I love yoga especially the hot kind. Creating a healthy sweat while moving my body into better alignment feels great! It’s also the perfect place to practice letting go.
Let’s do some Letting Go YOGA!
During yoga class or within your home practice, try breathing a letting go breath into an area in your body that’s stiff. For example, if you’re standing in a forward fold, take your breath into the back of your legs along your back and into your neck. Find sensations of any kind and breathe into them. Now here’s the magical part. With your breath say “yes” to these sensations. Welcome them.
Allowing the sensations of tightness in your body creates non-resistance to what your body is expressing. It’s in this moment of non-resistance that the body lets go. Adding the letting go technique to one session of yoga can dramatically improve your flexibility!
“What you resist persists.” ~ Carl Jung
While we’re on the subject of breathing into your resistance, let’s look at breathing. The other day I was visiting a friend. As we talked, I became aware of her breathing. Actually it was her not-breathing that caught my attention. Unconsciously, she had taken her breath and shelved it to the highest part of her chest. Her chest was tight and her breath had no choice but to be wispy.
I inquired about this and it turned out she was suffering from some anxiety.
As an intuitive, the breathing patterns of another person are often one of the first things I notice.
Create awareness around your breathing. Do you fill your belly with deep relaxing breaths or is your air only found high in your chest? Louise Hay, a mind body expert, connects the breath with one’s “ability to take in life.” Consider how you normally breath is a clue to how you experience your life. Deep belly breathing tells the body it’s safe. Shallow upper chest breathing happens when we are afraid or anxious. If you have awareness of how you breathe you can take your breath deeper. In this state the body naturally lets go.
While you’re reading this practice deep belly breathing with a peaceful pause between the in and out breaths. Relax your tongue in your mouth, relax your jaw and then relax your scalp. Breathe. Chose regular times in your day when you will practice breathing deeply. When you are on the computer, sipping a hot, morning drink, when you’re on the phone or driving.
The other cool thing about breathing deeply is that you’re over half way to meditation. So let’s make this more meditative. From a safe place, close your eyes. Focus on the dark space behind your eyes and as you breathe follow the little sparkles of light. These are called phosphenes. Allow the deepening relaxation to unfold naturally. Telling yourself (or someone else) to relax is not very effective. If you need help with quieting the mind visit this page.
Back to our YOGA class. Every time you hold a posture for more than one breath and especially when you’re in a multiple breath asana, practice breathing welcoming breaths into the tension in your body. Remember, with Letting Go, YOGA stands for YES!