There’s sometimes a misconception that yogis transcend all the messiness of life. Early in our practice, we’re often taught to let it go, as one of my teachers pointed out recently. But she wasn’t pointing that out to encourage it necessarily. She was pointing it out to dispel the myth that it’s always a simple matter to let things go. In some situations, let it go doesn’t apply.
There is real pain and struggle in life, and we’re often confronted with experiences that cause a kind pain, even if it’s temporary, that is beyond our human ability to let go. An obvious example is the loss of a loved one. For most of us, while that kind of pain eases, it’s not something we can ever let go of completely. And we don’t have to.
So, what do we do instead? We can let it be. We can even let it exist right alongside other emotions. All emotions are allowed, even if they seem to contradict each other. It’s clinging to emotions, not having them, that causes harm and can shut down our ability to function and thrive.
A friend explained this concept well when she described learning to hold our truth—in other words, our individual experiences—with an open palm instead of a clenched fist. While she wasn’t referring to emotional challenges, I think what she said applies to emotions as well.
When we feel intense emotions, like grief or anger, we can allow them to pass through us rather than try to block them out or let them overwhelm us to the point that we can’t loosen our grasp on what we feel.
When To Let It Go And When To Let It Be
No one can tell you when to let something go and when to let it be. There’s no formula that will determine how long to sit with something, but getting the mind out of the way may be the key. Yoga teaches us to be in the moment without grasping. It teaches us to quiet the mind so we can access our true Self, a Self that knows contentment and bliss. When we learn to be still and let things be (it takes practice), we get better at turning difficult emotions over to a higher power that knows what to do with them.
As my yoga teacher pointed out, we are always held. Another way to look at it to realize that when we get in tune with our true Self, things unfold as they are meant to unfold. That means we can process every experience in due time. We just need to be willing to let Source operate through us and for us.
If all of this sounds a bit “out there,” I get it. Just realize you don’t have to force yourself to feel or not feel anything. Yoga offers many tools we can use to expand our perspective, and when we operate from a more expansive place, we notice more and more that we’re always where we need to be.
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Hi, I’m Maria. I created Yoga Circles for you if you want to delve more deeply into the philosophy, practice, and life-changing effects of yoga. I’m also a writer and editor who helps small business owners, wellness professionals, teachers, and authors publish books, develop marketing strategies, and connect with readers, clients, and students. Visit my website (link below) for more about that. I’d love to hear from you!