Whenever I meet someone who has never done yoga before, I seem to get the question “… But does it hurt?” The lead into that is sometimes, “I know yoga is good for you” or ” I have heard yoga is like stretching”. Neither of which statement is without fault, but to ask if yoga hurts is tricky. Mostly because the answer is YES.
Yoga can and will most likely “hurt you” at some point, not like a lover leaving you or a car accident (although trust me when I say, the quickest way to LEARN to be IN you body is to do yoga, inevitably you’ll get cocky about rocking a “tough” pose and hurt yourself. Sad, but yoga didn’t actually hurt,YOU hurt you.) kind of hurt. There can be general soreness in muscles that haven’t been used in a long time (long time defined as months or years), there will be the ache in your body when you don’t go to class because of vacation or sick days off. The truth though is that yoga rarely will hurt in the physical sense (see above statement about self inflicted ouchies if you disagree), instead our practice can bring out the emotional hurt.
You see once the physical practice gets started and your body gets moving, on the cellular level you body wants to purge shit that has been stuck. Pain that you never moved past, fears unbeknownst to you that you cling to, and that is where yoga hurts. Yoga hurts in the reliving of a bad break up, a painful injury that had you on the floor in tears. Yoga isn’t just about making you stronger or more flexible, it’s about clearing the old and unneeded. Yoga is about releasing and letting go not just in tight muscles but in your thoughts and views.
Yes, yoga hurts, but so does life. And like life, you can cling and grasp and struggle, or you can let go and have faith. It may hurt now for a little bit, but better now than later when you can’t even remember what it was that wanted to let go.
Ps, I know, I know. A little too deep and heavy for a Thursday, but perhaps these are the words you needed to hear.