Even Yoga Teachers Get The Blues: A Happy Ending

When you’re feeling blue, you don’t want to move at all.


If you’ve ever been down, depressed, unhappy for no real reason, you know how it feels: Sluggish. Heavy. Tired.  You might be snappy, cranky, irritable, annoyed, or maybe you’re crying, whining, or otherwise acting out. And the physical element is just exhausting.

I haven’t been down this particular road for a while, but today it hit me hard. At 2 PM I was sitting on the living room floor with my head on the coffee table.  There was very little in the world I wanted to do less than to drive my leaden, corpse-like body to a yoga class 45 minutes away. I wanted to get in bed and eat ice cream. I wanted to sleep until it was tomorrow. I certainly didn’t want to actively breathe and move and sweat.

I have been here before, oh so many times- I am an old hand at the pity party, the sad sack, the heavy-sighing-misery-loving-mopey-selfish behavior. Previously, I would have canceled my scheduled plans to stay home and wallow in my own emotional mud. Later, to complete the unpleasant cycle, I’d berate myself for acting this way, leading to more poor decisions, leading to more unhappiness.

But thank God, thank the Universe, thank everything, because today, this time, something was different. I remembered:

I am not my emotions.

I am not my thoughts.

This is not forever.

This is not even real. 

I am a happy person, and this unhappy feeling is impermanent.

This time, I remembered that if I could just get myself moving, I would feel better. That my mind, my soul, is like a lake: emotions and unhappy thoughts are just clouds in the water, stirred up by passing circumstances, and that until things settle, I could still dip my toes into the cool still bottom, that place of peace, calm, loving patience. That place where all the things that stirred me up are completely inconsequential.

This time, I moved. I changed my clothes. I put on makeup (yeah, I wore makeup to yoga class, I’m not that enlightened yet), I got in the car, I drove, I met my friends, we drove together, and the tightness in my chest broke up a little. By the time I was on the mat I was ready to fall into routine: knowing that if I put my feet here, and my block and blanket there, and inhale deeply, and roll my shoulders back to open my heart, there would be a medicinal effect in the breath. And yes, as always, there was.

It’s many hours later, and I’m so tired, but this post is just gratitude.

Thank you to tonight’s teacher, who spoke to my soul.

Thank you to my body, for treading the physical path with me, although I berate you and feed you poorly and don’t respect you and generally just heap anything but love on you.

Thank you to my community, my family, who show me love, support, respect and affection.

But most of all, thank you to my practice, for giving me the space to (finally) (maybe just finally begin to) learn that there is another way.

It also feels a bit like… well, maturity. Sorry it’s taken so long. (If you are an ex-boyfriend, I’m extra sorry). Essentially, I’m okay with this, as I have plenty of good company. We’re all pretty immature emotionally for a good chunk of our lives. After all, as the Buddhist teacher Trungpa Rinpoche once said, the best mantra is “OM—grow up—svaha.”

And now I’m off to bed, minus the ice cream and self-pity. Thanks again, yoga.

PS. If you’re feeling a bit blue and you can’t quite get yourself to yoga, watch this interview on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah and Michael Singer. Inspiring!

Suggested soundtrack for this post- Barry Manilow “I Made It Through The Rain.” Love you, Barry!

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