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My Body is Crying

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by mm718, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    Several years ago I noticed that when I did certain yoga poses opening up the lower back I started to cry. This is also happening now daily during meditation. For three weeks I've been having these "therapeutic crying" sessions but don't know what the tears are about. I had a rough childhood, have struggled with health issue, and experienced a lot of related losses-- lots of unexpressed sadness--but during the crying I have no sense of what it's about. Sometimes my mind will even wander to mundane things like what I am going to have for lunch and my body continues to heave. I am leaning into the emotions and trying to really feel them but I don't have any real connection to them. It's as if my body is crying and I am just along for the ride.

    What is this all about? Has any else been through this? Is this going to be a part of my recovery or is this just pointless? Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated.
    plum likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love the title of this thread. It's sweet to see the tenderness of the body recognised. I do become weary of the smash it, bash it approach.

    To answer your question, yes I've experienced this. It happens to me sometimes during Yin Yoga especially during upper back and chest sequences that involve the heart. It usually takes me by surprise and I rarely know why it happens. I simply let it happen. It's a release and it feels good.

    Here are some thoughts from Esther Ekhart. She is writing about Yin but I think it applies more broadly to anything that puts us in touch with our shadow side.

    Yin Yoga and the mind

    Becoming still in a pose and staying for a while, creates those gaps that I was talking about earlier. Keeping the gaps empty creates the space for anything that wants to come up. For example, feelings of anxiety, feelings of happiness or sadness, boredom. Anything you suppress with all the on-the-go busyness in your life. Finally, you take time out to allow for any of those feelings to be there. Emotions, thoughts, feelings we have kept in the shadows.

    Generally speaking during a Yin Yoga class the teacher will encourage you to allow all those feelings to be there, but not identify with them. The teacher will guide you to become the observer of everything that arises in that space. All those stored away emotions, feelings and sensations now have a chance to come out. You have no idea how much energy it costs the body to keep all that suppressed. So the release you get from letting it all come out can also be just as big.

    You learn to observe only the pure physical sensations of emotions, without getting caught up in the stories about those emotions.

    These stories usually have to do with why we feel such and such, whose fault it is etc. Just observing these physical sensations, without giving juice to the stories allow those emotions and physical sensations a way out of your system. You open the door in a way of speaking.

    This way you clear the mind of these often unconscious emotions, and you give your system an opportunity to work through the blockages they have caused in the body. What a wonderful and much-needed process!"

    The whole article is here:

    https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/the-benefits-of-yin-yoga (The benefits of Yin yoga – Ekhart Yoga)

    I consider these moments to be beautiful and a part of making us whole again through a body-knowledge that heals and integrates on a deep level. I feel it is wise to trust it, to lean into it as you say and believe that something magical is happening. The mind forever wants to have all the answers and be in charge but with this it has no chance. This is all about surrender and letting go which may be two of the minds greatest fears.

    Love to you,

    Plum x
    Ellen and mm718 like this.
  3. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't know much about yoga but if you cry while doing meditation then you were not meditating correctly. While meditating you're gently guide your mind and body's function so you can anchor your thought in one place. If doing it correctly there should be any thought that can trigger you to cry.
  4. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hm, not sure I agree with that. I'm not versed in all the schools of meditation but I have generally practiced mindfulness meditation where you just allow your thoughts to flow without judgement...thoughts will not not necessarily anchored in one place. I've definitely cried during meditation when I had some kind of realization or rush of emotion that occurred. When I took a meditation course I know that others had this experience as well, it's just a way to process and release emotion from the natural flow of your thoughts. I know there are many different types of meditation, however, and it's possible that some are more structured than the one i'm used to.
    mm718, balto and Click#7 like this.
  5. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Hello @mm718,

    Yes, I have cried during meditation without knowing the source. This happens to me in waves. It has been a while since it happened.

    I let it go. I’ve read from various sources that it means you are letting the energy / feelings out of your body.

    I’ve felt confused in the past when this happened but now I consider it to be a healthy release and I welcome it.

    mm718 likes this.
  6. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    This discussion brings to mind a part of the treatment chapter in The Divided Mind in which psychotherapist Robert Paul Evans discussed a TMS patient he called James. The therapy helped James get in touch with his anger at his needy, immature parents for having created a terrible home atmosphere when he was growing up. As the therapy continued, Evans wrote: "James became aware, to his surprise, of an even deeper level of emotion--that submerged beneath the anger were sadness, sorrow, and hurt for himself." Evans then referred to an observation by psychiatrist Henry Maudsley made way back in 1918: "The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep." Evans concluded by saying: "The ability to embrace sadness, hurt, or sorrow for oneself signifies a letting go of the self-critical aspect of one's personality and the development of self-compassion, which is a crucial ingredient for the successful reduction of psychosomatic symptoms." I know nothing about yoga or meditation, but I wonder if crying without knowing why is somehow an effort to vent sorrow in tears so that other organs do not have to weep. Maybe it signifies beginning to let go of the self-critical aspect of one's personality and develop self-compassion.
    Ellen, mm718 and AC45 like this.
  7. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think you are right MDPT. I learned meditation from monks at my temple, the only type we practice is focus on our breathing. Not sure what it is called. we use our breath to anchor our thoughts.
    I don't know much about other meditation schools.
    MindBodyPT and mm718 like this.
  8. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much, Plum. This is a beautiful way of framing it. I do find that when I get quiet either through meditation or yoga that it takes me right to the truth. Maybe I need to let of the anxiety about figuring it all out and just let it happen without being so focused on the results. I love your thought "to trust it, to lean into it as you say and believe that something magical is happening." I think simply coming to the experience with this energy could create a nice shift.

    The mind forever wants to have all the answers and be in charge but with this it has no chance. This is all about surrender and letting go which may be two of the minds greatest fears.

    This ^^ says so much and is really helpful for me right now. It gets me closer to believing that my body and heart are a better guides than my anxious mind. Thanks so much!
    plum likes this.
  9. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    Balto, thanks for your comment. I am new to meditation but it is my understanding that when strong emotions come that you can take the opportunity to turn your attention to that emotion and make it the focus of your mediation. The emotion rather than the breath becomes the new anchoring point. This also seems compatible with some approaches to TMS--to focus on the feeling or symptom without fear.
  10. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    Thanks, AC. I like the idea of reclaiming energy lost to this unfelt emotion. It's helpful to hear that others have experience this too.
    AC45 likes this.
  11. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    Thanks MBPT. This is my understanding as well. I start with the breath as my anchor and observe any thoughts that come up as you've described and then return my focus to the breath. It has been said that meditation isn't being free of distracting thoughts but rather the act of bringing our focus back to the breath. This is the muscle we are trying to build with mindfulness.
  12. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I see the crying as the body's way of balancing itself--a way to discharge the energy associated with the emotion. Some people see the word e-motion as meaning energy in motion. The problem is when our mind represses this natural phenomenon and the energy backs up and turns to tension. I was taught at a very young age not to cry, so I had a lot of repressed emotion. I went through a period where doing yoga led to crying, and it was wonderful. Such a release. It was during a period when my insomnia was very bad and I think the sleep deprivation reduced my defenses.

    So I think crying is a good thing. I don't know why our culture continues to try to get children (or anyone) to stop crying. I guess it is because it makes the observer uncomfortable.
    plum, mm718 and MindBodyPT like this.
  13. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    The point about self-compassion is huge. Lots to think about here but self-compassion is more processing of unprocessed emotion. Seeing emotions at a deeper level must reduce the secondary emotions attached to them (e.g., anger) and in turn reduce the tension associated with symptoms in the body. I am going to be coming back to your post and thinking about it more. Thank you!
  14. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    "...during the crying I have no sense of what it's about..."

    very recognizable!
    mm718 likes this.
  15. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    The problem is when our mind represses this natural phenomenon and the energy backs up and turns to tension. I was taught at a very young age not to cry, so I had a lot of repressed emotion.

    That's my situation in a nutshell and I am sure very common with TMSers. Time to let it fly, with less judgement and anxiety. Thanks Ellen, I've learned a lot from your journey reading your "My story"and posts.
    Ellen likes this.

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