The time of letting go –
Releasing the leaves it’s been creating since Spring, trees let all that work go, and rest back into their essence.
“But I worked hard on that,” said no tree ever.
The leaves were there for a reason, two seasons, and can be released now.
To me, trees look quite naked without the cover of leaves. No less beautiful. The bare branches exposed to the elements. The trees aren’t shy. They don’t cling to the past. They just let go.
This is the intent of the original yoga practices. Humans tend to cling to their past. Good and bad. Dragging it around with us.
In Sanskrit they have the words Karma and Samskara.
When something happens, that’s the karma. The impact on you, the way you carry it forward, that’s the samskara. Good or bad. Pleasure leads to attachment, pain leaves to avoidance, both are in their own way, an attachment to the past.
“I loved them so much and now they’re gone.” Some get attached to one person as the source of their pleasure, and have trouble letting go, leaving them unavailable for future joy.
Conversely: “They hurt me so much (pain) and I never want to love again.” Some go so far out of their way to avoid repeating the past that they, too, become unavailable for joy.
“That was in the past. I wonder what today will bring?” – This carries the opportunity to really experience the many opportunities for joy available every day.
As far as the physical practice goes, when in a simple pose, most muscle tightness in the body is related to clinging to the past, whether cringing about what happened, or aching about what is no longer happening. Even when it’s a fear of the future – that’s usually also a fear of repeating the past.
These poses we practice, the yoga asana, are to help us find the hidden tensions in our body that are too hard to find when in simpler poses. You need only move until you can feel where you store tension, create enough support elsewhere to release it, and let go. Repeat.
This simple practice can help enormously:
- lean forward, off center, and feel the pulling-up tension of the legs.
- Release that pulling-up back down and feel yourself move back into your center.
- Lean backwards, off-center, and feel the pulling-up tension of the legs.
- Release that back down, and feel yourself drop back to your center.
- Lean forward and back, more and more subtley, as you find the place where you legs feel most relaxed, call that your true center, and release down into the ease of being here.
Whatever you’ve been holding on to from the past. Whatever it’s time to let go of. Let it go. Make space for what you need. Like emptying out your closet of clothes you no longer wear. Empty your mind and body of warped stories that no longer serve you. Learn the lesson, and keep the empowering lesson rather than the disempowering story.
Let. It. Go.