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When Yogis Need Help

When life gets complicated, yoga can be a safe haven. But sometimes the practice isn't enough to pull you through a dark time. A well-known teacher urges yogis to ask for help when we need it.

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self forgiveness, financial worries, distressed teen sad reading

By Dave Romanelli 

Life is always changing, flowing, coming, and going. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “There are no fixtures; the universe is fluid and volatile.”

Yoga reminds us of this; it asks us to not grasp, to not react, to let go. To realize that your circumstances—whether dark and chaotic or sublime and joyous—are not you, and yes, they will change. The practice gives us the skills to relax and breathe through the downs, and to extend out and express our joy with the ups. Our mats provide a safe place to cry, to hear the steady beat beneath a broken heart, and where we can, bit by bit, build up our strength—again, and again, and again.

But sometimes the madness of life is more than even an experienced yogi can handle. A few weeks ago, I was reminded of this fact when a lovely woman, an incredible yoga teacher, and a rising star in her community, took her own life.

Our culture is so focused on being strong, self-reliant, resilient, and successful. But here’s the truth: things don’t always work out. We lose, we fail, we err, we struggle, we break. We all experience dark nights when we are down on our knees and not sure we can get back up. When the financial future looks so bleak we don’t think it will ever change. When the pain runs so deep that it feels like a bottomless well. When even the thought of trying to figure out a solution is exhausting.

At these times, when the yoga is not enough to get you through the day, reach out to others. If you need help, ask for help. Nothing is so bad that your community won’t rally around you. And if you don’t feel like you have a community, tell me. I’ll be your community.

If you need love, ask for love. We all get lonely. Someone within 500 feet of you will give you a hug right now. You may have to initiate the embrace, but it will happen and it will feel so good.

If you are broke and broken, remember that even the longest and darkest winters fade and the sun always shines again. It just does. And this, too, shall pass.

Most of us know a friend, co-worker, or relative who is lonely, sick, or sad. In honor of my lost friend, and anyone who has succumbed to the feeling of being overwhelmed by life, take a moment today to hug longer, talk sweeter, listen better, love deeper.

David Romanelli is a New York based yoga teacher and wellness facilitator who leads classes and workshops around the world.