Autumn is the season for shedding and nature is showing us how it is a time which brings an opportunity to take a closer look at ourselves and surroundings to notice what might no longer serve a purpose or is now surplus to requirements. The air has become drier, energy more contracted and the light has changed. The trees that need to are letting go of the leaves that will zap their vital energy in order to fully thrive once more in the spring – what a lovely way to look after themselves and what a great reminder to us to do the same. Is there anything zapping or impacting your energy that you could change, do differently or stop?
I had a physical declutter at the weekend which involved tidying and reorganizing spaces, as well as taking a really honest look in my wardrobe and sending off a fair few items to the charity shop. Looking in my wardrobe after living through a pandemic for almost 2 years was interesting as I had a huge desire to simplify whilst also realizing I was convincing myself that I hadn’t worn certain items because I haven’t been to places where I would normally wear them but even some of those went in the end too! Whether it’s clothing, paperwork, your laptop, phone apps, social media accounts, your diet, a habit, a messy drawer, or anything else this is the time and nature is showing us that there is no rush, (it took me 3 days to complete operation wardrobe fully!) it doesn’t matter if it takes all season!
The slower we go the more awareness we bring to our actions and this is what I’ve been encouraging in classes since it officially started to feel like autumn – slow steady movement, getting into the body and allowing time for the mind to start to feel more spacious. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class when the teacher has encouraged you to ‘let go’ without any meaning behind it you’ll know how that can feel trite at best and triggering at worst. I try my best to give any theme we work with in classes some context but if I’m honest have avoided ‘letting go’ because if I couldn’t give it enough meaning it might have the same impact on others as I’d experienced myself, which doesn’t help anyone. However, this week I decided we’d give it a go so worked with letting go in the context of resistance and attachment in terms of noticing what we resist and/or attach to in our yoga practice, here are some examples:
Resistance to a yoga pose that we don’t like – acknowledging why we don’t like it is key, there is a big difference between honouring a body that is just not made for a pose, taking care of an injury or avoiding it because it’s challenging in some way. Resistance can also arise in the form of tension when moving in or between poses, holding/gripping/making unnecessary effort. This can also happen in breathing practices when we start to ‘try’ too hard.
Attachment to a yoga pose that we do like or a position we like to sit or lie in then don’t want to move out of! We can also attach to expectations and outcomes of what we think could or should happen and then there are the stories we tell ourselves. For example so many people tell me that they’re not good at balance and there are many genuine elements (neurological/physical imbalances/menstrual cycle etc.) that do impact our ability to stand on one leg but if the internal narrative is negative then it’s likely that nothing will ever change or we won’t perhaps be open to trying new or different ways. In one of this week’s classes we were working with tree pose and exploring various ways of approaching/being in it and the thing that stood out as I watched people work at it in their own ways was that everyone gave it a shot and no-one gave up on themselves.
It’s also worth remembering during this season that whether you choose to let things go or not is no reflection of you as a person – we are ready when we are ready so whatever you do, whether big, small or nothing at all, do it with LOVE.