Bodies Like Rings on a Tree

September 8, 2010
Abby Lentz

A woman in Dallas shared with me how her weight gain just seemed to "happen." Towards the end of her email she wrote:

I think there is a very real possibility that I might break down crying if I become more in touch with it.  So.  I'll be needing a yoga mat and some Kleenex...

Crying is often a part of the yoga experience. Sometimes it's the very first part as people start to sob with their first deep belly breath. Sometimes people cry all through Savasana without ever knowing why. Sometimes, we know exactly why, but find being on the mat the only safe place for our tears. (I had a student tell me her husband had cancer and that yoga was the only place she could let go. Off the mat she was now the rock for her ailing husband and fearful children.)

I believe that our bodies store everything that happens to us — like rings on a tree. Some rings, we don't even know why they are there. Yoga opens up our bodies and peels back even ancient layers, which once acknowledged can rest. They never go away, but they can find some peace in their place in our history. Yoga never changes circumstances, but it can change how we react to what's going on around us.

You might first come to yoga wanting more flexibility, a stronger core — physical changes. But you'll keep coming back to yoga because it gives you a feeling of well-being. A feeling of peace.

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