Release Your Storage? Release the stretch? What did she say?

In yoga, Lori will often refer to certain side stretches as a way to “unpack” all of the baggage that you were carrying around.  The expression comes from a misheard expression when speaking with a person speaking with a thick accent, however, this form of the expression really applies.  It reminds me of a scene in the movie “Spirited Away” by Miyazaki.  In this scene a spirit comes to the spirit bathhouse and is treated as a lesser being because of the way he looked.  He was a large, smelly, murky-looking blob that left trails of mud everywhere he went.  As the scene progresses, he is put in the oldest tub to bathe in and given Sen (the new employee of the bathhouse) to bathe him.  Sen finds that the spirit has a thorn in its side and finds the courage to dive into the murky water an pull it out.  When she does all of the mud, along with bikes, garbage, and other litter falls out of the spirit’s side and the people of the bathhouse come to realize that the spirit is not the pariah they thought he was, be a revered river spirit.

This is a great hyperbole for what our bodies experience every day.  When we are unable to unpack our baggage, it follows us in and wears on us in our daily lives.  As we continue to carry around our stressors, toxins, and other negative feelings this baggage begins to wear on us physically as well as begins to cause strain in our relationships.  We become irritable and may develop bags under our eyes, form worry lines, in addition to other negative physical problems.

Through yoga and other physical activity, we can unpack our baggage and unburden our bodies and minds.  In class, we have been unpacking our baggage by stretching our sides.  When we elongate our sides, we can let all of the tension that we have been holding in our core pour out of us.

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