Practice What You Preach
I was lying on my back, probably in supta baddah konasna, in Y7 Flatiron, when Emily said something to the effect of, “teachers teach what they are moving through”. True life. I sometimes look back on all of the things that I have written and can pinpoint the moment of that revelation, the instance the triggered me writing the piece that I needed to read.
If you practice with me, or have in the past, you know that each week we work with and through specific ideas that manifest themselves physically in the asana. This week is no exception. Maybe the fact that this theme keeps coming up over and over again for me means that it is time to hold a mirror up to my reality and confront some cold hard facts about the way I have shape my world.
This week, we are letting go.
I know some of you don’t believe in astrology, but hear me out for a moment. We recently passed through eclipse season, Mercury retrograde, and are at the tail-end of Mars retrograde. All of that means that the last few months have been a time to slow down and reflect. Maybe all of that was for a reason. Maybe it was all for the Pisces full moon, which the significant for letting go. At the end of 2017, I wrote a piece about letting go, cleansing as a way to find truth and direction for the upcoming year. Well, it looks like right now is the time to do some serious unburdening again.
There is a part of me that has an incredibly hard time letting things go. It’s been wonderful in my professional life. It means that I’m meticulous and driven and detail-oriented and a perfectionist. It means that I will never do less than my best. But it often leads to highly complicated personal life situations. I have a hard time of letting go of my idea of who people are, who they are to me, what they mean to me. Letting go expectations, the way I see things playing out in my head, is also not my strong suit. Letting go of habits, even if they are no longer serving me, also incredibly challenging. I think those are pretty standard for the human experience.
What's the difference between pushing out and softly releasing? The people who are pushers know what I mean. When we push, we try to use our strength or our armor or fear to force out whatever we perceive is the problem. It has the quality of efforting and doing and trying that usually encourages an even stronger grip on the thing we want to get rid of. Releasing is tapping into the softer side of ourselves. Releasing comes from a place of making peace with circumstances, perceived limitations, who we are, who the other person is. Releasing is understanding that our attachments to our ideas of what we are are limiting what could be.
In the flow below, can you let go of what you think this should be, what it should look like, what it should feel like, and just allow it to happen? Can you let the thoughts and the feelings and the sensations wash over you without attaching your identity or worth or significance to any one thought/feeling/sensation in particular? Allow the movement and the breath to soften your edges. Tap into your vulnerability. Show up honestly- perhaps a little messy or tired or confused or wound tightly- and know that this practice will hold you.
Drop prayer hands behind head
Re-extend arms; roll forward to table top
Inhale, Cow Pose. Exhale, Cat Pose.
Extend right leg behind you, tuck toes and rock back and forth.
Float right leg off of mat, extend left arm towards top of space.
Exhale, pull elbow and nose to knee.
Replace left hand on the ground. Tap Right knee to right tricep.
Low lunge prayer hands twist open arms
High plank child's pose
One leg cobra
SUN A SUN B
Cross ankle down dog
Low lunge twist
Half moon Knee to elbow
Oblique Pull up
Cross ankle down dog
Low lunge twist