For today's practice, I did a "Restorative Poses for Relaxation" sequence. This is one of the sequences from the Yoga for Relaxation DVD that I hadn't tried yet.
While I was settling into a supported chest opener, memories came popping into my mind that I hadn't thought of in a long time - hurtful memories, vulnerable memories. I recognized them, and then set them aside, and focused on breathing. But I wondered 'why'. Why were these random memories popping up? The scenes that ran across my mind were ones that had no connection to my day, or even my life anymore. They were moments I hadn't thought if in a very long time. They weren't awful things, but they were things that I find unpleasant to think about because they hurt my heart when they happened.
A few minutes into the pose, the teacher said that the pose could be more difficult than expected, because opening your heart, and elevating it about the rest of your body is a very vulnerable position. She said that people who had been hurt in the past, and who were still guarding their heart would have trouble relaxing in this pose, holding it for an extended time, and keeping the mind quiet.
I was taken aback. Here I was wondering why these memories were resurfacing, and then here was the answer. And the answer was upsetting. Am I really still guarding my heart from the low points of past relationships? That idea is unnerving.
I'm not sure what to do with this. Should I just recognize that I have issues (who doesn't), and then keep going? Is acknowledgement enough? Or should I address these old hurts, and do more to work through them? Should I seek out more heart opening poses, and use yoga to work on this issue of self-guarding?
I'm not used to feeling uneasy AFTER yoga. I'm used to using yoga to feel more calm. Tonight's outcome was very unexpected, and I'm just not sure what to think about that.