I’ve been thinking about the concept of ‘surrendering’ a lot recently. Whether I’m in child’s pose with my hands palm facing up in front of me, losing myself in a deep hip opening pigeon pose or accepting that I’m not going to get into the perfect arm balance/handstand/headstand/mad twist (insert your challenge) today.
I know I can get so lost in my goals, my intentions, my challenges. Its important to have them of course. But at what point do those goals start getting in the way of our practice? This is something that I feel so much in Yoga and I’ve realised how applicable it is to every day life. Sometimes the act of surrendering, accepting, sitting with the way things are, is more powerful and life changing than pushing to reach your goal today. There’s something so much interesting in the journey towards your intention than there is in achieving it. Everyone is so obsessed in yoga in achieving a handstand/arm balance/ back bend. Myself some days included. But doing a pose really means nothing about who you are. Being able to perform a particular pose is no more powerful than performing another one. The challenge, the journey you went on to get to that pose, now that interests me. That’s where your going to find your flaws, your frustration and most importantly your strength. Now I’m talking about mental strength here more so than the physical strength you’ll also be getting by doing so! Once you achieve chosen battle pose, suddenly a new bigger shinier goal seeps out of the woodwork before you’ve even recognised your achievement.
I’m not necessarily a believer in not sharing your hopes or they wont come true. So I feel comfortable in saying that my intention for my yoga practice today was to surrender completely to my practice as it is. I wouldn’t push, I wouldn’t struggle, I had no expectation of how strong or flexible I would be today. That way there would be no disappointment, no struggle or anxiety. Just my practice. As it is. Today. In this moment. There is something so beautiful in that. Everyday I’m making lists, setting targets, even my intentions become tainted with this drive in me to do better. To do better than what exactly? Whatever occurs today is what I’m capable of. I’m not sure where, when or why we started believing that we need to push through everything to be achieving something. So I surrender. It feels GOOD.
I went through my practice, mindfully, peacefully and without judgement of myself. When it finished I felt mindful, peaceful and free of judgement. It was the funniest thing. I didn’t have to struggle or think about what it was I wanted to achieve. I just surrendered. It brought me back to one of many things I love about yoga. The fluidity, the sense of home and calm from my practice. I felt more flexible and strong today, probably because I wasn’t worried or getting anxious about seeing my body do said desired pose today.
Its so easy in the world of facebook, instagram and pinterest to see a pose and decide that’s what you feel you should be doing with your body, today. Your practice will take you there. If that’s were your going. But don’t focus so much on the end goal. Break down your practice. Make your sun salutations the be all and end all of your practice, there is so much strength, peace and flexibility to be found there. Everyone can get better. There’s always room for improvement. The more you practice what you know, the more you prepare for those more ‘advanced’ postures. One happy day your yoga instructor will spring it on you and without thinking about it your body will be ready for it. Just make sure your mind is ready for it. Don’t make yoga just like everything else in life; a challenge, a struggle, something that needs to progress to feel accomplished. Whatever your practice today, surrender and love it because you have achieved exactly what you should have.