Letting Go Of The External "Stuff"

In Yoga, we often say “Let Go” during our practice. 

But, what are we letting go of?  What are we holding on to?

As we settle into our practice we try to let go of the tight muscles that might be hiding in our shoulders, neck, back, hips, or elsewhere in our body.  We try to let go of thoughts and stress and worries and the busy activity of our mind.  We try to let go of these things so that we can free ourselves up so that our breath can widen out into the space.

But, often we’re holding tightly to more than just a few tense muscles. 

And, that’s the more subtle part of “letting go.”  And, it’s just as important.

We’re holding tightly onto our external selves.  Who we think we are.  Who we want to be.  How we want to look.  What we do, what we have, and what we want.

Because, that’s often how we define ourselves.  We are our age, our height, and – oh my! – our weight.  We are our jobs, we are our education, we are our social standing, we are our bank account.

That’s a lot to let go of. But, it’s an essential part of Yoga.

If we hold too tightly to those external “definers”, we will never reach our truest, purest spirit that hides under all that external stuff.

Today, I was part of a conversation and the topic was all the external stuff.  What they were getting their spouse for Christmas, how much they were spending, how indispensible they are to their job, how much they know.

It was a little uncomfortable, but mostly it was a good reminder.

We all do this. We all hold on.

It’s not our job to judge what someone else does or what they hold on to.
Instead, Yoga asks you and me to hone in on what we’re holding onto that is stopping us from finding our own inner pure light.

I hold on, too. (If you’ve seen me in the past few weeks as I have prepared for my move to a new Yoga studio, you know how I hold on … and worry … and lose sight that Yoga is much, much more than having a perfect floor to practice on.)

It’s hard enough to let go of our stressed shoulders (see, didn’t you just check your shoulders and drop them down alittle?).

Now, Yoga asks us to let go of the other things we hold tight. Who we are on the outside. That takes more effort.

But, the reward is great.

The light at the very center of your being is pure and perfect. It is healthy, it is wealthy, it is wise. It is everything. But, to find it means you have to dig a little bit. And, you have to let go of everything that is getting in the way.

It’s not easy. But, practicing Yoga – on your mat, or just by slowing down and paying attention to your breathing – can give you a peek at the “True You.”

And, then, what you look like on the outside, or what you have, or what you want, begins to fall away on its own. It starts to become superfluous.

I am not my weight. I am not my job. I am not my Yoga studio.

I’m just me.

After the earlier conversation about Christmas presents and stuff, someone shared this post with me. How perfect! 
 

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