Burning Away My Mask…

Something has profoundly shifted in my yoga practice. The work I’m doing is no longer instilling feelings of peace and calm like it has consistently done for the past 5 years or so. I have been experiencing a lot of anger lately, the more I meditate and dive into my inner world, the more angry I become. Even though this may not sound right to many who associate yoga with calm, it feels so right within me. I’m understanding that the anger within me has been there for a long time, way longer then the amount of time I’ve been on a yogic journey. The anger I feel that comes through in my spiritual practice is not this red raging forest-fire type of anger, but rather a feeling of anger that contains clarity, and that serves as a telescope into pain I have experienced as well as a guide to determine my next steps on my life-journey.

When I was young I had a tendency to explode and throw temper tantrums very often. I was taught that this is not ok and as I got older they stopped, and I let my anger of the injustices of this life simmer within me. Then I discovered yoga, at a pretty young age. I was always so grateful for this discovery because I felt it brought me so much calm, insight, and happiness. I thought that it really healed all of the emotional wounds within me. It was only very recently, with the help of some gifted healers/teachers who had the ability to truly see me, and by the grace of god my heightened awareness of self, that I realized that this consistent yoga practice did not heal me. It feels strange to admit, but I think it just numbed me, and served as a nice distraction and cover up for those feelings that still were boiling inside of me. Actually, I got so used to this mask of “peace and love” that I became certain that this mask was now my true identity. This was further perpetuated by people around me in my life, students and otherwise, who tell me so regularly that my voice is so calming, I’m always so at peace, I bring so much positivity because I’m always smiling, etc…

I love yoga so much and I’m an advocate for its healing ability. I believe it wasn’t until I started getting more involved and interested in working with pregnant women and birthing that I was able to step back and see that spending so much of my time perpetuating this “peace, love, light” attitude of yoga was suppressing my truest and therefore highest expression of self. There is currently so much injustice towards pregnant women/mothers in this culture we live in and I get so incredibly angry thinking about it and learning about it. Women are forced to leave their 6-week old infants to keep their jobs, women and their birth experiences are disrespected while they birth in a hospital far too often, shamed for feeding their infants because of sexualization of their bodies, I can go on all day. Wow, I’m so angry just writing this.

I don’t feel its this way for everyone, but yoga was/is a nice escape for me from reality; when problems didn’t affect me, I basically didn’t care, as hard as that is to admit. It felt so un-yogic to involve myself in such earthly, practical, issues and I really felt that just living with a high vibration was doing my part. As I shift more of my energy into birth work, I realize I have greater ability to help people in a practical, grounded way while at the same time getting to process and heal emotions within myself instead of living numb. I’m not ditching my yoga practice or teaching but taking a few steps back has given me the ability to use the healing techniques of this sacred technology to bring a more authentic type of healing to myself and others. Large_bonfire

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