photo by Daisypops1.
I wanted you to make a jar
for certain dark sections of the heart…
and a jar open on all sides — a freedom jar —
that would hold only what wished to be held.
— Stephen Dunn
What if that was the way we held onto everything in life — a touch that both held and let go at the same time? Is that the essence of a life truly lived?
I love this song by Gaura Vani and as Kindred Spirits. I listen to it almost every day and try to listen to myself to find what I need to surrender. What is holding me back? What is pushing me forward? What can I do to be here in the present?
For the first time in my yoga practice, I went into balasana (child’s pose) and stayed there for a large part of the sequence. The students surrounding me flowed into virabhadrasana one, prasarita padottanasana, sirasana and I breathed and let go into the floor, feeling the way the pressure of their feet into the wood softly moved me ever so slightly from side to side, feeling the way my breath allowed me to slowly let go of the tension I had been carrying.
The teacher had told us to return to child’s pose if we needed to rest but also if we started to drift out of our self and our practice into the practice of someone else in the crowded room. It was the first time I had heard of using child’s pose in this way to return to yourself.
Instead of shaming myself for taking this rest, I let go of my expectations and opened my heart to my gratitude for the practice, my gratitude for my coming to class when I was so tired, my gratitude to just be with myself in this room full of people who wanted to be with themselves yet together at the same time.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali talks about the effort of practice and non-attachment in yoga. We must practice for a long time, unceasingly and with love to secure the long-lasting effects of peace and quieting that yoga has on the fluctuations of the mind but at the same time we must not be attached to the outcomes of our practice. Our practice is a freedom jar in a sense.
Yoga, as well as life, is the work of practicing, working, growing while simultaneously letting go, detaching from expectations and desires. The alternation between working and letting go can be seen in each cycle of breath we take. We fill and grow on each inhale and release and let go on each exhale. We can’t fight the exchanges of breath. We accept each new cycle of breath, giving and receiving with all of those around us and accepting our interconnectedness with each new breath.
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10 thoughts on “variations on letting go”
Yes child’s pose is one beautiful pose. Personally I think, like tadasana, it is also one of the most powerful.
This is such a beautiful post. Child pose is one of my favorite poses. It just brings me home. I really love the last paragraph in this post. I might have to read it a few times and soak it in. Peace.
Lissa, this is such a beautiful reminder of why we need this pose. (And I love the responses you’ve gotten too –) There is something in Iyengar’s Tree of Yoga about the “rest” poses being the time for a body to absorb the work of the practice — the practice on and off the mat. I love this idea and try to feel it in my own practice and speak it when I’m teaching. Om shanti.
I’m finding myself staying in balasana longer and more often in my home practice, but I have yet to do so in class
This is beautiful, Lissa.
I love the way kirtan, by its very nature, helps bring us to that place of surrender. Thanks for sharing your inspired realizations.
lisa – a peace-filled post. I am currently practicing
chair yoga & and the non-expectational air in the
classes is so honoring to each person, especially
those like myself who need to go slow. I am getting
much more from yoga classes than I did while attending
yoga on the mat, however eventually mat yoga is my
Lisa, when you have a chance check out my latest
post, which offers a helpful resource for yoga
and holistic interests.
yes – the child pose for me is humbling & freeing.
good for you… listening to what you need is really empowering
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