I had a lousy day at work yesterday. There’s not much to say about it except that I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by a failure of communication. It took a toll.
So I wrestled with whether to go to yoga last night, as planned. I’d been in my yoga clothes all day while I worked, just so I would be more likely to attend the evening class. But when the time approached for class I vacillated: I had only been able to cross off a couple items from my to-to list. I had hardly seen my family all day. Could I take the time? Should I take the time?
I decided I should, and that I was in such a sorry state that I’d be no good to my family or my clients without a break. My husband reminded me, “After a yoga class, you’re always glad you went.” So stewing all the while, I trudged off to the studio after dinner.
The first twenty minutes of class were the usual routine. I went through the motions with my body while all the while rehearsing in my mind whether I had handled the day’s major problem well or poorly, and listing all the other tasks I was now behind on because I’d spent the whole day troubleshooting.
And then I melted.
This is difficult to explain. In my first year of doing yoga really seriously, some of my teachers would say peculiar things like, “Now, melt your heart” or “soften your heart” when we had come solidly into a pose. Or, even more cryptically, just “Melt.”
Melt?! What the heck was that? I could follow instructions like, “Make sure your right leg is bent at a ninety-degree angle. Your right foot should be extended straight toward the front of the room. Your left leg is straight and the left foot is angled at about forty-five degrees.”
Those things I could do.
But melt? Soften? Huh?
In class last night it suddenly struck me that my heart was hard, actually hard as the studio floor; that I had devolved from situational frustration to a more systemic anger; and that I needed softening.
So when hitting my poses – or at least the ones I could do – I allowed my heart to melt. Physically, this means opening the chest, ensuring that the shoulder blades are plugged into the back, and possibly lowering the chest a little closer to the floor when you’re in a pose like downward dog. Emotionally and mentally, it is a letting go.
And thanks to yoga, I was able to do that –- to let go of the anger of the day. That softer feeling mostly lingered for the rest of the evening.
To me, “melting” or “softening” in yoga is when I can hold a challenging pose without straining or gritting my teeth or just praying for it to be over. Being soft means that I am in balance, body and mind, fully engaged in what I am doing but not overexerting—and not wanting to be anywhere else than where I am at that moment.
I wonder if I can bring this Melted Mindset off the yoga mat and into my work today. Ommmm.