I cried during yoga.

rsz dsc 0886 300x200 I cried during yoga.

Ahhh people.

Ive rambled ad nauseum about my struggles to find my new kindergarten-groove.

Far less than feeling sad & alone & untethered without my sidekick Ive found the newly shortened days (bus pick up at 8a & hardstop to the work day at 330p) have caused more frazzle than floundering.

As a result Ive focused less on exploring new passions than I planned/otherwise might have.

Ive neither gone anti-gravity nor have I re-found my tween writer friends.

And Im ok with that for now.

Baby steps to finding my new routine are just fine with this misfit.

And, it was in the name of those baby steps, I made time for a NINETY MINUTE hot yoga class last week.

A mere ten years after I took my first one.

I arrived early.  I unfurled my mat.  I stayed & sweated through the entirely 90 minutes.  I cried. And I discovered a few things about myself.

Im leading a fear-based fitness life. 

I pride myself on NOT leading a fear based life.  I happily do one (or more!) thing each day which scares me.  The hot yoga experience, however, forced me to face the fact Im leading a 100% fear based fitness existence.
I simply sat on my mat during poses I’d normally attempt without hesitation.  There’s healthy caution & theres fear.  During those 90 minutes it smacked me in the sweaty face mine is the latter.

Ive been repeatedly told yoga is not merely an athletic endeavor it is a spiritual endeavor.   That we gain strength/ability to hold poses only when places in our body which are block with unresolved issues and energy are released.

I still dont know if this is applicable to my experience (for me there was a straight line between not attempting a pose & fearing reinjury) but it’s a concept Ive been pondering ever since the class.

Perhaps it’s time to loosen my attachment to my self-definition. 

I dont think this is a factor in my fear based fitness existence (?), but I received the message loud and MATclear it might be time to loosen my attachment to my self-definition.

The mere thought of exercising for NINETY minutes annoyed this misfit.  It irritated me.  I had to stifle the urge (I wont lie) to pretend I had some sort of emergency and rush out of class early.

Im a believer in the universe sending us messages and the fact I reacted so strongly was, to me, an indicator I might need to return.  With baby steps.  One time a week.  90 minutes of working out (!).  It wont kill me and it might make me stronger: inside and out.

I am what I profess to be.

It may not sound like a big deal–but given the fact I was sniffling on the mat I found this reassuring.  I didnt care.  I didnt give a thought to what the others in the class may have been thinking until later that day as *I* reflected on the experience.

I may be mildly offtrack, searching for my new routine and leading a fear based fitness life—but I AM comfortable in my own skin.

Im an unapologetically weeping on the yoga mat misfit & the reminder of that fact felt great.


This post took me a long time to write as I realized, with each revision, I still possess no answers.
I didn’t really enjoy the yoga class much and I think, for me, that’s a message I need to return.

The discomfort I felt happened because I was forced to confront ideas I’d previously been able to avoid (fitness ruts will allow you to do that!).

In my heart of hearts, in my quiet morning moments, I know this discomfort will help me achieve much needed (non-muscular) growth.

All I know right now is Im returning to class tomorrow.

And, right now, that’s all I need to know.


Never miss a post. Enter your email to get my latest posts delivered to your inbox.


  1. says

    Oh Boy.
    I’ve cried in hot yoga many times, and you put the ‘whys’ together so much more eloquently than I. When I was in acting school taking yoga we talked about that notion for 2 years – your body holding on to memories, thoughts, fears, what have you – and working through the poses helped release them. And 20 years later I know there are certain ones that will make me cry.

    I’d be happy to see you go back. Step outside of your ‘rut’. Keep exploring.

    If I lived near you I’d go too, and I’d never forget the tissues.

  2. Nettie says

    You nailed so many things for me right now with the idea of loosening attachment to our self-definition.

    That made ME cry.

  3. Sallie says

    I’ve heard many people say “Yoga reveals emotions” & I’ve pretty much scoffed at that.

    I wonder if it would for me?

    I know I’m not ready to find out.

  4. says

    I really like that idea of A FEAR BASED FITNESS LIFE.
    I, too, am coming off an injury (I fell off my bike) and I think I am doing the same thing.

    Hugs to you.

  5. says

    Yup, been there. Cried on the mat. It’s such an emotional thing, like it twists out the emotions, wrings them out.
    I keep meaning to go back to yoga, perhaps this is my push. I agree, 90 min. is a long time when my mind is racing to get to the grocery store etc. That’s why I’m supposed to slow down and stay put on the mat.

  6. Sara says

    I have also experienced this in traditional yoga.

    I credited it to my being over-tired, but perhaps I was too hasty.

  7. says

    Oh, goodness. How this resonates! A fear-based fitness life…oh, Miz, what an apt phrase! My fitness life has been entirely fear-based for the past two years. Flounder though I might, I can’t find the place where I protect myself from injury without imposing unnecessary self-limitations. It seems I either do nothing at all, or far too much…and since the last thing I need is more pain, I gravitate toward nothing at all.

    And the one form of exercise I *know* is safe is swimming – of which I am deathly afraid, on many different levels. I have made no meaningful move toward conquering this fear…whereas you, Miz, are getting right back on the yoga-horse.

    This is why you’re my role model.

  8. Runner Girl says

    I can relate to the realization of being what you profess.
    I am really struggling lately but have realized in a non-fitness place I am who I say I am.

  9. says

    I feel your pain a bit in having to give kaylin up on work days (and ive only had her as my sidekick for 8 weeks. Hope class goes well today

  10. says

    I don’t practice yoga (tried but have not been able to make that connection to it) but I cannot tell you how many times I have had mind-altering experiences while running or pounding out interval sessions on the bike trainer. It’s good to find that place where you can do some self examination and explore who you are as a person.
    I have been battling FEARs and letting them go for a while now and it certianly is a process.

  11. says

    Hmm, a “fear-based” approach sounds like something one is supposed to get rid of? Yet you strike me as having one of the healthiest exercise mindsets I’ve ever run across.

    So if you’re saying it’s ok to embrace our fears and not apologize for them when they’re keeping us from hurting ourselves, then yay! But I hope you’re not calling yourself to task for having legitimate fears about reinjury. Or feeling that to be open-minded, you need subject yourself to an exercise class that isn’t particularly accommodating of your body’s need to heal? But it sounds like maybe you’re finding some psychological release in the process even as you’re having to sit a lot of it out?

    Will be curious if your return to class clarifies things for you in terms of whether it works for you or not!

  12. Miz says

    It’s so interesting (she says realizing she’s gazing firmly into her navel) that my fear wasnt/isnt about the re-injury.

    When I was hotandHONEST with myself I realized it was about far more than that.

    THAT Id listen to and would have happily strutted my misfit self out the HOTdoor :)

  13. says

    Perfect timing, Miz! I’m currently nursing/recovering from an injury and I have to stop fearing my workouts in general. Also, from a non-injured view point, I think I hold onto to my definition of self too fiercely at times.

  14. Jana says

    Oh Carla, I’m sorry you are struggling and almost feel guilty how much I needed to see you are HUMAN.

    Much love.

  15. says

    “The discomfort I felt happened because I was forced to confront ideas I’d previously been able to avoid (fitness ruts will allow you to do that!).”

    And that, right there is why I love fitness. I always say – the way we approach our workouts or specific things in our workouts, is the way we approach other areas of life.

    There’s just something about fitness (yoga and otherwise) that shows us who we really are, and what we’re really capable of. And, if we pay attention, we can learn a lot about ourselves – and change what we want to change, and keep what we want to keep :)

  16. says

    Carla, loved this! I think like you, I am comfortable with what I do even though I challenge myself each time. I don’t want to miss what I love to try yoga or even hot yoga (which I so want to try) because I would miss my weight workouts! And for me, longer workouts are the norm & I don’t want to try shorter ones! Go figure!

    I read your learning here & it makes me think…

    Thank you so much for sharing your hard stuff with us & being so open!

    Eager to hear how yoga went again!


  17. says

    I think doing something that forces us to slow down is hard. Let’s face it – most of our chosen exercise is fast-paced for a reason. I’ve had similar thoughts during my yoga classes (at what point can I get up and leave?) and by making myself stay and EXPERIENCE the entire class, I do believe I’ve done so much for my mind as well as my body.

    That said, I have to tell you that I rarely want to leave early during my current yoga classes. They are supposed to be 75 minutes but we frequently go longer because we’re doing extra poses. It’s fun. In a challenging way. So maybe, just maybe, if you continue to have the “flee” thoughts, you might want to check out a different class and instructor. But good on ya for going back!

  18. says

    i am pretty sure we share the same feelings. I believe that non musclar growth is so important as well and the universe does have a way of making that clear, so true. I will cry with you….tears of joy!

  19. Melissa says

    My mom used to cry during yoga. She took a long break and is enjoying it now, no tears. Maybe THIS particular yoga class wasn’t the right fit for you. Don’t get down on yourself for not loving it. You’re not obligated to love every class. And not loving it shouldn’t be the challenge to overcome. There’s got to be other yoga pros in Austin you can try. Or you can try a yoga DVD and see how that feels :0)

    • Miz says

      Im not good these days with the DVDS as my mind wanders and then I literally wander off.

      Life of a workingfromhomeALMOSTHERMIT I think :)

      Part of what I need is/are other humans.

  20. says

    I cry often when I run- it’s almost like running ALLOWS me to feel and let go of whatever is haunting. I’ve only cried during yoga once – I walked in the room bringing with me an aura of anger and frustuation over life and kids and whatnot. I’m sure everyone could feel my angst, lol. Yoga calmed me down and let me release that emotion.

  21. says

    Beautiful post, so honest. I’m struggling to find my groove without my son at my side, I was looking forward to some time but it’s not what it’s cracked up to be :(

  22. Lola says

    Oh also :)
    I tend to run from my feelings and am wondering how you are making yourself return?

    Can you talk about that?

    • Miz says

      I think for me it is as simple as I could say: I DONT HAVE THE TIME FOR THIS 90 MINUTE STUFF (I dont. who does? its all a choice right?) and everyone (read the husband to whom I announced I was now!totally!doing!yoga!!) would say OK.

      But deep down Id know the truth and I can lie to everyone else I just am too damn old to lie to myself.

      • Veggie says

        I worked through a lower lumbar injury in yoga at my chiropractor & physical therapist’s advice – the verdict is in that it works (no fear!)

        Also, as my bikram instructors like to say: let your mind do whatever talking it wants, but let your body operate as it should. I’ve wanted to run out of the class so many times, I’ve made excuses, etc but if you just let your body detach it can really go places it wouldn’t go without ignoring your mind!

  23. Polly says

    I need to hear today that you struggle sometimes too.

    I am leading too much of a fear based life in many aspects and it can also feel isolating.

  24. says

    I weep during yoga when I’ve stretched out body and mind and just ‘let go’. I don’t allow that letting go too often and I was truly blessed to end up on the floor next to a 71 year old woman who had been teaching yoga for 30+ years during my second class. “It is more unusual NOT to feel tears on occasion in a session” she whispered to me. And here! here! on the not giving a darn who sees you do whatever you do whenever you’re doing it. You live life for you and those you love, unapologetically. That, my friend, is truly LIVING in my opinion! ;)

  25. Marie Nichols says

    Keep up the good work.. though Yoga is definately not for me some people do find it works for them and is comforting. Good luck on it. :)

  26. says

    So many demons surface -
    Tweaking out noses and calling us out -
    I think the best way to WIN is to rise about it all.

    What this all means – I don’t know, either.
    But we can all learn it together!

  27. says

    I taught myself to ice skate the winter that I was diagnosed with M. S. It was so hard. To this day when I lace up my skates, I think about how I can’t feel my feet and how dangerous that is. I do my best to think of myself as a miracle on ice instead — I can’t feel my feet, but I’m skating. That sounds like a tough experience and you are a tough girl … you can figure out what you need to do. Good luck!

    • Miz says

      THANK YOU for the comment. for some reason after I read and reread this:

      I can’t feel my feet, but I’m skating.

      Felt like a mantra to me.
      what I might chant as I skated.

  28. says

    Exactly what running does for me. I’m so struggling too to find a schedule that works with school & preschool. All my time I would like to spend on my interests is being sucked away it seems. Running is my time to think it all thru, to release my feelings, and sort thru it all.

  29. Myra says

    To be honest, I cry when I go to Zumba. I laugh a lot. But I find for the first time in my life, I am taking off layers of myself. I got skinny before, but I didn’t dig deep. My new “fitness” person is someone I don’t really know too well. It’s a littlelot scary but cool. I don’t know who’s in there

  30. cheryl says

    I remember crying at work AFTER getting my kid to kdg. (after I had already run that a.m. and going to get my first group of the day, which would total at least ten for the day…which is about 60 kids…) and seeing a group of women riding by my school. I ached to be with them. Now I am on four hour bike rides and remembering that moment, so am loving every min. of it.

    The time I have for run, swim, bike, yoga is all built around a far more important picture, so it’s just labeled “FUN” and “ME TIME” for me.

  31. says

    “Seek and you shall find!” I hope through this self-exploration you find all the answers you are looking for, and even some you didn’t even know needed answering. =)

  32. says

    I didn’t cry during yoga, but it did irritate me. I would much rather spend my time on the bike. Now I did cry trying to run again and that spoke immense volumes to me and I am not going to do that any more.

  33. says

    Yoga for me is very important. It is the most Physical Therapyish exercise I do. It helps clear my mind and relive my pain, of course that is when my Samantha isn’t trying to jump on me through it lol.

  34. says

    Hope tomorrow goes better. Sometimes there is more to it and hopefully you’ll figure out what it is. I’m sure missing your side kick is a big part of it. I admit I never cared for yoga but I always felt good after it was over mentally and physically. I’ve missed ya. *hugs*

  35. says

    This made my day -there is someone like me out there! My oldest went to college this year and my youngest (we have 5) started kindergarten. I’m trying to find my groove in this whole mom/business owner/me thing. The me part is screaming to sweat more and conquer a challenge. You have encouraged me today. At my 5:15 yoga class in the morning, I may just allow myself to be me!

  36. says

    I don’t have an aggressive fitness regime, mostly hiking and walking with my dogs and/or family, but it can be quite emotional. Every so often I realize how much I appreciate simply being able to do this since at one point I nearly died and was told that even if I recovered I would likely never be normal again. I’m happy to say that I didn’t accept that diagnosis and eventually made a full recovery. Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts! :)

  37. says

    So so beautiful. This post ranks in the top 5 of yours I’ve ever read, for me. I love everything about this: the yoga, the crying, the wanting to run out early but especially this: “n my heart of hearts, in my quiet morning moments, I know this discomfort will help me achieve much needed (non-muscular) growth.” Because I needed to hear this too. Thank you for this.

  38. says

    Hi Miz! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’ve been doing yoga for almost 3 years and have lots of thoughts about the above post.

    First, I have learned that I should *not* do certain things in yoga due to inflexibility. What is easy for one body in yoga is extremely difficult for the next body.<<I learned this from my own experience of getting more flexible. Poses that seemed so hard (and some that were impossible at the time) became so much easier with more flexibility. Us toughies want to think that it is all about trying hard–not so with yoga. If you aren't as flexible, you might be trying 3 (or more) times harder than the next person.

    Next, I wanted to say that yoga is a rollercoaster of emotions. I can't explain how nervous I was to do certain balancing poses where the center of gravity shifted so much. Then I had to learn to trust myself–and be okay to fall over. Balancing poses taught me so much about myself that had been missing in my life before that time. It is always so great to do a headstand. Backbends too. Reaching backwards with no one to catch you. It's all about personal trust.

    Openness–the first time I did up bow pose with my leg up, I experienced an openness that felt like a prayer. Part of it is just being in such an open-chested pose. It says a big joyous YES to the world.

    Lastly, I absolutely hate 90 minute yoga classes. The instructor's stories get so bad by the end! These classes can just be torturous, but I do enjoy the fact that in yoga, people actually expect women to have a very high standard. Yes, we are all TIRED in that prolonged warrior pose, but do we drop our arms, no–because we are warriors of yoga.

    :-) Marion

  39. says

    I love you! You unapologetically lay it on the line and it digs at us with such power as readers. I bet your new once a week practice will bring great things. I know I always seem to learn a lot about myself and sometimes have those reactions when having the time to get in my head for 90 minutes.

  40. says

    I love the honesty. I’m just not that open during yoga, it feels nice, and I get the high and the body buzz but I’ve never had it really open me up emotion-wise.

    Sometimes through the low points and tears come the revelations that take us to our highest peaks. :) I’m not a crier but when I do, it’s a great release, and then always comes the analysis – what made me break down? How do I take steps to fix it? It’s easy to be in denial but once the tears come – you know something is wrong enough that needs to change.

    I’m not a huge fan of yoga myself and I haven’t been back to classes since I got competitive in classes and re injured myself last spring. I am trying to figure out how to pick it up again while I start training for the marathon… probably need to get better doing it at home sticking to the easy stuff (and not being tempted by the class to do things that twist my back in ways that make it go OW).

  41. says

    What a lovely, honest post. You know what? I ALWAYS cry when I do yoga after I haven’t done it in a long time. Its one of my favorite things about the practice. my body forces me to release emotions that I otherwise wouldn’t have let go. I recently did a month of consecutive yoga (a mix of vinyasa and bikram) and I have never felt more inspired and guided on where my life should go. I’m sure this could be achieved through meditation and prayer but there is something about the mind/body synergy in yoga that I love. I’ll be looking forward to what you discover over the next little while on your fitness journey :)

  42. Zmw says

    Bikrams? Of course you cried. It’s the most challenging physical and emotional exercise you can do – initially. In a week or two your body and mind will adjust and you’ll be hooked:)

  43. says

    so so interesting. and totally a spiritual experience. i definitely embrace some fear (no skiing, thankyouverymuch). but i try and tell myself it’s rational ;) I need to challenge myself mentally again… to remind myself that I do have self control, that I am strong, and learn some new things too. somehow. perhaps i can get back into yoga!

  44. says

    Yoga hasn’t made me cry – yet! – but running has. I got to a point where I just realized “I’m doing it” I had wanted to be “good” at running, wanted to go out for a few miles and not feel like I was dying. And I worked and worked and worked. Then one day I realized that I wasn’t just working at it I was actually doing it. Fitness is wonderful in that way – hard work pays off, sometimes slowly but always surely it pays off. It made me realize that I should put that same persistance into other aspects of my life, that even though things didn’t always feel like they were gaining results they probably were and that one day I’d discover “I’m doing it!” in my parenting, wife-ing and the rest.

  45. says

    This is exactly why I love yoga. It is a deep invitation to explore what has been brewing under the surface the whole time. It invites to boldly see what we’ve been shielding from ourselves. It is so much more than a set of poses and stretches. And those ones you don’t want to do are some of your greatest teachers.