Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go

5 Dec

Recently, the Universe seems to be asking me to do the same thing over and over again: let go.

Let go of a relationship, let go of your idea of who you are, let go of a friend, let go of your expectations, let go of your failures, let go of the engagement ring, let go of unnecessary stuff that clutters up your house. Let it go, let it go, let it go.

Unfortunately, I am an expert at doing just the opposite. I hang on. I hang on until someone finally peels my fingers back, releasing my grip and forcing me to fall. Then I get up, dust myself off, and proceed to reattach myself as quickly as possible.

It wasn’t until I started taking yoga classes that I understood the power of letting go, and realized just how difficult it is for me to do.

During my first yin yoga class, the teacher instructed us to do a sleeping swan pose. The pose is designed to open your hips, but my body rebelled in a way I’ve never experienced. First, I got pins and needles in my foot and ankle. Then I completely lost feeling in both. As I sunk deeper into the pose, I could feel my hip joint freaking out. It tensed up, then I tried to relax it, only to have it tense up again. Back and forth, back and forth—it went on for the entire 5 minutes.

Yin yoga poses are supposed to be passive, allowing yogis to relax the muscles and become meditative throughout the stretch. How the hell was I supposed to be meditative while my hip joint was throwing a fit?

Then my instructor said: This pose is all about working out the letting go muscle. And it clicked. I immediately saw the connection between my inability to relax my muscles in the sleeping swan pose, and my inability to let go of my expectations for how my life should be.

Sleeping Swan Pose

From that point on, every time I do the swan pose (or the similar pigeon pose), I think about something in my life that I need to let go. I imagine that “thing” sitting in my hip joint, and I focus on letting it go. The third time I tried this, I started to cry. Yes, right there in class. That’s when I realized the discomfort of that pose is mental and emotional, not physical. In fact, the discomfort I feel in every yin yoga pose is mental and emotional. As soon as I mentally detach myself from the physical sensations, my muscles relax. My body becomes free.

Initially, I thought these connections I was making were just helping my yoga practice. But now I realize it also works in reverse.

Last week someone important to me walked out of my life. The fear of losing this person had been creeping up on me for about a month. The closer I felt to losing him, the tighter my grip became. I did what I’m good at: I hung on. I hung on for dear life. And that did absolutely nothing to stop me from losing him—if anything, it probably made things worse.

Now, as the pain of missing him arises throughout the day, I find myself thinking of sleeping swan pose. Work that letting go muscle, Lauren. Thanks to my yoga practice, I know I am capable of letting go. I know the benefits that can be reaped from letting go. If I can detach myself, I will be free. And I can do it right here, right now, regardless of what happened ten minutes ago (or what happens ten minutes from now). Letting go doesn’t mean I will stop loving this person, it simply means I will give up my investment in the outcome of our friendship.

My letting go muscle is still stiff and out of shape. But the more I work it out, the stronger it will become.

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2 Responses to “Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go”

  1. Elisa December 6, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    Hi Lauren, I found your site on the Women’s Blogger meetup that I organize. Hope you will be able to make it to a future meetup. Also, good point about how powerful yoga can be. I think we don’t always remember how interconnected our body and mind are. I think you are probably right, all emotional thoughts and pains are probably stored in the body as well-so we may have to let go of them physically as well.

    • Cheekie December 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

      Thanks Elisa! It would be great to meet up with other women bloggers! And yes, it’s so easy to forget that our body and mind are so connected and interdependent. Yoga is a good reminder 🙂

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