Learning to let go

Probably one of the hardest thing we ever need to learn to do is let go. We cherish memories of the past as they remind us of happier times and gives us hope in the future and that things will work out. A temporary fix however, as it distorts our vision of reality by hanging on to what was, and what we believe should be, instead of dealing with what is.

Let’s make this experiment as thought by Deepak Chopra: “Take a deep breath and hold it. Notice how you begin to feel when you are holding onto something that is meant to be released. Feel the increasing discomfort that builds as you resist the natural impulse to let go. Then, when it becomes too uncomfortable, release your breath and notice the immense relief that you feel.”

Holding on to anything when it is time to let go creates distress in your body and mind. Whenever you resist, your mind becomes anxious and your body becomes uncomfortable. Becoming aware of this resistance and the discomfort you feel is the first step in learning to let go.

In comparing personal relationships to eating food, Dr. Chopra says that we often ingest more emotional energy and information than we are capable of digesting. And so, he suggests that in order to maintain a healthy emotional life, we have to make choices and selectively absorb those aspects of the emotional experience that are nourishing, while accepting to release and eliminate those components that, if retained, could be toxic.

This is true not only of relationships but of life situations in general. Will mulling over what you should have said or done when that lady pushed you on the bus really make a positive difference in your day? What about the guy that cut you off on the road, are you still thinking about him? Why? At home, after your work day, are you thinking and stressing over all the things you have to do? Can you do anything about those at this moment? No, then let it go.

Yoga enables us to navigate more easily through those difficult times by connecting the physical body and the mind. Noticing the resistance, whether it is physical or psychological, is the first step. “Letting go” can then be done through Pranayama or breathing exercises. Once you start to become more aware of this essential link between body and mind, it also becomes easier (not easy!) to let go of things and move through life happier. Namaste.


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