Has Yoga Ever Made You Cry?

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February 8, 2012

“Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the principles of Yoga.” ―Kripalvanandji

I’m one of those people that have never cried during or after a yoga class. I’ve heard the stories from fellow yogis who attended a class that brought out a deep emotional or spiritual release that moved them to the point of tears, and I’ve wondered,What the hell is wrong with me?” Yeah, I’ve gotten a few drops of condensation in the eyes after an especially moving asana practice, but I’ve never achieved a full-on gusher.

Well, I’m happy to report that it finally happened – I got my yoga cry – and it was GOOD!

Plus, I got the added bonus of experiencing my spiritual breakthrough while practicing my all-time favorite, numero uno form of yoga. It was a Thursday, the sun was rising out of the Atlantic Ocean and sending streams of light peeking through the clouds, the soothing sound of waves crashing onto the beach provided the consummate playlist, seagulls were soaring through the air, and the wind and warm air swept across my tired, achy, winter-worn body. I had not been on a beach to practice yoga since October. I had not been on a beach vacation in over two years. I had let myself forget how the combination of all those elements, how that complete communion with nature could lift me to a state of absolute bliss.

Sunrise Yoga Rocks!

As I went through my opening sun salutations and stood with my hands resting against my heart in anjali mudra (prayer position), I was overcome with emotion and began to cry tears of joy. I stood there with a heart bursting with gratitude for the majesty of the ocean before me, for the healing power of the sun and warm winds, and for this awe-inspiring practice of yoga that has brought so much goodness to my life. Instead of rushing to the next sun salutation, I stood there in tadasana taking the time to savor the sobbing, letting the sun shine down on me, fully present in my prayer.

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” -John Vance Cheney

I have to say – this might have been one of my coolest yoga experiences to date!

The funny thing about this trip is that, before I went, I spent a lot of time looking into the yoga studios in the area of Florida that I visited, and I had a full list and maps for a few that I was excited to visit. The first day of vacation, I was ready to head out the door to visit one of these studios when my husband (who, I don’t admit enough, is very wise) asked me why I wasn’t heading down to the beach for my practice. Great question, and I’m so glad he was there to remind me! I picked up my beach towel, headed to the beach, and you know the rest of the story. I never picked up that list again, and instead, I had my daily cup of beach yoga nirvana each and every day of my vacation.

Daily Downward Dogs Beach Style

I did make it to one yoga studio, the 3rd Street Beach Yoga class in South Beach Miami, and I’ll be writing about that yogalicious experience very soon!

I’m home from vacation now, back to practicing yoga inside a studio, but I’m not letting myself get bummed out about that. Instead, I’m listening to the wisdom of Dr. Seuss:

Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”

And I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, only a little over a hundred days until I get to practice outdoor yoga again on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie again.


Leave a Comment

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Alissa February 8, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Beautiful post, Maria. It sounds like an amazing experience. I haven’t cried myself from Yoga – but I probably haven’t been doing it much, and there’s nothing majestic about my basement!

However, I was practicing meditation a few months ago when it was warm out. I had all the windows open in my bedroom and I was sitting on the floor. I actually stopped my brain for what felt like a long time for me and I felt like I was just part of the world…it was so peaceful that after I overcome with emotion of just “being” in that moment – I cried. It was beautiful. I want to get back to that place again.


Maria @dailydownwarddog February 8, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Alissa – thanks for sharing. That is such a great feeling, and don’t worry, you will get to that place again if you keep up with your meditation! There’s something about yoga and meditation in the open air that makes it special – can’t wait for Spring!


Sondra February 8, 2012 at 9:14 AM

I love the beach, especially at dawn or dusk. I feel like I have been dropped into Utopia. So glad I stopped in to read this, I am headed down to Naples at the end of the month and will forgo the studio scene at your recommendation! (Well. may one studio, if I have a car!)


Stacy February 8, 2012 at 9:26 AM

This is lovely. Experienced bliss just reading. 🙂


Ashley February 8, 2012 at 10:03 AM

My yoga cry actually just happened yesterday morning. I was in savasana pose at the end of my practice, listening to the yoga channel on Pandora, and suddenly I was overwhelmed by feelings of bliss. This feeling always reminds me of my time at college so it also aroused feelings of nostalgia and love in me. I definitely had a good yoga cry. 🙂


Alicia from Poise in Parma February 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM

It’s almost ridiculous how many times I’ve cried on my mat. The last time was groundbreaking however as it was out of gratitude. I’ve been working on a post for the blog from the experience – it was really moving, and tremendously awesome.


Maria @dailydownwarddog February 8, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Gratitude is a beautiful thing!!


Dee Eisner February 8, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Awesome Maria. I had an emotional release during our teacher training, when our “student teacher” came around during savasana and gently, but firmly pressed down around the collarbone area, and I felt such a huge release physically – so much tension being given permission to leave! That led to an equally huge emotional release that suprised, and like you, amazed me. I will never forget it.


Dee Eisner February 8, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I adopted the same Dr. Suess mantra when I retired.


EcoYogini February 8, 2012 at 1:40 PM

i’ve cried three times during a yoga practice- twice was because i was having panic attacks (boo!) and oncebecause i was just so grateful to have found such a fabulous instructor after years of terrible yoga experiences in studios 🙂

ps- atlantic ocean yoga ROCKS! sadly, up here in Canada, the atlantic ocean is too cold to practice near, but I’m crossing my fingers for Yoga in the Park (right on the ocean) to start soon (march maybe??). 🙂


Maria @dailydownwarddog February 8, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Oh Yeah – get outside and practice yoga any time you can! Here is a link to my post about the Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga Outdoors: http://dailydownwarddog.com/top-10-reasons-to-practice-yoga-outdoor/


Judiesjuice February 8, 2012 at 9:12 PM

I’ve shed tears a few times during a yoga class but for unknown reasons. Now that I am a Reiki Practitioner and Yoga Teacher, I’m aware that the body tends to hold onto emotions, events, etc and asana can help release these emotions. Whenever I focus on heart openers, I remind my students that crying (or laughter for that matter) is a form of release and can happen at any time. I never had a yoga teacher talk about this during class. It has only come up during chakra discussions with an Energy Healer/Yogi that I have studied with.


kate February 9, 2012 at 6:02 PM

this is such a wonderful post! i too have had my yoga cry, multiple times actually…sometimes they are sad tears and sometimes joyful and sometimes unexplainable…the first time it happened, i was an emotional wreck going into practice but when i cried, it was such a release and i left that day feeling like i was walking on air….oh the power of yoga! great blog!


Rachel February 28, 2012 at 2:55 PM

YES! Yoga has brought me to tears on a regular basis!! And it’s the best feeling EVER!


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