As a yoga teacher, I see this almost daily, expressed physically in class when the student on the mat is eager and willing to do “more” to deepen the postures: stretch further, kick harder, engage muscles with the dedication of an olympic champion.
But when the pose requires letting go and doing less instead of more, resistance sets in and sometimes even confusion, a lack of understanding for how to do less.
“Doing” embodies a more tangible thought process and effort.
“Letting go,” on the other hand, feels like doing “nothing” and is counter-intuitive. I see students (and myself) experience this as labored breathing, physical pain, and ultimately in reaching and maintaining a plateau in improvement both on and off the mat.
Embrace letting go as a tool for forward momentum that guides you toward a more fulfilling future, not as a punishment for past practices and choices.
Anytime we want to manifest a new direction in life, a past feeling or habit must be modified in order to make room for the change and get the different result. A past version of self must be freed first to allow the new vision room to grow.
For example, maybe you need to let go of fear or self doubt.
Maybe the belief that financial distress holds you back from pursuing your dreams needs to go and be replaced with a more positive plan of action and empowerment of your finances.
Maybe you need to let go of health issues that are holding you back. If I had let my initial relationship with MS define me, I would not have achieved any of the success I now how have in my life. While I could not simply “let go” of the disease, I could let go of my resilience to it, of my shame, and of the excuse that it would prevent me from expressing my highest potential. I encourage you to do the same if you feel negatively defined by any type of health challenge.
Are you holding on to a relationship that's not working? Perhaps an ongoing conflict with someone is evading resolution. I will always remember the wise words of my mentor regarding a relationship conflict consuming me at the time: “Lara, do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?”
Take a moment for inward reflection and picture the authentic self you desire. Let this vision rise to the surface of your consciousness.
Allow these insights to make letting go naturally develop into an exciting tool for forward momentum, not as a punishment for past practices.