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everything is building up and my teacher saw me crying

I was looking through some of the search terms that people entered to end up on my blog the other evening, and the above was one that caught my eye.

Anyone who has come to Yoga from a place of suffering, from a place of questioning the nature of an active mind in a state of dis-ease, may have encountered emotions rising to the surface during or after a yoga class. This is part of the purpose of the asana practice — to cleanse the body,  bringing hidden or deep rooted emotions from stored places in the body to an access point; a place where we can begin to understand the nature of the suffering. The asana practice is part of an eight-limbed path of Astanga Yoga (ast – eight, anga – attachment / limbs). Otherwise known as Raja (royal) Yoga, the other seven limbs address how we go about ending the suffering through our intentions and actions, to move to an everlasting blissful existence (called Samadhi, the eighth limb).

The act of crying in itself can be a positive step in breaking the pattern of suffering; as the practitioner becomes aware of their state of being, they ready themselves to look deeper into the source of the discomfort. This is one of the beginning stages in making lasting changes, starting with seeing things differently in one’s life. From there, anything is possible.

I can remember a time in my own practice not too many years ago, when I looked forward to my yoga practice as the highlight of my day, even knowing the effect it would have on me in bringing up painful emotions. I found excuses to leave work early to get to the shala, and the more often than not the class resulted in a tearful shavasana followed by a full-on sobbing session. By the time I got home I always felt a giant sense of gratitude, relief and groundedness. In time, my state of mind started to shift. As I attended kirtans more regularly, joy and devotion replaced sadness and self-absorption. My body became stronger on the outside; my inner shell softened and I found myself beginning to assign language to the suffering I had been feeling. In time, I learned more esoteric aspects of the yoga practice through the other limbs of the astanga yoga path and found new, beneficial ways of detaching from the emotions I had been carrying with me. The process continues to this day, and doesn’t stop changing, deepening and transforming my yoga practice. Life is a constant state of change, and when we learn to move the emotion and energy through our bodies, our mind continues to ripen and ready itself, in tune with its transformative nature and potential for limitless, boundless joy.

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra महामृत्युंजय   मन्त्र:   ॐ   त्र्यम्बकं   यजामहे   सुगन्धिं   पुष्टिवर्धनम् :

Om Tryambakam Yajaamahe Sugandhim Pussttivardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaan Mrtyormukssiiya Maamrtaat ||

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥

Meaning: Om, We worship the Three-eyed One (Lord Shiva), who is fragrant and who nourishes all beings; may he liberate us from death, for the sake of immortality, even as a ripe cucumber is severed from the bondage of the creeper.

My (short) translation: When we are ready, things in life happen with ease. We can let go from the gripping of the side of the cliff and know our fall will be padded by warm, welcoming waters. We land whole, untarnished, perfect, into a new reality where every moment we are present, at one with all of existence for eternity.

One translation (of many) of the words:

AUM/OM: Absolute reality. That which encompasses the three states of waking, dreaming, deep sleep, represented by AUM, the three levels of gross, subtle, causal, the three levels of conscious, unconscious, subconscious, and the three universal processes of coming, being, and going. Absolute silence beyond the three levels is the silence after AUM.

Tryambakam: Trya means three. Ambakam means eyes. It means the three eyes of the Absolute, which are the processes of creation, existence, and dissolution, as well as the other triads, which are part of AUM. The three “eyes” means experiencing these three stages and triads at one time, from the higher, all pervasive vantage point of the Absolute. (Relating to Shiva, the god of destruction, calamity and rebirth)

Yajamahe: We rejoice in meditation on all of this.


Sugandhim: Means fragrance. Like a spreading fragrance, all of this permeates the whole of existence, while at the same time being that existence

Pushtivardhanam: Means that which sustains and nourishes all. Thus, the fragrance that permeates all is the sustainer of all beings, while also the essence of all beings. (Pushti means ripe)


Urvarukamiva: Urva means big and powerful. Arukam means disease, like the spiritual diseases of ignorance and untruth, which are like the death of Wisdom or Truth.

Bandhanan: Means bound down, as in bound down to the ignorance and untruth.


Mrityor: Means ignorance and untruth.

Mukshiya: Means liberation from the cycles of physical, mental, and spiritual death.

Maamritat: Means please give me rejuvenating nectar, so as to have this liberation, like the process of severing the cucumber from the creeping vine.

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