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The Practice of Letting Go- How Yoga Helps

By Janice Krakowsky

THU OCT 01, 2020

I found yoga because I am naturally calm. I'm flexible and the poses come easily to me. I have no problem leaving the other tasks and responsibilities of my life at the door and being present to my breath and body.

Wait... What??

In my honest opinion I don't think anyone has found yoga because of the above mentioned. There may be a very very small percentage of people that are naturally born that way, but then life changed us and we come to yoga to help with these things, to bring us back to center.

You might not have even found yoga with the intention of being calm or present. You might have been told to go to yoga to help with your flexibility or your friend dragged you to a class. It was after you started taking classes that you noticed you felt calmer after class. You felt more present or centered during class. It most likely didn't happen right away or even every time. It still might difficult to shut out distractions and be present.

I know I use my yoga practice as a way to tap into the calmer, more present, less distracted version of myself. I also find it getting easier to be that way on the mat. The real work is now letting that carry over into my daily life. I've learned how to cultivate a sense of calm and peace when I am on my mat and there is nothing else going on, to stay present to my breath and feel it move through me, to notice how strong and open my body feels as I move it through a series of familiar poses. I've learned how to settle into savasana at the end of class and let me awareness settle on my natural breath and not be worrying about what I'm making for dinner or if I told my husband he needed to pick up one of the kids.

I can't even say that it happens every time. That's why it is a practice. We come to the mat (or whatever space you use) over and over again to practice slowing down, to practice being calm, to practice being present. We hope that our yoga practice, the time we spend on the mat will carry over into the other hours of the day when we are rushing, or worrying, or stressing. When we are not able to enjoy being where we are because we a looking ahead to the next thing.

I use my yoga practice to help me let go of unrealistic expectations, or others expectations. When I first started doing yoga, I had expectations or a perception of what I thought yoga was or should be. I wasn't super flexible or strong and some of the poses didn't come easily to me. I couldn't breathe well or sit comfortably for as long as the instructor expected me to. Some of the poses seemed absolutely impossible and I was like are they crazy? My body can't do that!

I continue to practice and explore and thankfully have found many different teachers to help me learn what yoga really is and continue to explore my own path.

The word yoga means to ignite, to join, to connect. You are meant to come alive when you do yoga, not feel like you are not good enough. When you practice yoga, you practice letting go of expectations.

You start first with the expectations on the mat.
You begin to let them go

as you let your breath be what it is... over time the breath will begin to change you will feel more connected to it and its many variations.

as you feel into your body and stop forcing it into shapes that it's not ready for or that hurt it.... over time you know where to take the body, maybe the pose is strong, maybe it's softer

as you let thoughts flow freely through the mind...over time you learn not to engage or judge or criticize what comes up

It's a practice

The practice of letting go of the shoulds, the always, the nevers

The practice of letting go of the holding, the gripping, the tension

The practice of letting go of the expectations, the ego, the end goal

Your yoga practice is just that... a practice. A time for curiosity and exploration. A time for noticing and awareness.

As you continue this time on your mat notice yourself letting go,

letting go of what you no longer need to hold onto

letting go of what others have told you

letting go of what no longer serves you

letting go of what you have told yourself

As you continue to practice see how this will start to carry over to your other activities. See where you are holding tight to ideas, or expectations. Where can you let go? where can you make space? What is nourishing you and what is draining you?

I'm not saying this is easy as I am practicing every day. Some days are easier than others. Some days I struggle, that is the practice.

Showing up for yourself every day where ever you are that day.

You practice...

You practice letting go...