Upon hosting The Body-Spirit Connection, I noticed one theme repeat itself among each of the interviews I conducted: Fear. Because our on-the-mat experience is merely a reflection of our real life off-the-mat experience, the patterns we notice during our practice are applicable to our every day life, as well. In Part I of this blog series, I discussed the real life impacts of fear, in Part II, the topic was using a certain asana, backbends, as a tool for getting more comfortable with fear, and today I will discuss how fear keeps us from “letting go.”
How often do you find yourself in a balancing posture, and you’re biting your lip, your shrugging your shoulder, you’re holding your breath, and you’re clenching your butt, all in hopes of holding the posture in the most “perfect” shape you can? A good teacher knows that most students do this out of habit, and will explicitly tell them to start letting go…shoulders relax, jaw becomes soft, breathing is fluid, tailbone tucked…just use the muscles you need for this pose and let the other ones go. At first, students are in disbelief; they believe that these extra components are not extra, that they are integral to maintaining the pose. But they when they realize that they can start to let these “extra” energetic engagements go, that the pose DOES get easier! Why did they not let them go immediately? Because they were afraid to.
Take a moment right now to notice what areas of your body are clenched. Your stomach? Shoulder? Jaw? Notice this, and then, with breath, let those areas go. Then take a moment to think of areas in your life that you are clenching, controlling. Perhaps, like in our yoga practice, we don’t actually need to be controlling those areas after all. Perhaps, if we let them go and breathe into the space, they will hold up on their own just fine, and maybe even better. Have the courage to try, and see what happens.
I would love to hear how this “letting go” process affects you. Please do share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!
Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.