Working toward or releasing into

Why do we do this to ourselves? It’s the American way to work hard to get what you want out of life. It’s work. Life becomes work. The result is that we get what we’ve worked for but don’t know how to enjoy it because we’ve conditioned ourselves to be in a forward, goal oriented mode yet our bodies and minds do not function optimially in this mode. It might feel normal and healthy but at a certain point, our body calls a time out. We pass out as soon as our head hits the pillow and we wake to an alarm clock rather than a natural time – and I don’t mean 3:30am or worse, we develop dis-ease.

When a person practices yoga (or really, the asanas or poses since yoga is a philosophy just as much as it is a physical exercise), the student finds that pose that becomes the nemisis. It is the pose that hurts yet liberates. Your body wants to go deeper into the pose but the body won’t allow it to happen – yet. What I’ve experienced is my body going another layer deep into my yoga practice. I went through some changes in January and will continue for some time. These were tough, brutal, horrible changes that I was moved through by a higher power more than felt like I’d consciously decided and acted upon. Without realizing it, within one month, I made incredible gains in my backbends and hip openers. The poses felt deeper but I figured it was a change in my mental focus (depression can do that). But with every class I took, I was approached by other students or teachers commenting on the dramatic changes. I let go – I handed myself over to the universe. I had been working on these same poses for two years but as soon as I released emotions, my body responded. To say that the mind and body are not connected is to say that a computer can run without a motherboard. It is one and the same. Because of this, the way I approach my practice has expanded just as my life has. In order to go deeper into the practice, I will have to go deeper into my being. Acrobats aside, the depth of a pose that a body can hold can be an honest reflection of the practioners mental health and focus.

So, if this is true, there is something that we want to move into yet we won’t allow ourselves to until we let go and surrender to what is. Giving up and surrendering are two different things. We can still keep our American approach of working toward something but know that thing is releasing ourselves to the universe and releasing ourselves to the exact moment we are in.

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