Breathe deeply and exhale slowly is not as easy at it sounds.
There was a tingling sensation along the length of my spine and it extended down my arms. My body fidgeted and my lips trembled as I tried to appear calm. My fingers went numb, my heart ached and my mind raced. In the distance I could hear my teacher say, “Deepen your inhales, slow your exhales,” and it made me angry.
During those early days of practicing meditation, I would often feel a rush of emotion stirring up inside me. For years, I didn’t allow myself the space to experience anger, sadness or frustration because they were “bad” emotions; too much to bear. So I bottled them up and buried them deep. When I first started to practice meditation, these emotions came up like a volcano erupting. I was afraid I wasn’t ready for it, but I couldn’t stop it. I had come to a place in my yoga practice where my heart was yearning for healing and expansion and the only way was to let go of the past. It’s true what they say that you don’t know how strong you are until the only option you have is to be strong for yourself.
I did it despite the resistance I felt at first. I made myself sit on my mat and meditate everyday. It was the first time I was alone with myself in years and while it was a terrifying feeling I needed to face that fear and be okay with it. I allowed myself the space to cry and to get angry and frustrated. I journaled about it and wrote letters in my notebook to people who hurt me and those I hurt. I repeated this practice day after day until months later something magical happened. I could finally breathe deeply and exhale slowly.