Have you ever been rolling on your Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls and had the overwhelming desire to cry? Or to begin laughing for no reason? There can be more than just knots and adhesions in our tissues – you literally have issues in your tissues that you may be completely blind to! Let me explain more…
Only a small portion of pain that is experienced by the body is ever actually felt – the rest is unfelt and goes unnoticed beneath the surface, perhaps to never return. Except for when you grab a grippy pliable rubber ball and stuff it into your rotator cuff. The next thing you know, you’re lying on the floor, half laughing, half crying and have no idea what is going on. These cathartic releases of emotions may not happen in the moment either – it could be a few hours later where something additional triggers the flood of tears.
Crying happens in my class from time to time, with a usual mix of shock and fear as the embarrassed individual is horrified to be showing unfiltered emotion in public. It happens. We’re human – and if you need a tool to help you with an emotional release valve, more power to you. It’s better than keeping it bottled up deep inside, where it can fester and dissolve you from the inside.
I experienced release like this after a 4-day Yoga Tune Up® Core Immersion a few years ago. We had spent hours upon hours rolling, manipulating, and strengthening our deepest core muscle, the diaphragm. When you think of its central location and fascial ties to literally everything above and below it (heart, lungs, ribs, stomach, liver, front/back/side abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, hips, etc) it’s not surprising that it would share emotional ties as well. My release happened in gradual waves that began with being able to feel for the first time the reflexive stretch of my pelvic floor while breathing and ended with this weird mix of sobbing from simultaneous elation and grief. I didn’t even realize I was disconnected to my pelvic floor musculature until I was able to feel. You won’t always know what’s missing unless you go spelunking for it.
Trauma lives deep within our physical and emotional body and not all of us have developed ways to cope with it. Animals have it down pat – have you noticed how your animals shake and quiver when they are nervous? I think it has something to do with being scared in the moment, but it also helps to release any energy that would have been pent up if they weren’t moving. It doesn’t have to be something super catastrophic to be traumatic to your tissues – even a conversation that went less than ideal can leave an imprint on our bodies. But alas, as humans, we are too self conscious to shake it off when we’re scared. Our desire to save face may not be saving us in the long run.
Based on the recommendation of my good friend Nicole, I’m going to pick up “The Body Keeps Score” to learn more about the links between our yoga and movement practice and trauma. Have you read the book?
Your Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls are for so much more than just feeling better in your physical body – they can help you feel better in your emotional body as well. So how to open the emotional well? You can’t force it, but a good place to start is to create a mindful mobility practice. Instead of just rolling to get it over with, take note of the sensations, feelings, and thoughts that come up as you roll. The most difficult part will be to allow these thoughts to bubble up to the surface without passing quick judgment on them, but see if you can just be an observer in your body. If things come up that you are not ready to process, seek help from a trusted confidant or trauma specialist. Your Therapy Balls can be the starting point for you to have a conversation with your body that you didn’t know was kneaded.
- February 21: Mobility for Performance: Total Body Treatment (Nerdstrong Gym, North Hollywood, CA) (just a few spots left!)
- February 28: Banish Back Pain (Yoga Vibe at the Village, Glendale CA)
- March 12: The Roll Model® Method: The Science of Rolling (CrossFit SolCity, Hollywood CA)
- March 20: Tackle Your Tension: Total Body Treatment (Unfold Yoga, Brea CA)
- April 2: Tackle Your Tension: Total Body Treatment (Yoga Soup, Santa Barbara CA)
- April 3: The Roll Model® Method: The Science of Rolling (Yoga Soup, Santa Barbara CA)