The meaning of letting go changed deeply for me when I read Jack Kornfield’s explanation of the phrase. According to this dear teacher the phrase should feel more like “let be” than “let go”.
It is because, when we say let go, we may be saying it with a broken heart. There is a little resentment towards whatever and whoever we say let go for… But when we say let be, instead of let go, we let respect and surrender sweep into our souls.
Resentment dissolves and kindness prevails.
To be able to say let be, some of us may feel the need to stop by “trust” and investigate our hearts to find out how our relationship goes with trust. Trust, having many layers, many aspects, and many different types of manifestations in our lives, calls us to look upon it before we can say a heartfelt “let be”.
When we say let be, we let people, situations, sometimes ourselves, and our emotions be exactly as they are. We withdraw our direct, indirect, or mental control over them. We “trust” they are as they are for a reason, a reason we may not yet be aware of. We respectfully acknowledge them as they are. Easier said than done, of course.
Living in a yang world in which intervention, making a change is awarded, it feels strange to step back, embrace a yin energy form and withdraw our tendency to control. Some of us build the foundation of letting be with trusting the balance of the universe or the flow. Or it can be something totally personal.
However we do it, there is wisdom in letting things be. As an example, when we let be an emotion of ours, it means we stop fighting it and at last become ready to hear its message. Our emotions can only express themselves when we let them be. Paradoxically, only when we let our emotions be, then we create our chance of changing them. After we hear what they say to us, we can either flow with our emotion or we can choose to act differently. Another response may be realizing neither flowing with it or changing it is not the option simply because we are not ready yet, then giving ourselves time to digest or getting some help about it may be our path. However we choose to proceed, there is kindness, respect for ourselves and for our emotions.
Another inspiration about the subject came in one of my Yin classes when a student asked me if there is a difference between letting things be with surrendering to the flow and literally letting go of something.
When we literally let go of something, we again may need to stop by trust, this time to heal our fear of the unknown. Since we don’t know what will happen when we let that thing go, we may be choosing a negative pattern simply because it is familiar to us. Thus, sometimes letting be might manifest as holding our fears gently in our arms and keeping an open mind and heart about the unknown.
I hope this blog post and the following Yin Yoga Flow opens a fresh window in our hearts, and brings an inspiration to look within and to listen ourselves deeply about how we feel about the relationship between letting go and trust.
- Yoga mat
Lie Down + Rest (5 min)
Start by lying down on your back. Knees bent, feet on the floor or you can lengthen the legs, open the feet mat width apart. Choose a comfortable place for arms and hands. Arms may be on the sides of the body, or hands may be placed on your belly or chest. Start by scanning the places touching the earth. Feet, heels, back of the legs, hips, back and shoulders, back of the head. With each inhalation say “yes” silently to the support you receive from the ground and with each exhalation let your mat carry you more and more.
Reclined Cowface Arms + Self-Hug (3 min each side)
Slowly bend the knees, drop them to left side and place your right hand between the shoulder blades or at the lower back – palm facing the mat. Let the left arm rest.
Slowly, drop the knees to the left side to release the right arm. Cross the arms in front of the chest to hug yourself and for right arm to relax. This time say yes silently to the support you give yourself with the warmth of your arms with each inhalation and relax the arms more and more with each exhalation. When you feel ready, switch sides. When you finish the left side lie down comfortably for a couple of breaths to rest.
Cat/Cow + Hand/Wrist Stretches (30 sec – 1 min/hand)
Find Table Pose for a couple of rounds of Cat-Cow to say a warm hi to your spine.
Come to center and press the outer edge of your right hand on the mat, fingers pointing towards you, arms straight. Then switch sides. After you finish the left side sit on your heels to rest the wrists on your thighs. Or you can make circles with the wrists.
If this pose is not suitable for you, you can sit and reach one arm forward to hold the outer side of the hand with the other hand, to stretch the forearm.
Rest on a Bolster (5 min)
Place a small cushion on top of the mat, then place your bolster on the cushion. Roll a blanket to make it into a small cushion for your head. Sit in front of the bolster and lie down comfortably. Bring your attention to your arms. Let your arms rest at the sides of the body.
Slowly come to sit, place the cushions off the mat, and lie down on one side in Fetal Pose.
Needle (4 min each arm)
Slowly come up to sit. Place a blanket under your knees. Then come to Table Pose. Slide the right arm under the left to come into Thread the Needle Pose. Your right shoulder and right ear or the top left corner of the head are resting on the floor. You can either keep the left arm active and reach it forward or passive with relaxing the left elbow on the mat.
To come out of the pose, press the left hand on the floor in front of your face and lift yourself up. Lie face down and rest. Then come onto your hands and knees once again for the left side.
Make sure you rest in a comfortable position after you finish the left side, either lying face down or in Child’s Pose.
Neck Stretch (30 sec each side)
Come to a comfortable sitting position and bring the right ear closer to the right shoulder. You may bring the right hand on the head for a gentle support. Inhale, come to the center, exhale slowly. Then, switch sides. Inhale, come to center slowly, exhale.
Forward Twist (4 min each side)
Sit cross legged and place your bolster on the right side of your hips. Place your right elbow on the bolster to shift your body weight rightwards and bring the left knee on top of the right. Then lie face down on the bolster, your arms are at the sides of the body.
Come up and sit cross legged. Close your eyes to look within and observe. When you feel ready, continue with the left side.
After the left side, come up and sit cross legged once again.
Yin Inversion (5 min)
Place a cushion on top of the mat, bolster in front of the cushion, and a block a little away from the bolster. Make sure your cushion is a little thinner than your bolster. Lie down on the bolster, place your head on the cushion, and lengthen the legs forward to place your ankles on the block. Your head should be a little lower than heart level. If this is uncomfortable for your neck, place an extra support under the head.
Bend the knees, slowly roll to one side. Place the cushions and bolsters off the mat and stay in Fetal Pose for a couple of breaths.
Savasana (7 min)
When you feel ready lie down on your mat for final Savasana.
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