Laying in final savasana (ed note: yogi nap) last night after a strenuous practice during YTT, I listened closely to my breath. You’re supposed to do that anyway, draw your attention to the breath cycle to help focus the mind away from its usual distractions, but this time I was listening as carefully as possible in the deep hope that no one could hear the ragged nature of each inhale, and the strained constraint of each exhale. I woke up yesterday feeling a million times better than Wednesday for no other reason that I can think of than I’d slept well and I had YTT to keep me distracted and occupied after an over-eventful week; but we’d worked on opening our hips in yoga that night and any good yogi knows the hips are where we store our negative emotions. Before we even got into the practical part of class last night, there I was like a total mush, shaking on each inhale and exhale as the wave of emotions I’d been living with and hiding from in the past 24 hours and 2 months coursed through me like wildfire, screaming for attention and trying to find some sense of release.
Emotions suck. Like, I’m sorry, but they suck. Yesterday while walking to YTT I gave Mama B a call to catch up on life since our conversation a full 6 hours prior; and while I was lamenting the choices I’ve made and will need to make in the coming days, she tried to give me some well-meaning mom advice: “Honey, you just have to let life happen.” “I KNOW THAT MOM,” I shot back at her, voice dripping with anger and sadness and confusion that I could feel releasing itself from the back of my throat, where it had settled in a long day of holding my tongue from screaming out loud. I felt awful within two seconds of snapping at her like that, she is probably the most incredible mother around and all she was trying to do was make me feel better. But when you’re tangled up in the rest of those emotions and you’re heading into a long weekend and there’s still another day in the office to go, things can bubble out of me and I’ll regret them immediately, sticking my mind into the past so I can relive the negativity until it makes me feel better, or numb. Which to be honest lately, are pretty much the same thing.
A principle of yoga is non-attachment, freeing the mind from anything that’s keeping you grounded to this world and the life that is distracting you from your true Self, your Purusha. Sometimes I think that sounds terrible: why would I want to detach myself from the lofty goals I’ve set for my life, going back as far as six months and looking ahead as far as eight? Why would I want to distance myself from the loving embrace of my family, the little reminders of friendship like a text from someone who could tell you were having a bad day, the way it feels when you settle into something emotionally like you’ve been waiting for it to find you for years? Yogis love; we spread love and we think love and we emote love, but we aren’t supposed to “love” things, whether physical possessions or people or the part of us that self-identifies on this earth, because once you understand that you’re loving temporary things, you’ll realize their non-permanence will eventually and inevitably bring you pain.
It’s weeks like this one that I’m glad part of me practices non-attachment. Because having a few hours each day and night to disconnect from the world outside, no phone, no social interaction outside the four walls of the studio helps me to disconnect from everything and just be. I’m disconnected from my emotions in that time because right now I can’t handle them, save for the wave that rushes through me and in me and around me once I’m lying in that final rest. But the rest of me is glad I’m not a full yogi on that level yet, because after a few months where everything felt like sunshine, I suppose I was overdue to feel and handle a little rain. I don’t know what’s going to happen next in the larger sense of these stupid fucking emotions that aren’t going away. But I do know what’s going to happen in the meantime: I’m going to focus on the good things, like a weekend ahead of yoga, the Nickname Posse Super Bowl and two days at home with my family. I’ll cling to the attachments I understand.
As for the rest of the emotions? I’ve got nothing. According to yogi-training, that’s the best I can hope for. Hoping for anything else at this point would be selfish. Except, perhaps, another perfectly emotional savasana after an evening in my happy place, distracted only by the present moment and a desire not to worry about the days ahead.