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I hit the yoga mat for the first time this morning in nearly two years. I could make a bunch of excuses as to why that is –  some of them actually hold water. But the truth is I was avoiding it. Because something happens when I do yoga. I crack open. And that means losing control. Gulp.

But there was this sweet convergence of events that happened recently that helped me to find my way back to the mat. The first is I made the decision not to register for any triathlons before September, essentially giving me a free pass on training for the first time in four years of doing two or three a summer. At the time I didn’t know why I was choosing that – I just noticed I wasn’t registering and decided maybe there was a reason. One of my wonderful tri buddies helped to name it for me. Upon hearing my decision she said, “I wonder what’s going to move into that space you’re creating…” That was it.


I desperately needed some space. And that realization scared the shit out of me because I’ve long since learned that me + space = change. And frankly I was tired, having just caught my breath after eighteen months of turn-myself-inside-out, rehaul, rehash change. I was cooked. Put a fork in me.

Then I met a friend for coffee and serendipitously stumbled upon the final event that led me back to the mat, like a seductive lover walking me to bed. She had just come from this amazing yoga class and I remember looking at her fresh and sweaty face, bright eyes and shiny spirit thinking, “I’ll have what she’s having.” It turns out the yoga place was right next door to where we were meeting for coffee, so she walked me over and I proceed to fall in love. Again. Despite my fears and resistance.

I was out of excuses. It was all too easy. Could the universe be more obvious in its signs? I sighed and bought a punch card for 10 classes.


Which led me to the mat this morning. It didn’t take long for the cracking open to happen. Two minutes into the 90-minute heated vinyasa flow practice, and I was in child’s pose, sobbing quietly into my mat. “It’s okay,” I reminded myself, “you don’t need to understand what this is about, just let it out. Create some space in you. There you go.” It was like one of those instructions you read on shampoo bottles: Rinse and repeat. Again and again.

After the awkwardness of the initial release, it felt deliciously good.

I was so in the zone of my own experience, I wasn’t even aware of the other thirty people around me. I just assumed they were moving fluidly through the poses, while I was the odd woman out silently sobbing on the floor in child’s pose. After class, I spoke with the instructor and sheepishly acknowledged how child’s pose tends to have that effect on me – often catching me off guard, emotion coming up from inside me like bubbles dislodging off the sides of a glass of ginger ale.

“You’re so not alone”, she said.

Apparently the whole class this morning was teeming with emotion, with people frequently dropping down into child’s pose, their backs shaking slightly as they release the tears that came up. That’s when I got it: we’re in a lot of pain right now as a society. It’s universal. We’re tired, over-worked, worried, anxious and in need inspiration, meaning and connection.

Our reserves are depleted and we know we still have a ways to go.

Whether it effects us directly or is a result of our personal circumstances, it doesn’t matter. We’re all swimming in it every day just by virtue of living. It’s out there, the pain, like a collective sob that wants to happen. It’s a natural consequence of the times we’re in – we see, we hear, we feel. We’re humans being and sometimes we get full-up and need to be emptied.

So I’m happily busted. I’m so grateful for the mat and that space. And the fellow breathers along side me.

Amazing things happen when people breath together. This is know.

5 comments to " Busted "

  • Lael,
    I loved reading this peice. I had this experience of crying on my mat only once. It caught me by surprise, but felt so cathartic once I let the initial shock slip away. Reading about your experience made me yearn for it again!

  • Beth Richardson

    I swear by my heated yoga practice. It lets out what needs to come out, clarifies what needs to be clarified and invites in what is needed. And leaves me fresh, aware, renewed and a few pounds thinner. It’s all good!

  • Angie

    I cry too. And I have been avoiding it too. Thanks for sharing your story, I think I’m ready. I even brought the yoga mat into my house a couple of days ago. Thank you.

  • Kim Simmons

    Thank you so much for this post, Lael. Between the budget vote and climate change I am struggling to figure out what it means to stay healthy without getting stuck in denial/avoidance … recognizing that saddness and anxiety are appropriate feelings for right now is helpful – not to be fixed but to be experienced. So hard when one is a mother, busying trying to “be there” for others.

    I hope you have a kripalu stay in your near future – I was shocked how much I liked it there!

    • Lael

      Thanks for your comment, Kim. I love the tension you point to – between staying stuck (some can see it as wallowing, unproductive) and being an agent of change (which can feel lonely, exhausting). I also love how you call them “appropriate feelings” because that’s such a validating term..underlining that what you’re feeling is felt by many. Beautiful. So glad to hear that post resonated with you! Thanks for sharing!