There was a girl in my yoga class yesterday who cried. I was practicing thankfully, as I’m not sure I’d know what to do if a student were affected like whilst I am teaching – although of course it’s entirely natural; life doesn’t wait ‘til we’re ready does it, so you manage (sometimes the responsibility involved in being a yoga teacher blows me away...!)
But anyway, I spoke to my teacher (as he’s also a kind of mentor to me at the moment), after the class about how to deal with this and why it could happen; and his suggestion was that, yes yoga releases emotions – in particular twists and heart-opening backbends are known to make you a bit weepy – but he also believed that it was down to that student’s own expectations as well. When you’re in a challenging class and struggling with certain postures, it can be really confronting. “Why can’t I do this pose?” “When will I be able to do it?”
I sometimes imagine there’s this little battler inside me, he’s like one of those sports-mad Dads who desperately wants their kid to play footy for Australia, frantically egging his son on (I’d just like to add that his son is a toddler), slating him if he misses a ball, calling ‘out!’ when the ball was just out – you know the type, it’s not realistic, but it's how we can be with ourselves sometimes. Now I don’t know if this was the case for this girl of course, but for me it shows how we can manifest our emotions, our struggles, our strengths and our weaknesses within our in our practice. But really, this is where yoga has worked for me – when you take that sticky mat metaphor and apply it to your life.
In terms of how I’d cope with this in a class of my own, his advice was simple. Just be there for them but don’t pry too much. It’s pretty heavy this yoga lark.