on yoga, self-esteem, and the color yellow
i pretty much completed my yoga challenge for december… my goal was to go to at least two yoga classes, with one 25 min solo practice per week. except for a bout with the stomach flu i made it to 2-4 classes a week. i only did one solo practice the whole month, but, to that point i was barely home with enough time to sleep and eat — lesson learned, slow the fuck down.
the most interesting moment of my month diving back into yoga was just a week in. i had sampled three different classes that first week. i felt great, my body was thanking me. but i realized that i wasn’t getting to the mental state of relaxation that i had once attained at the end of my practice.
sunday was my first hot yoga class ever. i can’t remember what intention i set at the beginning of practice, i had wanted to relax and to stretch, but i was also beginning to acknowledge a mental block that was preventing me from being productive and moving forward as a photographer.
the heat felt amazing, and the class had just the right flow for my muscles that were tight from the long runs in training for my first ultramarathon.
towards the end of practice, our instructor guided us to savasana, or corpse pose, laying on our backs. the room was dark and warm, my eyes were closed, my breathing was slow and deep. on my right side i could see and feel this solid block of yellow energy that stretched from my chest to my feet. i realized that that this represented whatever was what was blocking me from even attempting to reach my goals. in my meditation i wanted to destroy that block that was stifling me. yup thats right, i was meditating in yoga class and i was thinking about destroying something! but i wanted it gone, whatever this was that was making me feel so paralyzed, i wanted it to stop!
it took many forms - i was pounding at it, breaking it up, then it would reform into a sticky mass that i would get tangled in, i would chop at it like i was in a jungle with a machete, i would push it, at times i felt like Sisyphus. as i came toward the end of the meditation, i had not eliminated the yellow energy but it was shrinking and slowly starting to be washed over with waves of blue and purple.
i reflected on my experience that evening and decided to google what yellow meant for the chakras. i didn’t even need to open a single webpage, the first entries made total sense to me. the yellow chakra was related to sense of self and self-esteem, and was located in the solar plexus. i discussed it with a reiki practitioner and she explained that the blue and purple that i saw were of the throat and crown chakras which represent truth and spiritual understanding.
becoming aware of my psychic block was such a crazy aha moment for me. i’ve found that since i left graduate school my confidence as a photographer has crumbled, and being aware that i have been allowing this to limit me is the first step that i can take in overcoming it. i am an introvert who can, at times, live too much within my own head, and apparently my chakras show this. my goal now is not to get rid of that yellow energy, but to learn how to work with it. i need to act more, live in my head less and stop listening to those silly voices that tell me i’m not good enough and that i shouldn’t even try.
i am learning that, like running, yoga takes me to a place where i can start to become stronger and more aware in both mind and body. this awareness is slowly helping me gain confidence in conquering both the real and imagined roadblocks i face in life, and i am grateful for every second of my journey.