

We open with tight hips, shaky equilibrium, and a tight balance. Our joints are rigid from all the things we have stored. This rigidity convinces our hearts that they are protected.

Slowly, we open.

We strengthen our core until it helps us accept all we have stored within. What does having a strong core mean? What does it mean to have a strong core?

We open and strengthen our core. Over time, healing takes place in layers. Yoga never ends.

Open your eyes wide. With each practice, we discover new depths in even the simplest of postures.

The door is round and open.

Hip openers were difficult for me when I first started practicing yoga. Women (and men) tend to store their emotions in the hips. Hip openers stimulate the sacral chakra, which, when out of balance, manifests itself as issues with self-esteem. Now, I can easily get into Pigeon Pose and enjoy it for a long time — with my forehead on the floor and arms extended.

Recently, I worked with an instructor who taught us a more advanced variation of The Cow Face Pose.

I felt very emotional and tight, as if this was the first time I had ever done hip openers. It was then that it became clear to me that I needed to go even deeper — deeper into my physical body because my emotional body is still healing. We continue to peel away layers of ourselves.

When we believe we have forgiven someone or a situation and are ready to move on, another layer appears. Yoga is a journey of discomfort. Yoga is an ancient practice that was intended to prepare your body for meditation. It’s also a practice of becoming conscious of who you are.

I swear that during those moments, I will not return to sleep. Sometimes, I am awake for quite a while. Sometimes, I only stay awake for the drive home. I know my practice is waiting for me.

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