I had restorative yoga today with my favorite yoga teacher. I had asked her earlier in the week if she could put us in restorative fish pose again because I was working on staying present.

This morning I woke up sore and swollen from my RA symptoms. I was tired and not really sure I had the energy for a yoga class…even a restorative one. I forced myself to get ready though and went. 

I knew that fish was coming at some point in the class, but I wasn’t anxious about it. Instead, I worked hard to be mindful in every pose. I worked hard to stay present. There were a couple of poses where trauma memories or emotions came up, and I was able to change my position slightly or focus on my breath. The thoughts went away. 

Then there was fish. Before getting into the pose, I closed my eyes and set an intention for the pose: to remain present and show myself compassion when I need it. I took a cleansing breath and got into the pose. I was fine. Totally ok as I listened to the teacher walking around the room making adjustments. I could hear her footsteps. I could hear the music. I could hear my breath. And without warning, an overwhelming amount of emotions and memories washed over me. I bent my knees, feet flat on the mat. I took a cleansing breath. I can do this, I thought. And then it was like I could physically feel the traumatic event happening all over again. I got out of the pose, made eye contact with my teacher, and got into child’s pose. She came over and put sandbags on me as I buried my face in my bolster and sobbed. 

I’m not really a crier. I hate crying for so many reasons. Crying in public is humiliating for me. But I couldn’t make the tears stop. I spent the next pose of the class hugging my bolster in child’s pose and crying. My heart was literally breaking for my inner child in those moments. The emotions that I felt in class today as my trauma stuff came up were so much stronger than they’ve ever been. It’s like, as I go through this process, I’m finally starting to actually feel emotions about the events that I went through as a child, instead of just feeling numb. It’s intense, and a lot to handle. 

I took a two hour nap when I got home. Trauma work is exhausting. I absolutely categorize what happened in yoga today as “trauma work.” I rarely cry over my trauma stuff. When I do, it is always so draining. It feels the way that my trauma sessions felt in the very beginning: overwhelming, exhausting, and thought-provoking.