Some people might say I’m an all or nothing person. Some people might be right. Generally, when I commit myself to something, I go all in. I do very little halfway. Perhaps it’s my rampant perfectionism (remember, my brother once told me, “You even try to do not-perfect perfectly), or perhaps it’s the intensity of my personality. Perhaps it is a survival mechanism honed during my childhood, or perhaps it’s the product of being raised in an extremist situation.

I suppose it doesn’t matter why I am this way; I suppose it’s just good to know that I am this way. Or I’m often this way, to be a bit less all or nothing. (And I know I’m not the only one who is this way. Many of us seem to have been carved with this all or nothing-ness. Again, perhaps it’s a carefully honed survival mechanism or the product of being raised in less-than-perfect ways.)

All that said, it still hit me sideways when my yoga instructor (yes, again my yoga instructor) offered this in class. “If you’re going to relax,” she said, “go all in.”

Now, again, I probably have tried to relax “perfectly.” I’ve battled for years against my need to meditate “just right” and to be present “just right.” I hear my inner critic screaming if I’m not being my most evolved self at all times (and yes, I know it’s impossible to be one’s most evolved self at all times…but my inner critic still has some learning to do). I know I am a recovering perfectionist. I will jokingly laugh, when called out on my perfectionism, and offer in my defense, “You have no idea how bad it used to be! This is amazingly not-perfectionism in comparison!” I know I will most likely always be in perfectionism recovery. I’m cool with that.

But the thought of going “all in” to relaxation? That I like. The thought of why bother to relax if you’re not going to let yourself fully relax? I’m down with that. The thought of giving myself over fully to relaxation and reminding myself that there is no perfect way to relax? Mind-blowing and reality-altering. Again, I’m down with that.

It was during shavasana (corpse pose) at the end of class. I took in my instructor’s suggestion, lay on my mat, and felt myself sink into the floor. I allowed myself to stop trying…anything, including relaxation, and I gave myself permission to go all in. To just be. To breathe.

I realize that this “all in-ness” is pertinent to relaxation beyond shavasana. I have so many moments – with family, with friends, when I’m alone – that I can be in that moment and forget about work and my to-do’s. I can stop trying at anything and just be present. I can put aside all else and enjoy the moment and the experience. I can talk and laugh and play and relish and appreciate…anything and everything.

I can relax, and since I’m going to relax, I might as well go all in.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Maartan van den Heuvel on Unsplash

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