Lisa Curry on why it’s important to let yourself cry

Triple Olympian turned wellness entrepreneur Lisa Curry writes exclusively for Body+Soul about the life lessons she has learnt, and offers tips on how to live your happiest and healthiest life.

Downward dog? Happy baby? Or sobbing mess? We’re all faced with choices every day. The burden of whatever we’re going through at the moment weighs heavily on us.

Sometimes we can get through it and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Other times we just keep going, changing nothing and never feeling any different.

But nothing changes if nothing changes. If we want to change things in our lives, we must stop, re-evaluate, rewrite, rejuvenate, reinvent, and re…lax!

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After many years of pushing my body to the limit, I’m at a place now where I need to nurture myself a little more. So I went to see my dear friend who runs a yoga studio. I’ve been going there intermittently for a few months, and each time I do, I’m so sore, and each time, for some reason, the tears just flow – they just run out of my eyes.

I feel like a blubbering mess, sobbing quietly into my yoga bolster. The physical release is one part of yoga, the emotional release is another. If we don’t release our anger, pain, stress and/or trauma, it builds up in our body until we can’t move, we get sick or we’re overwhelmed to breaking point. We have to release stress; we must release stress.

We can walk, run or box to physically blow off steam, vent or release our anger, and often it can take up to 40 minutes before we feel relaxed, but it’s important to find whatever you need to do to release the stress.

We all know that we have to move, and that if we don’t, we’ll become stagnant, stiff, sore and sick. The tears we cry are an emotional release. Tears of joy are different to tears of stress, pain or sadness.

I’ve been learning the difference. During my yoga class, I felt strong emotions that seemed to come from nowhere. Five minutes before, I was completely relaxed and then the instructor appeared out of nowhere with a box of tissues.

She just knew. I looked up at her through my tears and said, “I’m so sore, I’m so stiff.” She kindly said to me: “Well, you have to come here more than once a month – three times a week is what you need.” I felt like a naughty little girl getting a slap on the wrist, but I knew she was right. If I’m not consistent, how can I get results?

It’s like anything – being consistent and committed is the key. I certainly know that from my athletic career, but it’s still important and probably more important as we get older to be committed and consistent in the activities that make us feel and move better in our daily routine.

Achieving a peaceful and contented mind and body takes both commitment and perseverance. Managing stress, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, muscle aches and pains, posture and even our breathing can be alleviated with yoga – even if you feel like a stiff pretzel in the first class.

Becoming part of a peaceful, supportive community group can also allow you to mix in different circles, which can be life-changing and completely uplifting. If and when you feel like a good cry, you can just let it out. Sometimes you may feel like screaming – do that, too. I do it on my ride-on mower when no-one can hear me.

If you watch a movie and it moves you to tears, let it. If something is funny and it makes you laugh until you need to pee, embrace it.

When you feel overwhelmed and can’t escape the daily tasks and responsibilities (which are here to stay, whether you like it or not), make a choice and give yourself permission to start loving the peace and quiet of a yoga class.

My two favourite classes are the slow-paced yin yoga and restorative yoga, so why not give them a try? I’m sure you’ll love them.

Let the stress out in whatever form it may be: jump when you’re excited, dance when you’re happy, cry when you’re sad, walk out when you’re irritated. Do whatever you need to do – your body knows what it needs. This is your life and you deserve the best.

Love and strength. Lisa.

Lisa’s tips of the week

  • Enrol in a yoga class in your neighbourhood. Your local council may have free classes. Or visit my website for an online yoga series that you can do from home.
  • Continue doing your three 20-minute walks each week, but now at each five-minute interval, stop and do 10 squats, 10 push-ups on your knees or toes, and then jiggle, dance or jog on the spot for one minute. Try to take your walks in nature, at the beach or in your local park.
  • Don’t worry about others looking at you. Who cares? You’re doing this for you, not to please others.

Lisa Curry is the co-founder of Happy Healthy You, an Australia-based women’s health and lifestyle company. To receive a free online assessment to help you get a better understanding of your current health, visit happyhealthyyou.com.au. Find Lisa’s column each fortnight in Body+Soul for insightful tips on emotional and physical wellbeing, family and fitness – and learn how to live your happiest and healthiest life.