Last year I cried in yoga class.
Sixty plus people packed into a room to salute the sun and stretch away their stress and I was that girl who fell to the floor in a puddle of tears.
I walked in to the practice that night wound up tight. A parent at school was upset with me and I took her words to heart instead of considering that they came from a place of difficulty in her own life. I had taken on too much at work, wasn’t making enough time for myself or the people that I love and my body was carrying all of the garbage that comes with stress. I was unbalanced.
So there I was flowing along, telling myself that with each breath I inhaled peace, exhaled stress; with each new pose I was releasing the tension that had wound me up so tight I couldn’t see straight.
And then we did Goddess pose; known in Susannah-land as make-yourself-as-vulnerable-as-possible pose.
As I stood there, open, exposed, surrounded by strangers, open, tears began to stream down my face. Just as I began to cry, my instructor stood face to face with me. She looked me in the eyes. She mirrored my pose and said, “Be a goddess.” I nodded, still in my pose, thinking, “yup, right, I am so NOT a goddess right now.” I mean, how could I be a goddess with snot dripping down my lip?
She didn’t blink. She didn’t move and said again, “BE A GODDESS.”
And then the floodgates. In that quiet room with all of those people whose feet were planted so solidly on the ground, I fell to the floor and sobbed.
I sobbed for a long time. And no one came over to ask me if I was okay. Or told me it would be alright. No one assured me that if I just stopped crying I would feel better. I just sobbed, curled in a ball on my yoga mat with the quiet hand of my instructor on the center of my back. It was the first time in a long time that I could just let go. I could just feel how I felt without having to explain it to anyone. Without having to apologize to anyone. Without having to feel badly that I was making anyone else feel uncomfortable or put out by my feelings.
Everyone in the room just carried on. And the world didn’t fall apart. And neither did I.
Ah, sweet relief. Sweet release.
This goddess gathered herself up and joined in for Tree pose; her balance had never been better.