Tom Hanks once said “there’s no crying in baseball.” That may be true, but there is a lot of crying in yoga. At least there was for me tonight. How did I end up crying on my hot pink yoga mat in the middle of Salt Yoga South here in Tulsa? Well, the story actually begins a few days ago.
On December 27th Carrie Fisher died and it broke my heart. If you know me in “real” life, then you know that Princess Leia and Carrie Fisher have been two very important women in my life. As a little girl, I dreamed of being Leia. She was tough and crass, but also kind and beautiful. She was the kind of princess a weird girl like me might actually be able to be! I loved Leia. I still do. And I love Carrie Fisher! As an adult, she made me feel like my crazy was something sort of normal. Her honest and hilarious stories about her life with Bipolar Disorder made me feel that, while yes I am crazy, at least I am in good company. She was one of the writers who inspired me to start this blog. If Carrie can be honest and funny and great about her mental illness, well then so can I.
Her passing hurts. A lot.
So what does Carrie Fisher have to do with yoga? I’m getting there.
Since Tuesday, I have been mourning in a perfectly manic depressive way. I spent an entire play date sneaking off to the bathroom to cry. I spent my graduation money on a spur-of-the-moment Princess Leia tattoo; a tattoo I love so much I had to sneak away to the bathroom at the tattoo shop to cry again because it’s so perfect. Then I got really mad at my messy house and threw a fit like a child, and then got drunk on wine while watching youtube videos about a green monster named Om Nom with my three year old. That same night I sent my BFF text messages that showed her a whole new side of my crazy, and fought with my mom. You know, totally normal stuff.
But then today I felt ok again. No crying fits, no anger. In fact I was really excited for most of the day, because that same three year old has decided to start pooping on the toilet! It’s awesome!
Ok, so one more time- how did I end up weeping on my mat in front of a bunch of strangers, instead having one of my signature run-to-the-bathroom-and-hide sob fests?
The magic of yoga.
For the last three days I have been feeling embarrassed and ashamed of my feelings. I’ve felt so silly for being so sad over someone I never even met. I felt MAD that I was crying in front of my daughter and couldn’t really tell her why. I looked into her sweet face and actually said “I’m just crying because I’m crazy.” Well THAT’S just a great little tid bit for her three year old mind, Lauren! Good Job! I felt guilty for being mad, I felt stupid for feeling sad. I felt like the crappyiest, most broken person ever, because I was sad. Carrie Fis
But tonight, moving through asanas and flows, I just let myself feel.
Practicing yoga means learning how to acknowledge your feelings, and then move on.
Both physically and mentally, yoga is feeling discomfort and just letting it be. It is allowing yourself to be who you are- at that moment- without judgement. Knees aren’t straight in that forward fold? Who cares. Your humble warrior is more like a wobbly warrior? Doesn’t matter. You’re sad that one of your idols has become one with the force? That’s ok. You feel like you’re not a very good mom? That’s ok, too.
Yoga forces me to look at myself without the lenses of self-hate, embarrassment, or judgement. Yoga lets me accept that, while I’m on that mat, I am perfect. I am who I need to be, where I need to be, when I need to be.
When I am on my mat, I am just me. Perfectly imperfect, and loved by every cell in my body.
Yoga allows me to love myself, even if it’s only for a few moments. Tonight loving myself was so relieving that I just cried. I lay in savasana with tears running down my face and I just let them be. The sweet instructor (Chelsea Pirtle) came over and helped me relax my shoulders and that made me feel even more cared for. Tonight I was at peace with myself for a whole hour, and it was magnificent.
Oh yeah! And I graduated this month! I am officially Lauren Baker, MA. I'll tell you more about that soon....
Till next time,