The Practice of Letting Go
by Linda Orsini
“Today I will let go of wanting to hold on to time and embrace my 50’s with new life, new perspective and new dreams!”
As I say goodbye to my fabulous 40’s and turn toward a new decade, I am consciously practicing the art of surrendering or letting go.
In the Yoga Sutras (1.12-1.16), Vairagya is the practice of non-attachment, surrender and letting go. Vai means “without.” The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali say abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodaha – Through the repeated practice of non-attachment there is mastery.
I don’t think I have ever been to a yoga class where the teacher has not referred to the concept of letting go. I cannot think of a class that I have ever taught where I have not recited, “Let go of what no longer serves you.” It has almost become over used and therefore, just intellectually discarded as a routine phrase or cliche. Could it be that letting go is so difficult to understand and practice that we discard it out of ignorance or laziness?
I can think of numerous personal occasions when this, “letting go thing just didn’t work.” However, this concept of detachment or surrendering is in all the yogic teachings for a reason so maybe it is worth taking a closer look.
To begin, what does it mean to detach? I am reminded of the poem about peace from an unknown author. It goes something like this, “PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all these things and still be calm in your heart.” To me this means that no matter what is going on around me, outside of me, INSIDE of me is calm and centred. This is detachment at its most powerful. To be detached from emotional, physical and intellectual chaos but find peace in our centre.
However, what happens when we become overly attached to how we want things to be, to outcomes? The opposite of detachment is attachment. This is a huge source of suffering for most. We become attached to our point of view, to desired outcomes, to our hopes and dreams. We become so attached that we resist life and this creates suffering. Detaching means letting go of a perspective that is hurting us. By changing our perspective we can liberate ourselves. By letting go of our desired thoughts we become free to discover a deep sense of peace that lies within us.
Letting go is cultivating the willingness to surrender as we go along. It takes awareness and practice without hidden expectations.
I have found that the best way to practice letting go is to not force it. When I feel the manifestations of my attachments swelling up in my body it is a sign to stop and notice. What do I feel in the pit of my stomach? Has the rate of my breathing altered? Where do I feel tension in my physical body? Becoming in tune with my body sensations allows me to lean into the discomfort. Instead of fighting it and pushing away unease, I try to embrace it as you would a troubled child. Offering compassion and space to accept and feel our emotions without judgement is the first step in releasing. When we relax into the discomfort we can begin to feel the mental space required to separate. Surrendering is a constant practice so starting with small obstacles equips us with the skillsets to deal with stronger triggers as we move through the pain of attachment to the liberation of letting go.
“Today I will use mindfulness to notice my bodily sensations of holding, then breath and let go.”
My name is Linda Orsini and I am a life long learner so it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with the philosophy and teachings of this 5000 year old practice. I have my Bachelor of Education and Fine Arts Degree but it wasn’t until I discovered the physical strength, emotional peace and spiritual healing benefits of yoga that life gave me a deeper purpose. It is with a full heart and great dedication that I embrace the practice of yoga. My greatest strength is the realization that life is a journey and yoga is the vehicle. I embrace the rich teachings of the Yoga Sutras. I have traveled over the world to practice yoga and learn from teachers that inspire the compassion and realization of inner strength and truth. I have my Reiki Part 3 and I incorporate the healing benefits of Chakras to open up and balance each energy centre for physical and emotional wellbeing. I have my Mindfulness Meditation Certificate and I use it as a focus in my classes and in my own life. The practice of Tonglen intuitively resonates within me and I use it to create yoga classes that make room for the Universe to deliver. I strive to assist others in realizing their unique physical and psychological potential through the cultivation of their personal yoga practice. I am warm and friendly. I pay particular attention to alignment, modifications and physical assistance in order to provide a safe and healing practice for beginners and dedicated yogis.
Visit her online at: https://www.facebook.com/lindaorsiniyoga