I went to a kick-butt yoga class at this studio today. It was challenging and sweaty, yet fun and lighthearted. There were moments of complete ease and stillness, and moments of seriously trembling limbs and muscles in some tough asanas. As I was trying to keep my focus through a creative balancing sequence (which is now my new favorite) of standing split to half moon to half moon with a bind to standing up to dancer pose and back to half moon with a bind (all while balancing on the same leg), I lost my balance. Then the teacher said, "It's OK. It's just yoga."
That's such a refreshing thing to hear. In the world of career and workaholism, it's easy to start taking myself too seriously. So hearing someone say, "It's OK. It's JUST yoga." is a refreshing change of pace; a reminder to lighten up, loosen up, and let go.
A dear friend wrote about "giving up the idea that things have to be so hard." This thought really makes me reflect on what I hold on to that makes things harder than they have to be, instead of letting go, trusting in my efforts, and going with the flow.
I think back at the times when I found answers or solutions when I least expected it. Like going into a challenging asana, thinking I couldn't do it, when all I needed was to come back to my breath so I could focus my mind. Or coming up with a great idea for my schoolwork during a walk, instead of while staring at a blank document on my computer screen. Or taking a short, much-needed break to remove myself from a stressful situation, and suddenly coming into clarity about what needs to be done.
I always find it amazing when that happens. There's a sense of relief in finding out the ease with which an answer comes our way when we unburden ourselves of internal pressures and judgments. This sense of "letting go" of that mindset or ideal of perfection is not an excuse to do things half-baked; it's a reminder to let go of what is weighing us down. Whether it's the idea that I HAVE TO be able to do this yoga pose, or the idea that who I am is tied to a grade I receive on a paper. IT'S OK. "It's just ____." I am not that important for the the world to stop turning if I don't achieve this pose, or if I miss a few points on a school paper (and seriously, there are MUCH bigger problems in the world.).
So I remind myself to lighten up, loosen up, and let go.
And in today's yoga class, when I tried that same sequence a second time, I let go of expectation and judgment, and instead focused on just breathing and being present. Then I felt light enough to soar in that balancing asana sequence.
It felt awesome.