Letting Go or Not Holding On

by Allison Dearling, Live and Breathe Yoga

I’m a worrier, a planner, a control freak and I find letting go of things (past and future) very difficult. In the yogic texts we are told not to be controlling and to stop clinging onto things. It’s called Aparigraha and is one of the Yamas (part of the Ashtanga, 8-limbed path to peace.)
If you struggle with the concept of letting go (like I do) try reframing it and simply hold on a little less tight. This feels more doable to me. Here’s what I practice (and I’m still learning) on and off my yoga mat, to help be a little more okay with what I have no control over.
1. Awareness – first start to notice when and what you are holding onto. When you catch yourself doing it, instead of feeling bad about it, allow yourself to feel the attachment in its entirety. When the spotlight of awareness shines on this grasping, it usually brings a new perspective.
2. Non-judgment – instead of labelling it as good or bad just think, “Isn’t that interesting? I’m doing that thing again.” Focus just on the activity and not on your reaction or judgment.
3. Perspective - once we gain awareness and objectivity, we can start to loosen the grip a little or simply not hold on as tightly. From this place, we can stand back and gain some clarity and possibly even consider why.
4. Practise - when we practise not holding on so tightly in our yoga postures (by making small adjustments) we physically learn to let go and in turn we may then do this emotionally too. Remember to be gentle with yourself, have faith in the process, and breathe.

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