It all started (like most good things do) with a coincidence. I was invited on a work trip but was unable to attend, so, as a consolation prize, the PR took to me Hayman Island a few months later.While up there, I had the opportunity to get a treatment at the day spa which included a private yoga class. It was delightful. I’m not going to lie.
Never really one to know my downward dog from my camel pose, I went into said class with lots of enthusiasm and no idea. The practice was yin yoga, which consisted of a series of poses that were held for 3-5 minutes each, and worked on releasing tension in your hips, lower back and butt.
With each stretch, I found myself fighting harder and harder. My hips were tight. It hurt. I wanted to swear and throw the little wooden Buddha in the corner at my teachers head. How Zen of me. As she instructed me to ‘breathe’, ‘release’, ‘let go and surrender’, the urge to throw something became stronger and stronger.
Here’s why: Women, in particular, tend to hold a lot of emotion in our hips. We hold anger, resentment, grief and frustration there. All the good ones, clearly. As a result, our hips become our emotional storage units and because of all this ‘storing’ they get tight, locked up and jammed with shit we really need to let go of, but rarely do.
That’s where yin yoga comes back into the picture. Our daily lives are so frenetic, fast-paced and ‘yang’, that we need to take some time out to reset the system and rebalance. This can be done through many avenues, including meditation and of course, yin yoga.
After my class, my teacher warned me that I may experience sudden outbursts of emotion. You know, go a little nuts. With a skeptical nod, I walked back to my room, only to be faced with an overwhelming sense of anger. Oh gosh, I was angry. She’d advised me to let it all out. Cry, scream, throw my pillow, punch the doona… do whatever it takes to release the emotion shit from my hips that we’d just spent an hour loosening. I did them all. In quick succession. Only to find myself more emotionally clear than I had been in months a few short moments later. The moment of insanity had passed, and in its wake, only space, clear thinking and really, really loose hips had prevailed.
The profound impact that practice had on my life was the catalyst for big chances going forward. It fascinates me that one small, seemingly insignificant event can change your path and lead you on a journey you had never dreamed of experiencing. Since that day, that practice in fact, I’ve started walking down the path of re-discovery. Practicing yoga regularly, reading eye-opening books like The Alchemist, The Celestine Prophecy and next on my list, Siddhartha. It’s a work in progress, my hips are perennially tight (even after a 40-day yoga revolution) and my meditation practice could be likened to getting a Brazilian wax (slow and painful), but I’ve never felt more alive, happy for fulfilled.
Sure, I’m new to this and a Kindergarten student in the school of spiritual living, but who cares? Not me. I’m too busy adding a little yin to my yang and sighing with relief that the little wooden Buddha was never thrown. Phew!