This post by Nina Endrst originally appeared on BLDG 25, Free People’s Blog and is being shared as part of our collaboration series, HonestlyFIT x FP! I love her encouragement to not avoid our sorrow, stressors and troubles, but to instead use them to our advantage and work through them with movement.
I just finished leading a yoga retreat called “The Homecoming.” We moved far out of our comfort zones, only to return home to ourselves – changed. A group of very unique women gathered, perhaps a bit unclear as to why and with little in common aside from our suffering. During opening circle, I observed as some cautiously removed protective layers and spoke nuggets of truth, while others were fidgety and uncomfortable. All of this was OK.
“I don’t know what I’m doing here,” one of them said. Flickering intuition, I thought.
We’ve all experienced the energetic pull that’s hard to define – a time when we’ve made a choice, to trust the gut and go or question and stay. I felt their nervous excitement, their joy, I also felt resistance, fear – our collective insecurity about leaving and finding “home.” Here we were, mostly strangers – new terrain, with no road map but together at the beginning of something.
As a guide I try to empower with my teachings and then step away to let people do their own work. There is no one size fits all for healing, our sensitivities like our personalities are distinct and should be honored. Whether on retreat or out in the world, exploring oneself and the world is complex as both are made up of shadow and light. Sometimes we stumble upon realizations that are difficult to stomach or breathe through, others we sink into with ease and a sense of relief follows.
During our first class, I asked about fear. Everyone had a unique answer but the common thread that strung us together was worry. How will I fit here? Do I fit here? How will people receive me? What happens if I fall or worse “fail”? Most women I work with/know are scared to take up space, and afraid to speak too much truth, too loudly. I could sit here all day and rant about outside influences, societal pressures, the stories we are fed, the anger we swallow, and all that we absorb on a daily basis.
I’m going to flip the script instead and talk about how to welcome it, sit with it, release it, move through and within it. All of it. From pain and sorrow, to self-love and compassion.
Movement is medicine that all have access to, through which we absolutely have the power to create shifts in our bodies and even deeper than that, on a soul level. So where do we begin?
Well, wherever you are is just fine.
I hope these offerings help you feel home wherever you are.
Movement for self-expression and truth.
Please don’t be afraid of yourself. There is no need to shrink to make others comfortable with who you are, that is their business – their work. I’ve created a playlist (scroll to end of post) for you to use in any way that feels good to YOU. Don’t worry about a thing outside of feeling good in the moment, here. Turn it all the way up, shut off the lights and dance with your eyes closed, shake your body, stick out your tongue, or just jump around and focus on sending all the negative energy out. Visualize all the toxic chatter disappearing through the bottom of your feet, or the tips of your fingers. The truth is beneath all the doubt.
Movement for forgiveness and compassion.
This is a tough one but oh so important for our overall wellbeing. Whether intentional or not, we are going to hurt and be hurt – it’s just part of the deal. We have a choice when this happens to either ignore and suppress our emotions or acknowledge and tend to them. Heart opening yoga poses are both exposing and healing. Come to stand, inhale bend your elbows, lift your heart and invite yourself to open and receive. As you exhale round your spine, drop your chin to chest and place both hands on your heart. Send forgiveness out on the inhale and back to you on the exhale. Visualize the breath flooding the front and back of your heart – creating space.
Movement for anger.
Anger is often perceived as a negative emotion, one to be hidden, shushed, even ignored. Of course, like anything, too much, held for too long is dangerous – but the emotion itself is perfectly natural. If you are a human being, you will be triggered on the daily and just because you don’t scream at the top of your lungs doesn’t mean that energy goes away. In fact, it lives somewhere in your body and often manifests into sickness. Cat/Cow with lion’s breath is a great way to safely release anger. Come to a tabletop position as you inhale through the nose, drop your belly to the ground, arch your back and open the throat as you exhale round your back stick your tongue out and exhale loudly through the mouth. (Repeat 20 times. Increase speed if you like but do not lose the breath.)