Holding on too tightly to something or someone can come from insecurity, the avoidance of loss or grief. Ultimately it becomes about avoiding pain, but in the process of possessiveness we cause a different kind of pain for ourselves.
Any accumulation, whether it’s of things, or emotions can cause a congestion. Imagine never throwing anything away, what we accumulate begins to rot, take up space, might even begin to smell and repel. Similarly, when we avoid letting go within us, for example not sharing a thought which worries us, letting it accumulate through avoiding it or pushing it down, gives it power and space.
Another example or not letting go might be physical, being always on the go, never offering ourselves the time and space to slow down and rest, leading to exhaustion, fatigue and loss of vitality. Chronic stress, whether it’s work, or relationship needs to be resolved from time to time if it’s to not wreak havoc in our bodies. Letting go becomes a discipline in our modern fast paced lifestyle, and a birth right.
Our bodies need rest, our minds need space, and our emotions need to be processed. Think of Savasana in your Yoga practice. The relief of laying on the floor at the end of a Yoga session. The weight of the body being held by the earth, the sense of surrender as the muscles let go of the bones and joints and the whole body lengthens and widens into the ground. You may even notice that the body takes a sigh of relief, a deep breath as you find stillness.
Letting go is essential, think about the seasons, the Autumn is an example of a very natural letting go, the need for trees to surrender their fruits and leaves to the earth. What they let go of serves as nourishment and compost for the earth, their waste product quite literally feeds the soil and nourishes the roots of plants and trees all around. Nature slows down to rest in the stillness of winter and we could learn a vital lesson if we slow down and listen to our bodies.
Within us we so often take our breath for granted, but letting go of our exhale is a natural place to connect with this sense of natural surrender. Take the time to breathe out slowly and notice how it softens the body, notice how it guides a sense of relaxation within you. Breathe out fully in order to clean and clear space for the start of a new breath cycle, the nourishment of a new inhale. We’re not meant to accumulate and carry mental and emotional baggage around with us nor are we meant to be constantly on the go. Letting go is vital to our well-being so let’s find ways to invite more surrender into our lives.
Take Aparigraha off the mat today. Begin to notice your exhale and give yourself permission to let it go fully, knowing that whatever you let go of is clearing space for what’s to come. You might even extend this practice to your thoughts and emotions, write a diary of what’s on your mind, the things that play on your mind and take up space. Give yourself space and time to release emotions when they become pent up, a good cry, a long walk alone, an honest conversation with a loved one. All are practices in letting go.