It’s okay to cry, even in yoga class

I have been teaching yoga classes for a little over a year now. I am still in the stages of establishing myself as a teacher and also work a 9-5 jobbie, yet I have some followers who come to my classes regularly.

Occasionally, there are people who come a few times and then I never see them again. As I understand, this is something that happens to everyone so it’s not really anything I take personally. (Thanks Miguel Ruiz for the reminder to “Not Take Anything Personally”…I am working on it!) Sometimes, there is a student with whom I feel a deep inexplicable and immediate connection during class. This happens to me in life as well, so it only makes sense that it would happen within the microcosm of a yoga class.

About two months ago, a woman I didn’t know or recognize came to class with a friend. They snuck in late, shut the door behind them and joined us in sun salutations. I was warm and welcoming, having no idea why they were late. Frankly, it was none of my business anyway.

Class ended, as most classes do, with a nice, long, relaxing, savasana during which the song “True Colors” by the lovely and talented Cyndi Lauper played. One of the women who came in late began to sniffle and cry. Immediately, I felt compelled to comfort her but knew that it wasn’t appropriate. There’s an idea I discussed with a friend recently called “giving someone their space” and not knowing the cause of her crying, I reasoned that this was the best course of action.

After relaxation, we did a few minutes of seated meditation and that was that. Most of the students cleared out, class being over, but the woman and her friend were chatting. I thought, if I were going to speak to her at all that this was the time to do it. Gingerly, I approached them. They smiled and thanked me for the class, saying they were both very pleased with it. I decided to take a chance and asked the woman who had been crying if I could give her a hug. To my surprise, she didn’t decline.

In that moment, I believe that I felt more relieved than even she did.

It validated for me, something that I understand intellectually but find is sometimes hard to find emotionally, that we are all the same. Her struggle is my struggle. Her pain is my pain. Her practice is my practice. There is something very grounding in that affirmation.

We saw each other and when we did, there was a genuine, raw, beautiful, human connection. And those moments in life, those connections are what keep all of us going. We are all a part of the same human family, period.

So the next time you feel the urge to hold back like I did and to create walls instead of breaking them down; just remember that you are not alone. That it’s okay to cry in yoga class and in fact, it’s okay to cry in life, too.

Someone else, who is also a part of the human family, will be there to hug you when you need it and help you find your center. I promise.

*Photo Credit:

Crying by memekode, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  memekode 


About the JOY Coach

Elizabeth Grepp

Elizabeth Grepp is a three time Cleveland, Ohio boomeranger and Midwestern gal through and through.

She is a yoga teacher, kindness advocate, wannabe vegan foodie, weekend warrior, aspiring photographer and writer as well as vintage enthusiast.

Her first introduction to yoga came while living in San Jose, Costa Rica. Since then, she has not met a yoga that she doesn't like. She takes inspiration from various types of yoga including Ashtanga, Jivamukti as well as Anusara with dashes of Baptiste and Kundalini. Most weekends she can be found teaching happy hour yoga at The Studio Cleveland.

Elizabeth firmly believes in the power of a life of empowered awareness and the ability to live powerfully transformative life by bringing the yogic lifestyle off the mat and into the world.

You can follow her adventures on twitter with the handle @cleyogi or email her at cleyogi (at) gmail (dot) com!

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