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When I am practicing yoga, I tend to become tense in certain areas without even realizing it. When I realize how tense I have become I then try my hardest to soften that spot. Even when I soften that area, my focus comes off of another tense spot and I have to bring it back to that and repeat. A yoga class I attended one time really brought this idea into my life. The teacher kept saying release your jaw and I didn’t even realize how much I was clenching until she reminded me!

Life acts the same way, when we experience hardships we tend to build a stiffer heart. When we feel hurt or broken we try to rebuild by becoming stronger and tougher. This is a good coping mechanism to get us through the worst situations; however, this stiffness cannot last forever. We need to learn how to soften again and not build on these stiff areas of ourselves. Remind yourself to soften and feel the relief of doing so.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was twenty years old. It was early stage cells found inside of the removal of a small lump. I never had to receive radiation therapy and I was lucky. I was overwhelmed with work, school, and all day appointments at the hospital. I felt like a pin cushion and because of that I numbed my body. I couldn’t deal with the stress and so I began to numb my mind as well. I had to quit my job and school and take care of my health and well-being. Luckily I have a great family that supported me as much as possible. Long story short, I became very numb mentally and physically from this experience.

I had to learn how to soften the stiffness I had built from stress and illness. I had to learn who I was again outside of this hospital patient I had become. My situation is minor compared to what other people deal with in life. I felt that numbing myself helped me get through the surgery and healing periods. The pain medications helped numb me even more. The problem with this is we become addicted. We get comfortable on these pain medications and numbing of our emotions. It is alright to cope in this manner I do not regret what I went through; however, we need to learn how to soften and undo the stiffness created.

Yoga taught me how to become soft again. Yoga taught me how to feel again. Yoga taught me how to cope with stress and illness. Yoga motivated me to live a healthy and happy life. I recommend yoga and meditation for anyone going through hardships. Give yourself the freedom to soften. We need to learn how to use love for ourselves and others to bring back softness and serenity into this world. We deserve the relief that softening brings into our lives. Especially after we experience trauma, the gift we receive for getting through this trauma is softness. Take a deep inhale and exhale with the intention of softening!

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