Apiragraha, the fifth of the Yamas means not grasping, but for the sake of simplicity lets just say the art and act of letting go. Easier said then actually practiced. I remember the very first time I felt this peace that comes from a practice of letting go. It was in the early days of my yoga practice and I was in a Nia class. The routine called for us to reach to the earth as tho we were scooping up and then extend our hand in an expression of letting go. She gave us the visual of scooping up a butterfly and letting it go.My daughter was in the process of leaving for college and my older son was in the midst of his life struggles that I had no control. It was at that moment as I reached to scoop up that butterfly that I imagined myself scooping up my son with my right hand, my daughter with my left and watching, In the words of one of my favorite recording artist, In the moment I was able to relax ~ let go ~ release ~ and surrender ~ relax, let go release and surrender And for a moment, all was well!
It was beautiful.It is a western thing, striving for and always wanting more, having more, doing more and being more. We are bombarded by the media with billboards, radio, TV and print advertisement telling us that we are not thin enough, rich enough, pretty enough, have enough. And we cannot just blame the advertisers, look at our schools, our neighbors, not to mention the burden we place on ourself.Never is this more present then in many a power yoga class. Students unable to stay present on their mats, aiming and striving to be in a pose the way their neighbor expresses the asana. Wearing the latest greatest yoga pants or sporting the newest thing in yoga mats! Then you have the teachers pushing to go further, extend further as they selectively give attaboys to a select few in the class. It is easy to talk about letting go in terms of forgiving, we hear that intention often enough and for the most part get that forgiveness is a practice, but what about setting an intention to let go of the idea that I am not enough. Everyone carries around baggage, negative energy, excess weight, obsessive thoughts that drag us down, drain us of energy and are nothing but an an obstacle to our happiness. Guess what? It is a choice, you can continue to cling to the familiar or you can LET IT GO. It is possible but it is a practice, and often it is a long process of letting go over and over and over again.Today as you approach your mat, notice one thing, (all be it there may be many) that you are clinging to. Observe the story, the thought, the unproductive mantra you recite to yourself over and over and over.STOPNotice yourself clinging to the thought or thoughts and begin your practice today allowing it to go away. You may find you have to do this over and over and over. The most important aspect of letting go is to notice. Notice where you feel it in your physical body, and notice how good it feels when you just let go! If you find the familiar distractions popping up in your practice, pause a moment in the asana and let it pass. The practice is not in stopping the thoughts but in not getting hooked by them. Letting them go.As you prepare to leave the mat, set an intention to continue to observe your thoughts, notice the negative thoughts you would like to silence. Try to replace all the should s with I could. What do you need to do or could you do to keep the chaos out and maintain joy.?See you on the mat! Humsrelease, let go, surrender, ease, allow, be,peace, joy, intend, stay present, forgive, enjoy, flow, move, breath, soft, aw, The Yamas, the foundation of your yoga practice and the first of the 8 limbs of yoga. There are 5.
They are also referred to as the ethical disciplines in the performance of asana, according to Iyengar in his book the tree of yoga. He likens the Yamas to the roots of a tree, and from here the rest of the practice will flourish and grow.