Lately I’ve been working on letting go.
I don’t mean this in any sort of metaphorical sense.
I am learning to make the pose simple – be it a standing pose or a sequence of poses or a resting pose. And I have been paying attention to all that is moving around what should be moving that doesn’t help at all. I clench my jaw. I furrow my brow. I begin to notice that all the muscles around the target muscles are working and overworking to assist…
In a way, this is a lovely view of the body – that it comes to its own defenses – rallies in support of itself – always looks to lend a hand.
But I have been working on letting go – so that means actively looking for those places and working on releasing them.
Sweet Teacher talks us through it. There is no work here. You don’t have to do anything.
Yesterday, not for the first time, I noticed I am afraid of letting go in pigeon. This is a pose supported by the floor – close to the floor. But I am afraid that gravity will pull me into injury. I am afraid that if I let go of the muscles they will not be able to support themselves. Particularly, yesterday, my inner thigh. I felt that if I let go of my hip, the weight of my body would tear the muscle. I imagined it tearing in my mind – and so I didn’t let go.
Sweet Teacher asked if we had any questions – so I asked… what if you are afraid that if you let go you will get hurt.
She looked at me, in a strange sort of way, and said to talk to her after class. Then she asked if anyone had any less transcendent questions.
The person next to me turned and said, I know what you mean. Gravity. And we wondered together why she wouldn’t answer. I ventured a guess that she would tell me to use more props. Together we agreed it didn’t seem like a complicated question.
Ok – I’m going to share her answer – but with the qualification that she had told me this in private – and I am publishing it, and that’s not really fair. It has to do with the understanding that a teacher has of their student, and her advice was offered with all sorts of concern, caution, wisdom and trust – of me and my practice… We all know that people can get hurt in yoga. This is not what this is going to lead to...
She said, I’m going to say let go.
There is a difference, of course, between knowing that something is wrong and being afraid to trust.
I am afraid of the universe so often. Afraid to let my own power and the ability of my own strength and understanding.
I think it’s fear. And at those moments, when I allow myself to go into that fear – that is when the space opens up. That is when I find the power and the heat and the strength inside of myself. I’m going to say let go.