Tag Archives: yoga

Let your head go

That’s what the yoga instructor said. “Let your head go.”

I’m pretty sure she was talking about physically releasing the muscles in our necks, thinking about relaxing and not holding our heads up, as we eased into humble warrior pose. Needless to say, I heard a bunch more.

I did ground my feet and feel the strength of my legs. I did bow my torso down towards the ground and aim my shoulder under my front leg. I did (my best to) clasp my hands behind my back and allow my arms to raise away from my back…as much as they would go. And I did let my head go. And I let my head go again.

As I held the pose, hearing the instructor repeat her loving challenge for us to let our heads go, I thought about how else I could let my head go.

I aim to let my heart and soul lead my daily actions more than my head. I aim to come from love – for myself and others – and live for joy. I aim to get out of my head and my “stinking thinking,” as I once heard it described, so that I can feel life more fully and show up as my best self.

And my head likes to get very involved in every process.

Now I’m not arguing against thinking things through. I’m not recommending that I don’t use my beautiful, powerful brain to figure things out. I’m not suggesting that there is no value in the incredible value that my mind brings to situations and challenges and opportunities.

But I know my ability to get lost in my thinking. I know my potential to overthink and, especially, over-worry. I have an amazing knack for getting lost in fear or over-analysis.

So I’m practicing letting my head go, just as I practiced during humble warrior.

I’m watching my thoughts and questioning if I need to follow the trail they’re carving in my brain. I’m observing the stories I make up in my mind and challenging myself to breathe, look again, and allow for a different – maybe even more pleasant – story. I’m noticing and noticing and noticing again.

I’m still invested in my meditation practice. I hope I always will be. I’ve witnessed how I can reach more stillness more often, and I love it. I’ve felt myself calm my heart, soul, and mind when the “stinking thinking” gets racing. And I love it.

I’ve let my head go. Again and again and again.

I’m going to let my head go some more.

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

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There’s no time like the present to be present

Have you ever promised yourself you’ll be more present? And then gone on to be pulled away from the moment you’re in?

It happens to me all the time.

My childhood was pretty much an exercise in learning not to be present. I was taught to “pay indemnity” (to suffer for God) in order to absolve my ancestors of their many failings and sins and to protect my descendants from having to suffer to atone for my failings and sins. That certainly trains one to focus on the past and future, and to see the present only as an opportunity to endure anything and everything for God.

My childhood experiences also taught me to over-everything. My overachieving, over-sweetness, over-tolerance, and over-responsibility probably helped save my life and psyche. But all those overs are certainly one more way to pull me away from what is here and now.

My childhood in a cult with my mom, the instability of the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle of my dad, and the clash of cultures from being stuck between them certainly molded me into my hyper-vigilant and hyper-reactive self. All of this, perhaps needless to say, pulls one away from the present. And away from the present again.

So, when my yoga instructor instructed us in this thought, perhaps, again needless to say, a huge smile came to my face. “There’s no time like the present to be present,” she said. “There’s no time like now to be more present,” I thought.

There are so many distractions to pull me out of my moment. There are so many things to worry about and think about and obsess about. Or there are my feet on the ground – and during my yoga class, my body on my mat – to pull me back to now.

There’s no time like the present to get present again. And again. And again. There’s no time like this instant to breathe consciously and focus on my now. To see what’s actually in front of me, to calm my racing mind, to notice and appreciate.

I may have been, in many ways, taught and trained to stay as far out of the present as possible. I may have escaped my reality in order to feel safer, or more in control, or less sinful. But I don’t have to escape anymore. I am safe.

And I can be present. Because there’s no time like the present to be present.

PS – if you’re practicing yoga, and looking for a new mat, I’ve stumbled across this list of the best yoga mats. Perhaps it will help you ☺

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

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Just breathe

Again yoga. Again a learning. A huge learning. A duh-uh learning, but huge nonetheless.

I’m not sure if the instructor said it, or if I just thought it. But all of a sudden, as I “worked through” a pose, “just breathe” popped into my mind.

Like, just breathe. Like, you don’t have to do anything other than breathe.

I didn’t have to work through, or into, a pose. I didn’t have to move to get into the perfect stance or to fix my alignment. I didn’t have to keep fixing, and fixing, and fixing the positioning of my limbs.

All I had to do was breathe. And breathe again. I know it’s quite simple, but it felt revolutionary when I realized it.

Then I realized that “just breathe” applied to the rest of my life as well, not just my yoga. I don’t have to work through, or figure out, anything. I don’t have to move to get into the perfect attitude or to fix my mindset. I don’t have to keep fixing, and fixing, and fixing…anything.

All I have to do is breathe. And breathe again.

I don’t think this should have been so astounding when it popped into my mind. After decades or healing and working on myself. After decades of letting go of old tapes and learning new ways. After decades of finding ways to ease and slow down and live in love and joy. You think I would have gotten this already.

And maybe I have. But somehow, today in yoga, it loomed even larger, and I got it even more.

All I have to do is breathe. And breathe again. And breathe again.

Just breathe.

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

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