In one episode of the original Star Trek series, two alien life forms are talking as one is facing her death: 

                                                                                                        "Hodin: What is it like to feel pain? 

Odona: It is like, like when you see the people who have no hope for happiness, Father. You feel great despair, and your heart is heavy because you know you can do nothing. Pain is like that."

This simple exchange beautifully captures the truth that is the integration of the body and mind. We often mistake them for being separate when in fact, they are one. Every experience - good, bad, & neutral - affect the tissues that make up our body on a cellular level and the neural pathways in our brain that make up our thoughts (which then generate our actions). 

So that roller-skating accident you were in as a kid...still in your body. As is all of your heartbreak. Experiences from years past and moments ago are all stored, remembered, and influencing you to this day. And sometimes they'll come to the surface, and if we don't know how to recognize that it can be quite devastating. 

The good news, aside from all of your fantastic experiences also being stored and influencing your character and actions, is that through breath, movement, & awareness we can restore the bodymind! 

Ashtanga Yoga is one path towards bodymind restoration and has multiple levels of practices, each level building on the previous, and each level often taking years before the practitioner is ready to move on. The Primary Series, Yoga Cikitsa, translates into Yoga Therapy. This means that this ancient practice, over thousands of years, has been designed and honed to open the body and return us to our natural state of being.  This is a daily practice (traditionally Saturdays and days of the new & full moon are left out as rest days) that takes dedication and perseverance, but the benefits are life altering. 

 A yoga practitioner can expect to cross paths with a release at least once during the life of their practice. This means that a certain posture (targeting a specific area of the body that holds a particular experience) triggers an uncontrollable response such as laughter, tears, or anger.  This is good! It's an opportunity to move through this experience that the body has held onto and let go of it so that it no longer shapes our present self. 

So, Odana was pretty spot-on when she said that pain is a heavy heart and can be interchangeable with an emotion like despair. We're complex beings and we feel a lot more than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. Build your body awareness skills, listen to your self, and find a way to integrate controlled breath-work and movement into your life if you don't already have a practice. Come to Tapestry or Downey Dog if you don't know where to start or are looking for ways to expand what you've already got going on!

"There were many things in my youth that I'm not proud of...they were loose threads...untidy parts of myself that I wanted to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads...I unraveled the tapestry of my life." -Captain Jean-Luc Picard