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Letting Go

‘This is the time of year where Mother Nature reminds us of how beautiful it can be to let go.’ - Unknown

Heart-shaped pond in Halifax, NS

I love reminding myself of these words this time of year. In Yoga, the practice of letting go is one of the five niyamas, or observances, and its something that, with practice, one learns to steer their continuous attention and action(s) toward.

Called Ishvara Pranidhana in Sanskrit, surrender is as much a practice of acceptance as it is of releasing something. Like the trees and plants of this great land who, over the course of a few short weeks let their leaves drop to the ground, we too must learn to practice releasing our grip on what no longer is of benefit and/or uses. Thus, now is a beautiful time of year to pause and reflect on the things in your life that you might be ready to let go of.

This year, I have a few things on my list that I’m doing my best to let go of.

  • TV TIME : I can find myself caught up in one too many episodes of whatever random show finds its way onto the ‘suggested list’. After a full day at work, extracurricular activities, teaching, recording, or whatever else ends up on my to-do list, the TV is an easy and mindless time filler before bed. But I’m noticing that it’s not doing me much good and robbing me of precious sleep. So I’m making the switch to take these 1 - 2 hours most nights of the week to either read or craft something. Who knows what might manifest or what I might learn…

  • WINE : I love me a big ‘ole glass of white wine (Chardonnay preferably…). And I’m not sure when it happened but too much of the time that glass of wine has been accompanying me and the TV. What I don’t like about that is that it sometimes leads to a second glass, or more. Now in my humble opinion, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine or two, but right now, I am ready to enjoy something different - something else that will be much better for my body, and waistline. (Yes the wine has certainly softened my middle, which doesn’t help my mood or the self-criticism which just makes the whole wine and TV thing a terrible pairing). So instead, I’m making a switch to enjoy a mug of tea or warmed spiced milk as I get crafty or curl up with my book. This is one of my go-to teas to sip, and this Golden Milk recipe is a delicious and healing mugful.

  • Lastly, I’m letting go of the SNOOZE BUTTON. Every morning my alarm goes off shortly after 0600. Most mornings I’m already awake because my son has the most incredible internal alarm that wakes him between 0530 and 0600 every day. But, 9.9 times out of 10, I roll over, pull the covers up tight under my chin and slap my eye pillow over my eyes. Then, 2, sometimes 3 or 4 times, (I guess it all depends on how big that glass of wine was…), I hit the snooze button. So my intention for daybreak moving forward is to get from my mattress to my mat and from there, let me intuition guide me. My guess is that I’ll still be lying down but instead of drifting back into some semi-coherent / unconscious state, I’ll find my way through some gentle postures coupled by deep breaths and slowly but steadily shed the heaviness of sleep and reinforce my practice of letting go.

I share this with you knowing that there likely will be days when things don’t go as I’ve planned. But, part of the physical practice of letting is the opportunity to release the mental and emotional attachment to the physical experience. Furthermore, the concept of Ishvara Pranidhana is learning let go of expectations and fostering trust the great Unknown.

How about you? Is there something you are ready to put to the wayside? What are your strategies for replacing or eliminating a habit or ritual that no longer serves you? And how do you practice accepting what is while learning to it go?

Until next time, I leave you with these words by author Deborah Adele from her book Yamas and Niyamas, “Surrender asks us to be strong enough to engage each moment with integrity while being soft enough to flow with the current of life.”

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