There is a saying that claims “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go” and I woke up this morning thinking that.
And I realized that is probably why yoga teaches us how to live.
Let me explain.
The practice of yoga, (in my very un-yoga-expert-opinion) is a big game of figuring out how much you need to balance air, muscle, thought, movement and stillness.
That means that you have to either grasp or release.
You have to breathe in deeper or release more air.
Use more strength or depend on more flexibility.
You have to think your way into or out of poses, or you have to trust yourself to find the pose without thought.
You have to determine you stability in a pose by embracing the stillness, or accepting movement that sometimes slips into your most valiant attempts at stillness.
It is a balance.
Physically and emotionally.
Every practice takes you to a precipice of physical and emotional existence. Each movement and thought is an output of your ability to balance your current emotional and physical states and the physical and emotional reality that anchor you to earth.
The more you practice, the more you come to appreciate the on-going lesson in balance.
You learn your point of balance is different every day. Sometimes you give more than other times. There are days when you find your inner “ohm” within breaths and other days you bounce around looking for physical balance so many times you end up falling on your rump.
But you also learn, regardless of the success or struggle of your practice, to embrace who you are at each moment and celebrate it….and thank yourself for becoming present for at least those blips of time you were during the practice.
You learn that you evolve and life evolves and you change and life changes…but that what is truth is you…in each and every emotional and physical variation you might come across on the mat.
There is no right or wrong, good or bad.
There is just truth.
Truth that is learned through balance.
The balance of letting go and releasing.
This lesson is completely relevant to life off the mat.
Our success is determined by balance.
We have to decide each day what we are going to hold on to and what we are going to release.
We can’t stand up straight if we let it all go, but we also can’t stand up under the weight of all our problems, stresses, celebrations and goals.
We have to find a balance.
However, in finding that balance, we have to learn how to trust.
Trust that letting go of some of the bad crap is OK.
Trust that accepting new and different is OK.
Even though the letting go and the acceptance is scary as hell and is probably really really hard.
But – we all need to do that.
Try stuff that isn’t what we “do” and let go of things that are actually more toxic than good.
And it’s a process: you know, trying to figure out where that point of balance is in releasing the bad and making room for new, and hopefully better.
Yoga is almost like a safety net to learn how to engage in that process outside of a practice.
In a practice, you learn what it feels like physically, mentally and emotionally to do try new things, to take risks, and let go of baggage that is keeping you back.
I think that is why there are so many tears and bursts of emotions during yoga practices.
People are finding a new balance and it’s an emotional experience.
When we learn we are safe emotionally, physically and mentally in yoga during this journey of finding balance, we begin to integrate these behaviors into our life outside.
We learn to trust ourselves to take risks in new behaviors and thought patterns and release things that are restricting us.
And we begin to grow.
And we begin to grow into people we are confident in being.
That doesn’t mean all of the sudden we are perfect and inherent challenges of life stop to exist.
It just means we are more prepared to take on the, or even accept, life’s imperfections and challenges.
Yoga teaches us that is OK to evolve.
It is OK to face things that are new and scary.
And it is OK to let go of things that no longer match who we identify as.
It is a big game of balance.
Acceptance and release.
Innovation versus the habitual.
Known versus what there is to be explored.
So – the moral of the story is…practice yoga and change your life.
It won’t make you skinny.
You won’t lose a ton of weight.
But – you will learn to trust yourself.
You will find flexibility.
You will find balance.
You will learn to find yourself.
It isn’t easy or automatic, but it is a journey you deserve to go on.
“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go”
Find your balance.