What It Really Means When You Cry During Your Yoga Session

Yoga has become one of the most effective ways of positively affirming our emotions and is often associated with boosting our mood and lowering stress, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. But what if you're in the middle of yoga class and feel intense negative emotions arise that make you want to break into tears?

Experts suggest it's nothing to feel ashamed of, and it doesn't necessarily indicate something is wrong. While crying during yoga may not be a regular occurrence for you, it is a completely normal one. And it doesn't matter whether you shed a single tear or sob uncontrollably. Generally, people practice yoga to feel a deeper connection with themselves, with others, and to learn certain kinds of wisdom from teachers and gurus (via Elle). It can relax your mind, body, and spirit, and looking inside oneself can be a powerful and emotional process. So, what might be happening when you shed those tears?

Yoga can unlock emotions stored in the body

In general, exercise relieves stress and anxiety and increases feel-good endorphins in your brain, according to MayoClinic. Yoga does the same thing, but with an emotional twist. The practice is not only a form of meditation, but it also helps with flexibility, opening the hips, chest, and other areas of your body.

"In yoga, we put our body in certain positions that we might refrain from doing in our daily lives, like opening up our chest or standing tall," says Adam Gallenberg, sports psychologist with Premier Sport Psychology, tells the Washington Post. Interestingly, it's not just chest-openers that do us good. Hip-openers can cause some of the most intense reactions, as this is where much of our tension is stored up.

If you do end up crying, don't judge those emotions. Dr. Melody Moore, a clinical psychologist and yoga teacher, explains to SELF that crying is natural and should not be shamed. "We shame crying in our society...when you deny or repress any part of your experience, you start to block off and separate part of who you are," Moore says. She continues by saying, "Don't try to stop or judge whatever arises. Nobody will be harmed by your crying, and you perhaps will be healed by it."