the yoga love

on the mat is a state of mind

Day 50: Yoga so good, I cried.

Dear Yoga,

you have saved me from myself. Thanks so much,


I have spent the better part of the last week freaking out – about various things – but my worried response has been far from appropriate given the situation(s). I have been reading in Meditations about Brahmacaraya (yes, still) -yet all of Mr. Gates’ amazing insights into moderation and whatnot have fallen on deaf ears. I have been completely unable to hear the zen sound bites I spew at everyone else in times of trouble.

Monday morning I planted myself on my mat, determined to silence the fear and anxiety. I wanted a hot, sweaty class to beat it out of me. No dice. We had a different teacher who led a very calm, quiet, cool flow without one drop of sweat. Ugh.

I went for a run around my neighborhood for the better part of an hour.

Still there.

I went to work for a few hours and sprinted back to class at 7 to give it one more go.



Tuesday I called in recruits. My very wise and sage friend pointed out that there is no real world evidence that anything I was worried about had actually happened or would actually happen. The cycle I was stuck in was the product of my own imagination and an evil trick that I was playing on myself. She asked me to look at the facts, and to remember to be kind to myself in times of discomfort. She reminded me that I am a strong, intelligent woman with so many accomplishments. The universe is not just going to drop me on my ass.

I felt better. So much better, in fact, that I went to yoga solely in pursuit of a buzz and nothing more. I was just there, for me.

As Conni led us into a very powerful practice, I began to feel better. I began to see the truth in my friend’s words.

About an hour into class, we moved into a modified camel pose that opened something in my back, and in my mind, and suddenly, everything was clear. I saw the constructs of my imagination for what they are: bullshit. I saw the situation I was in for what it was: totally under my control. I was suddenly out of my head and back in my body, in my place of actual, real world strength. I powered through the rest of the class on a high that came from knowing that I have the ability to control my thoughts, to control my emotions, that everything that I think and feel is a choice. I had been able to check my crap at the door and think of nothing but what I was doing with my body for 90 minutes. I realized this as I hit the mat for savasana, and I couldn’t help the tears that rolled down the sides of my face from pure relief.

There is something that I say to my patients all the time: our biography becomes our biology. The things that we feel and experience are recorded in our bodies. Yoga allows us to peel away the time, rejuvenating our tissues, releasing old issues and emotions. This gives us the opportunity to free ourselves from those things that are no longer a part of who we are.

So I think that I’ve peeled back to when I was 12, the height of my insecurity and vulnerability. A few years before, my family had moved to a new town and I’d started at a new school where I never felt like I fit in. I was tall and felt overbearing. It was my greatest fear that I would be annoying or imposing in some way, so I kept to myself and tried to appear as small as possible. This also resulted in poor posture – which I am currently working on with a chiropractor – no doubt releasing more of the junk that I hid away during those years. So this is what I’m going through at Day 50: realizing that I am not that girl anymore, but that I still have to treat her with kindness and love. She is still a part of my history, and without her I wouldn’t be able to see how far I’ve come.


8 comments on “Day 50: Yoga so good, I cried.

  1. Meredith Krull

    I love this post and everything about this blog. And you. xoxo

  2. catie

    Thanks M. I was a little hesitant to post this, as it’s pretty personal – but all part of the process, right? Excited for saturday!

  3. Boo

    Excellent excellent post.

    Strangely enough, after you and I spoke, all of these things came up in me as a result. Tuesday I had such a low, rotten day that I started to think, “Damn, I’m not really moving forward at all. Here I am, months and years past where I thought I was, and I’m right back to the bad.” And for a few hours—hell, most of yesterday—I was in that bad place. And then I thought about our conversation.

    And I felt better.


  4. Malia Kirby

    YES. EXACTLY THIS. You have been writing here what I’ve been telling my patients all this time: get back in your body!!! I’m proud of you and I shall eat a donut today in your honor. Nice work.

    (BTW–I’ve been writing a series on the Pop’s blog about being present and incorporating that into our acupuncture practices. I’d like to have a brief interruption to direct everyone to your yoga blog, if that’s ok with you.)

    • catie

      Hey Malia – I really appreciate your (and Shawn’s) support. By all means send people this way – thanks so much!!!

  5. Melissa

    Catie…amazing. Miss you heaps, and I need to see you soon! Been too long!

  6. Christopher

    This is a beautiful post. I really, really like it.. My favorite part is “our biography becomes our biology.” What an amazing line. Really. It takes a large portion of confidence, and a good bit of savvy writing skill, to talk about our past with sincerity; to convey deep lessons through our story. You did this perfectly. Your experience is highly personal, as your tone shows, but your message is widespread. We all carry our past with us. The yoga helps us understand our history, incorporate the lessons of our experience, and grow; to take each block and see its importance in shaping our body, mind and spirit.

    I really loved reading this. It’s nice to share, sometimes; to be a little vulnerable in our pursuits. Thank you for doing this.

  7. SJ

    I LOVE YOU SO HARD. I agree 1000%. I think sometimes I don’t get the yoga I want, I get the yoga I need. Sounds like you did, when you finally got down to that sobby-I’m-not-sniffle-12-years-old-anymore-oh-my-god-how-did-I-get-to-be-29-and-not-sniffle-sob-sniffle-know-that? place. I had smarter thoughts to write just now but they’ve disappeared in a big sea of I LOVE YOU SO HARD. I’m so glad your practice is yours, and it’s good to you, and for you, and with you. YOGALOVE.

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This entry was posted on 03/03/2010 by in Gates, Mala, Uncategorized, yogalove.

more downward dog, less downward spiral


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"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it." — Elizabeth Gilbert

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