Yoga and the Practice of Letting Go
If I had to list only one thing that yoga has taught me (even though there is way more), it is that I am repeatedly being reminded that this journey really is all about letting go. Letting go of what we think we are, what we think we are supposed to be and supposed to achieve. Letting go of what we think we are meant to look like, feel like and really, most importantly, letting go of what we think. Of course, the list (the shoulda, woulda, coulda list) could go on and on, because, for most of us, our thoughts go on and on and on; never ending streams of mostly unimportant, self-important, negative and destructive thoughts. These thoughts make us worried and for the most part, sadly, we are completely unaware. We are not aware of the thoughts, let alone the effect they are having on our health, surroundings and relationships.
When I was growing up, there was this cookie cutter idea of how our lives are meant to progress. Finish school, go to University, be productive, get a good job, be productive, make lots of money, be productive, get married, buy a house, be productive, have kids, have pets, be happy and…sorted. That’s life, that’s it, that’s all. Well, I am pretty sure that this ideal is beginning to fall short of most people’s idea of happiness and fulfillment. In fact, I would even go as far to say that this ideal never truly existed at all. It was just that—an ideal that made us think this was the ‘correct’ path to take in order to be happy.
Personally, I love the idea of getting married, having a life partner, a family and all the rest of it, but what yoga has revealed to me, is that life is SO much more than that. There is so much more to be experienced and lived, and as my journey unfolds, I realize more than ever, there is no ideal way—in fact, there is only one way, and it’s all your own.
When we begin to let go, it’s as if everything begins to break down. All our concepts and beliefs that we use to use to define ourselves by slowly begin to dissolve until they are no longer there. Our expectations fade and our awareness expands until reality becomes something very subjective and impermanent. We begin to realize that every individual is uniquely special and on their own path. Then, we are able to release the need to control other people, we are able to take responsibility for ourselves and begin to live more deeply from our own truth—knowing everyone we meet and every situation we encounter is, most likely, just another lesson in letting go.
So, next time you practice yoga, instead of thinking about it, talking about or analyzing it, try just being it. Try letting go.