How Yoga Changed...

Embracing Pain to Experience Joy

Pure, unfiltered joy

We all want to experience this kind of happiness. A happiness so raw and so natural that you can feel even your soul smiling. Joy is an unexplainable state of being that has no expectations, no boundaries, no consequences.

Have you experienced joy?

If you find yourself questioning whether you’ve truly ever been filled to the brim with joy, then the answer is that you likely have not. So, what is holding you back?

How do you reach that state of ultimate bliss?

Although it may seem counter intuitive, embrace your pain. Really feel and experience your darkest and your lowest moments. Allow yourself to feel broken.

We’re all human and we have been blessed with the gift of emotions. We have an uncountable amount of feelings that are often pushed aside and hidden beneath layers of denial and excuses.

Pushing back on and hiding negative emotions DOES NOT make you stronger. We typically chose to share only the beautiful moments, especially on social media. We boast on those moments that are filled with success, love, and laughter. Even people that exhibit the greatest amount of external ease still feel the chaos and confusion of self-judgment, and they, too, experience pain that the world around them can’t even imagine. Only behind closed doors do we allow those deep, hibernating emotions to awaken and take hold. It takes years to rebuild a wall that you tear down in moments. It takes years to heal from a hurt so great that your entire soul feels broken.

Inner turmoil is something that I’ve struggled with since I was a child. I’ve doubted myself, I’ve beaten myself up, I’ve sat in the eye of a tornado within my own being. My healing has taken place over the past 8 years and is ongoing. I found joy in my marriage, in my faith, and in my practice. I found love, light, laughter, and hope while fighting internal battles. With the right people by my side, a husband who cherishes and loves me through those dark moments, and a God whose unconditional fervency resonates in my being I’ve been able to experience ALL of my emotions and take the steps that are right for me in order to heal.

What does yoga have to do with experiencing EVERY emotion?

One reason I chose to hate yoga seven years ago, was simply, it made me feel. The emotions that surfaced were ones that I had buried deep in my gut. I doubted my ability to succeed in this practice. I hated myself for not being better. For not being perfect.

One reason I chose to stick with yoga seven years ago, was because it made me feel. Unlike the above statement, the fact that I was experiencing real emotion and real drive was enough to keep me coming back to my mat. My practice was inconsistent, because I feared that not only would the emotions I had been hiding from surface, but those emotions would encompass and embrace me.

embracing pain to experience joy
Two years ago, I did the best thing I could possibly do for myself. I allowed my emotions to control my yoga practice. I began to sort through each emotion; anger, sadness, confusion, doubt, happiness, love, excitement, and so on. I allowed each movement to demonstrate an accompanying emotion. I allowed myself to cry, to laugh, to fall, and to fly. I allowed my faith in God to take precedence.

Two years ago, I experienced joy for the first time.

Yoga did not create this joy, but my practice helped me find that light, that joy, that was buried even deeper than my dissociative tendencies. Yoga allowed me to lose my head in order to find mindfulness. I began letting go of tangible and malleable thoughts and experienced authenticity and clarity. I found more room in my heart to love. I found it meditative to reflect on the past, allowing the joy those moments created to overflow my life for the very first time. I grew deeper in my faith and my walk with Christ, and I fell deeper in love with the man who had stayed by my side through even my lowest of lows.

Yoga did not create my joy; Yoga cleared the way to help me find joy within myself.

We need to FEEL and EXPERIENCE our own hurt, and we need to grow from those lowest moments in order to feel and experience unquestionable and unfaltering JOY. There is no need to rush your healing. Take your time, really feeling and sorting through each emotion, finding pieces of your joy along the way.

Like yoga, joy is a journey. Joy is a path already within you, waiting for you to take the first step toward sorting through the shattered pieces.

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  1. Amanda Sides

    Amanda Sides

    January 24, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Beautifully said! Yoga has taught me that our true nature is bliss. Our emotions are normal, yes, and we need to work through them and experience them, but at the core of our being is a connection that is pure bliss. And we catch glimpses of it from time to time. I do think that by shutting down our “negative” emotions, we’re teaching ourselves to shut down ALL emotions, even the joy. So happy for you and the joy you’ve found. 🙂

    1. Megan Reddix

      Megan Reddix

      January 24, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Thank you, Amanda! You are so right. It really is human-nature to be bliss-filled. How are we truly able to experience that happiness if we haven’t allowed ourselves to feel the other emotions we are shutting down? It is my belief that God created the night so we could also have the day. The dark is just as important as the light. It brings a new appreciation for all that is wonderful!

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