Sometimes it’s hard to get on the mat, especially when you are alone. If there is worry and angst prominent in the mind, there is just no way of escaping it when you come to your so called quiet and tranquil space! And there you have one of the main points of yoga; To notice, examine, heal and purify those elements of the mind that are preventing us from being our very best and making valuable contributions to society as well as our own peace and wellbeing.
There are many physical differences between regular exercise and yoga, but this psychological awareness is a key difference between mainstream exercise and yoga practices. Sure when you are stressed out, hit the gym for a workout or a spin class; the incessant, pounding music is bound to drown out any thoughts that you cannot bear to face. Looking at the form of the leotard or jockstrap beside you is a great way to draw away from any uncomfortable internal healing process you may need to let happen. No one ever said yoga was easy, and if you’re new to yoga it could be worth noting that this is one reason why. We can make yoga physically ‘soft’; as indeed it should be to cater for ALL people, all abilities…but what we cannot do is modify yoga to make it more emotionally and mentally comfortable for you.
Allow thoughts and emotions to surface during your practice, remind yourself that all of these happenings will ebb away, just as all your other thoughts and emotions have done throughout life. When the volume is up in negativity and fear, resist the temptation to drown it out or close the door, just listen, and from that you will find that you are not these thoughts, not these emotions, they are just arising to get your attention about something that is perhaps not serving your highest purpose.
Please note that if you have ongoing and severe instances of mental or emotional distress that prevent you from functioning in a way that you consider ‘normal’, then speak to a trusted friend or expert to investigate ways to help the healing process. Nothing you think or feel is ever wrong or bad, they are just the mind’s way of alerting you to what needs to be dealt with so that you can heal and flourish.