Having just returned from a yoga retreat as the final chapter of my current yoga teacher training course, I am feeling a sense of renewed spirit. It’s not especially surprising that this happens when you have no distractions of work, home, social activities, etc., and you’re there to concentrate on deepening your practice. However, to my surprise, this morning’s yoga session was more powerful than I had anticipated. Not only was the sweat pouring out of me like a tap creating puddles on my mat, but moving through a back-bend to a fold, things started stirring. Suddenly I was overcome with emotion that wasn’t there a moment ago. Or maybe it was but I simply didn’t feel it.
I am not ashamed to say that as we held this pose for a few minutes tears flowed from me and my body convulsed. I tried to stop it but it wouldn’t. It is not unmanly to cry and this is not an assertion just because it happened to me. It’s still a deeply personal incident, and for me is not something I like people to see. We still have emotions that need nurturing and attending to.
The strange thing is I have no idea what these tears were for. There are plenty of things that could cause it, but there was nothing specific. And then moving to the next counter-pose I could not cope. I chose to take a modified Child’s Pose and covered my face, where the tears poured. It was uncontrollable and for no known reason. But it needed to be released.
Sometimes all we need is release. The burden no longer needs carrying and it’s time to let it go. The transformation is profound and it’s something to celebrate.
I later discovered that the women in the group who saw the tears (I could no longer hide it) found this more masculine and attractive. And the other men in the group simply accepted it without question.
So celebrate being a man and cry if you need to. It’s liberating. And, by some accounts, attractive and masculine.
What’s your mukti?