One of the best things about yoga (if not THE best), is that after each practice, you really do grow and you really do transcend into a higher self. You become enlightened by your own abilities and the miracles of your amazing body. You learn, you discover a lot about yourself, and you gain a great deal of humility. When all of this radiates from ourselves, we put peace into our lives and into the lives of those around us.
"There must be more to life than having everything." -Maurice Sendak
When we learn to let go, we learn so much about ourselves; and no matter where our feelings may take us and for however long, we find that we always come back to a place we love and to a place where we feel love…even if we first have to go to a place where the wild things are, to learn that :P
Rest in peace.
This is a great article from MindBodyGreen. Feed your mind, feed your soul, feed your asana. Enjoy and namaste :)
LETTING GO TO FLY OVER YOUR FEARS
By Heidi Kristoffer
When I first came to yoga, I was extremely inflexible in my body and in my mind. Super type-A, a total control freak. The concept or idea of “letting go” or “trusting in a higher power” was completely ludicrous to me.
One of my teachers, David Regelin, has often said in class, “well adjusted people are willing to readjust.” I always laughed, thinking it was a funny play on words. I was more than happy to take or make adjustments… on the yoga mat. But, off the mat? Off the mat, I realized I was not so willing to re-adjust or let go of things or concepts I “thought” were “right”.
Aparigraha: one of the Yamas of yoga: non-attachment. Most relevant to me at that time in my life: non-attachment to outcome: doing things without expecting any results.
Which brings me (shocking) to my favorite subject: inversions. Inversions and falling. Being okay with falling. Doing the poses, showing up to the mat, with no expectations of any sort of out come. Letting go.
One of the biggest barriers in practitioners’ inversion practices is the fear of falling. When you are falling out of an inversion, you are decidedly not in control.
One day, I was on a lawn (a rare moment for a New York City dweller) and I had an overwhelming urge to just try to flip over into wheel (warning: back must be super warm to do this, and being comfortable in wheel is necessary.) So, I tried. It took a few (a lot of) attempts: I kept getting to that edge where I might fall over, and my control reflexes would kick in, and I would stop myself. But finally, finally, I fell into wheel. What a rush! I did it again, and again, and again. The more I did it, the more comfortable I became with those few scary moments of being completely out of control. Then, out of nowhere, I found my center: upside down on my hands. I am a big believer that in order to find one’s center, it is helpful to know what off-center is.
Inversions are a big part of yoga for me, as recognizing that we can’t always be in control is a big part of yoga for me. If you are always planning the result, it is a bit difficult to be in the present and focusing on your breathing. So, learn to fall. (And when you realize that landing in wheel or doing a cartwheel is the worst that can happen, there is nothing to be scared of any longer!) Falling is part of yoga, just as it is part of life. I like to laugh when I fall, because, why not? I am certainly not going to get upset about it. Children never get annoyed or angry or embarrassed when they fall — why should they? When is it that we, as we get older, lose the ability to fall, learn from it (maybe re-adjust), and get back up? Children and their actions can be great teachers. They have yet to develop an ego, and thus react to situations completely differently. As the saying goes, “It is not how many times you fall, it is how many times you get back up.”
So fall, be okay with it. Don’t judge yourself. Be okay with not controlling every second of every situation; “adjust” your mindset. Let. Go. And then, fly over your fears!
"When you understand who and what you are, your radiance projects into the universal radiance and everything around you becomes creative and full of opportunity." -Yogi Bhajan
This is on the door to my yoga studio…how lucky am I?
YOU DON’T HAVE TO…
let anything defeat yourself. You’re stronger than you know and realize, if you just let yourself win.
I feel a strong connection with a lot of my followers, especially with those that are at a constant battle with depression. I, too, have my days where I question my sanity, and whether or not I will just let myself be happy. I know how you all feel and I don’t pretend to be “Miss Zen,” and nor do I pretend to have no problems. I know what it’s like to be at your lowest point. I know what it’s like to be in darkness. I’ve fought with depression my entire life and only really noticed that something was going on when I was fifteen. I was “diagnosed” with Major Depressive Disorder just four years ago, and was put on anti-depressants. Eventually, I took myself off the meds. Was I really going to label myself with some medical term just because some shrink said so? Did I really need pills to make me “happy” or not want to hurt myself? To each his own; but I refused to take that route. I made it a priority to find other means for coping. I wanted to let myself win.
Let go. Let yourself. Things won’t change cold turkey, but you have to want it to start. Life itself is practice. Some practices will be better than the other, and some will be easier than the next or before. Wherever you are is exactly where you should be, and that’s perfectly okay. Just remember to be gentle with yourself. You are your best teacher. You are your best motivation. You are beautiful. Let yourself be.
"I take inspiration from the most heinous of situations, creating medication out my own tribulations." -K’naan, Take a Minute
And if you ever, ever, ever need a reason to love your body…yoga.
SHE LET GO
by Ernest Holmes
She let go.
Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of
opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry,
she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all the memories that held her back.
She let go of all the anxiety
that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning
and all of the calculations
about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement
and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report
or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree,
she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was,
and it is just that.
In the space of letting go,
she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…
"It’s okay to let yourself be vulnerable sometimes. You can discover a lot about yourself. Your yoga practice is perfect for that."
Yeah, not exactly sweet music to the ears (or eyes), right? I found it funny and cute at the same time, when I heard a round of shits and fucks during and after Standing Bow Pulling Pose. Let’s just get this straight, guys- “SHIT” AND “FUCK” ARE NOT POSITIVE, MOTIVATING WORDS FOR YOUR PRACTICE.
It’s common…we all get a little frustrated in our practice sometimes, and that’s okay! We’re human- we like instant gratification. But when we start using those words in our practice because a pose doesn’t go the way we want it to, we are letting the ego take control. If we feel like we’re starting to topple over and lose balance, don’t be negative and don’t start cussing, or don’t start thinking you just suck. Let it go. Let it go and come back into the posture, because you probably have a few more seconds to get into it. But wait a minute! Don’t just get into the asana because you’re racing with time; you’re going to find yourself more frustrated. Instead, come into your breath and become rooted in the foundation of the pose. Maybe that’s as good as it’s going to get for now, and that’s perfectly fine. Maybe your breath is beautiful, your foundation is set, and you go for it…and before you know it, you’ve been at the full expression of the pose for ten more seconds. Wherever you are in your practice, is exactly where you should be.
Motivate yourself. Sweet-talk yourself into the posture. Maybe make it an intention to not compare yourself to your neighbor, or your practice from yesterday, or the first set from ten seconds ago. Let that shit and fuck go, and start fresh. Every moment is a new opportunity.
You are your body’s best friend. You are a student to your own body- teach yourself to be kind to yourself, to be gentle with yourself. It might just be the best thing we can do for ourselves at any given moment, and the present moment is all that we really have. Make the best of it, yeah? :)