09 Nov Class Focus for Nov 10th-Nov 23rd, 2010: Letting Go
This class focus was inspired by the following article found in the October 2010 issue of the Yoga Journal titled “Letting Go”:
Have you ever been in a challenging pose and noticed that you are gripping your jaw or holding your breath? Of course you have! We all tend to overwork in yoga class, sometimes to the point that all movement has stopped and we are simply holding on.
You may hear the teacher say, “Relax,” or “Let go,” or even “Surrender,” and, although that sounds appealing, there might be a voice inside you that worries things would fall apart if you really let go.
What does letting go actually mean? It is not the same thing as collapsing. In fact, letting go is not another thing to do; it is a nondoing. Letting go is not something we can force, but we can create the causes and conditions for it to occur.
Think of bedtime. There is a soft yet firm mattress, delicious warm covers, and maybe even a little dog cuddled up at your feet. It is dark and quiet and you feel safe. The next thing you know, you are unconscious, blissfully sleeping.
Similarly, applying the right causes and conditions to your practice will give you the confidence to let go and open to your yoga experience. To create those conditions, you’ll likely need the support of a teacher and a community of fellow yogis, and you’ll need to study the teachings of yoga.
Look for a teacher who embodies the fluid balance of exertion and release as they move through class. Learn from this example of relaxed wakefulness. Turn to your fellow yogis for encouragement and camaraderie. Remind each other that yoga is a process of unfolding.
And remember, opposites are interdependent. Doing coexists with nondoing; advancing informs retreating. Letting go doesn’t have to mean losing your grip, but it can mean relaxing enough to create some space. That fresh space is where possibilities live, and opening to that is the best letting go of all.
For the next two weeks we will practice “letting go.” For my studio classes, we’ll be practicing 1/2 tripod headstand into Bakasana (crow pose) and a few other yoga tricks. Can’t wait! Until then…..
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