On My Yoga Mat

There IS crying in yoga! Feel the muscle and emotional tension release on your mat. | happyfitmama.com

Last weekend, I attended two very different yoga classes. It didn’t have anything to do with the style or teaching of the class. It didn’t have to do with the teacher. It had to do with the emotions I had on my yoga mat.


I hadn’t been to a Saturday morning class since Labor Day. My kids’ finally finished soccer last weekend so I was back to my usual routine. I came into class with a lot on my head and heart. I had learned the night before that a friend through blogging had suddenly lost her 13 year old daughter. We’ve never met in person but she’s always been a kind, supportive person, someone that you would like instantly. My heart ached for her loss. How do you deal with that? As a mother, I put myself in that same situation. What if it was one of my kids? It gnawed at me as I flowed through class.

Savasana came. As I settled in, my thoughts were still on the tragedy. The tears began to flow. The teacher for this class has an amazing voice and will sing during Savasana. I don’t know the song she was singing but her words made me cry harder.

There are angels all around us.

I felt like a goober for crying in yoga although it’s not the first time it’s happened to me. Yoga is a great way to release the physical tension from my muscles. I’ve also found when I am holding emotional tensions in, yoga gets it out. It really does allow me to really feel what I feel.

I left the studio and cried the whole way home until I could hug my own kids. It felt good to release. To let go.

Release emotional and physical tension on your yoga mat. | happyfitmama.com


I arrived later than usual to class. I was one of the last people in the studio. It was a full class with the only remaining spots available in the far back. Usually, I’m up front or somewhere in the second row. This was new territory. Or really old territory. When I was a beginner yogi, that’s where I started so I could watch everyone else and not have anyone watching me. It was less intimidating to be in the shadows.

Class began and we soon were flowing through sun salutation A. My body was going through the motions but my thoughts was ping ponging. I was distracted. Watching other yogis. Thinking of iced coffee afterwards. Going through my to do list.

I was not on my mat but in a land far, far away.

I realized what was the matter. I was in the back of the room. I felt disconnected from the rest of the class. If I’m in the front, I have no one to look at. When we turn to the long side of our mats or when we face the back, I see everyone else, but I really don’t. I pay attention to myself and that’s it. I’m present in my practice.

In the back, I felt like I was standing outside the (imaginary) circle looking in. It sounds weird even though I had three other yogi’s to my left. The teacher didn’t neglect us either. She taught to the whole room, not just to the front. She walked between all the mats and adjusted everyone equally as needed.

When this dawned on me, I started to think – Do others feel this way? Am I being weird?

It’s funny how at one time I felt safe in the back of the room. Now it makes me feel left out. By physically changing my perspective in the room, I changed my practice. And not in a good way. Or at least on Sunday. Maybe I need to go to the back more often?

Have you ever cried in yoga?

In yoga or group exercise classes, where is your “usual” spot?

22 comments on “On My Yoga Mat

  1. You know I hate being in the back! I can also relate to crying on my mat. Yoga definitely has a way of bringing all your emotions to the surface, or having them bubble over, if you’re already in a bad way. I think it’s so good you had that release. Sounds like you definitely needed it and I’m so sorry for your friend and her loss. I have been reading about it quite a bit and just cannot fathom it.
    Allie recently posted..Why Every Runner Needs to Know About RAS #TheRunnersBrainMy Profile

  2. I have yet to take an actual yoga class, I always practice at home, but I totally get what you mean by yoga releasing tension, emotional and physical. It’s amazing what we hold on to and aren’t really conscious of it.

  3. I’m not a yogi, but I’ve had runs that help me relate to your weekend yoga classes. Sometimes I’m physically and emotionally engaged and other runs just feel flat.

    I have also always been curious about yoga. If I took it up and developed a practice, I think I would want to understand the spiritual side of it, too. I wonder if that would help guard against hollow sessions like the one you had on Sunday? What do you think?
    Kate recently posted..How to kick the post-marathon bluesMy Profile

    1. Running absolutely does that for me too. It’s helped me work through so many emotions.

      With yoga, I can’t say that I’ve felt the spiritual side of it but more of the energy. Like when we chant OM or stand in Tadasana after going through Sun Salutations. It’s powerful. Yoga is a lot like running – some days you are all in it and others you aren’t. It’s all about staying present in that mile or that pose.

  4. I actually like to be in the back of the class. While I feel connected to the instructor, I also like that introspective feeling I get being on my mat, out of everyone’s view. I’ve had the other experience too, that release of emotions, when I least expected it, at the top of wheel pose! Those backbends really open me up; my instructor told me that backbends also make you feel more vulnerable.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted..If I could turn back time…My Profile

  5. I read an article or essay a while back about how someone’s teacher encouraged students to take a different spot in class and how it really encouraged them to notice all the little habits throughout the day that form our perspective on life and how by changing one or more of those habits, a whole new world opens up. I totally understand the feeling of looking in on the circle when you’re in the back of the class. I’ve been hiding in the back of class a lot lately since I’m modifying my practice a lot. It’s definitely a different experience.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Hiking with Kids: 9 Tips to Make it Fun for the Whole FamilyMy Profile

  6. I don’t practice yoga but some of my best friends love it so much they have become teachers – they tell me all the time how amazing it is but it never has felt like something I need to do. I don’t know why but after reading your post I want to go out buy a mat and start – that probably sounds silly but it’s just the feeling I have.
    Torry @ A World Without Wheat recently posted..WIAW #4My Profile

    1. That’s not silly at all! When I first started yoga, it was all about the stretch and powerful postures. But now I get so much more out of it because it’s more of working me mentally. It took a few years to get there though!

  7. I find myself more centered when towards the front or middle of the room…maybe because I feel like people are watching me (whether or not they ACTUALLY are or not). In the back, I also loose my focus ๐Ÿ™‚
    lindsey recently posted..WIAWMy Profile

    1. Not every yoga session is like that. I’ve had plenty where I just go through the motions and don’t really have any feelings about it. I guess when you really tune in and really feel what you are feeling, as one of my teachers says, it clicks.

  8. I am definitely a back of the room kind of girl! I’m still really new, don’t know how to do half the things we do in class, and I am also dealing with a hip injury and can’t fully get into some poses yet. I definitely feel more comfortable back there now, but I’m hoping that I’ll slowly make my way up to the front in the future!
    Kristen recently posted..Add Me To The Injured Runners Club.My Profile

  9. I have never cried in yoga, but I’m not to the point in my practice where I am able to “let go”. I’m usually in the back because I am intimidated by all of the pros doing their inversions. Such a terrible tragedy. I see this all of the time as a nurse in the pediatric ICU. I go home from every shift and squeeze my babies so tight.

    1. Funny story – I was in a class that was an all levels. It moved kind of slow for me and there were a lot of older people in class. I thought I was all cool taking some poses farther. Until the 70 year old man and the 60 something year old woman on either side of my mat popped up into headstand effortlessly at the end of class. I guess they schooled me.

      Thank you for what you do in the ICU. I always wonder how anyone can do that. But I’m so thankful that there are people like you who do!

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