This confusing event may have been the thing that drove me into the blogosphere. Emotionally and physically exhausted and embarrassed as all hell, I ran to Google to search, "crying in yoga", "sobbing in yoga," but the results didn't resonate much with what I was feeling.
Nothing catastrophic has happened to me this week, just many little things. I've been working quite obsessively on a grant proposal so much that it permeates my dreams and my time on the mat. As a result, my sleeping schedule has been skewed, and my bandaid solution has been to drink massive quantities of coffee, which fills me with anxious, edgy energy instead of rested, calm energy. I received word that nothing more can be done for my uncle's cancer and he is to move onto hospice, the latest casualty of my family's BRCA1 mutation. I feel guilty that I never return home to visit my family. Things continue to break on my car, and I suspect I pulled something in my back during Tuesday's practice when I wasn't paying attention. Thus, my body ached all day on Wednesday and I was tempted to skip class altogether. My compromise with myself was that I would go, but that I was going to give myself permission to take it easy.
I did not communicate any of these things with my teacher (at least not until after kukkutasana), but felt irritation when she would catch this slacking off. "Palms to the floor, mb," I would be reminded. Practice was stiff and sluggish, and the whatever-it-was in my back was hindering binding and backbends. I hated it. Frustration. My teacher was not going to let me out of dropbacks, though, something I struggle with even on the "best" of days. Complete and utter hesitation and damn it was painful. "Breath," I was reminded, but nothing would come. We came to the last one, "just one more," she would say. I would raise my arms and begin, but kept coming out of it, agitated and shaking. FAIL. This happened a few times, and with tense chuckling, she would say "you're going to do this. One more." My arms up, she tilted me and back I went, whimpering the whole way and without breath. I erupted into a sob upon being brought to standing. It think it surprised me as much as everyone else in the room. My teacher spoke softly then, encouraging me to focus on slow, deep breathing throughout the rest of closing. The rest of class involved me just trying to hold it together.
I bailed on class the next day, and I've been dissecting my emotions since then. Initially, I felt anger and frustration and directed it at the practice and at my teacher, needing to place blame for being pushed out of my comfort zone. I sent a rather curt email to my teacher stating that I would not be in class. I felt she didn't understand how painful the backbends were because they come fairly naturally for her. I still felt emotional all day on Thursday, and I was afraid that more adjustments would bring on more tears. After relaying the story to my boyfriend, he asked, "if you had to sit down and think about why exactly this bothers you so much, what would it be?"
I think the main thing was my bruised pride and embarrassment. Personally and professionally, I like appearing as though I have things together. I like appearing strong. It really, really gets to me to have my vulnerabilities exposed, especially in such public ways. This necessitates a careful façade. For example, when I think back to my qualifying exam a couple of years ago, all I can focus on is the questions I struggled to answer in front of my committee. Those moments replayed themselves in my head for weeks, along with the feeling of hot embarrassment and my cheeks getting red. Similarly, the thing that really gets to me about this is that I was pushed to a point where all of my vulnerabilities came to the surface. And everyone knows.
My teacher has described this practice as a mirror. You see yourself reflected back in ways that sometimes make you cringe. I will return to our Mysore classroom again on Monday, with a bit more humility. I will face my teacher and fellow students for the first time since my little meltdown. I will return to dropbacks, the scene of the emotional crime. And, in the future, I won't let my pride prevent me from explaining that I need to take it easy for a night before resuming normal practice. We'll see what happens.
Oh, a recent post from the Confluence Countdown made me smile and provided me with a good reminder that even teachers have their battles, though they may be different than our own.