This will be the first of hopefully many a blogpost. Its written in English this time, first of all because often Im simply more comfortable writing in English and secondly because we have quite a few beautiful people in our humble Abyasa community who do not speak a word of Dutch. Ok maybe one word. And for those of you who are uncomfortable reading English, Im sorry and I will be posting in Dutch soon :).
This week one of our theme’s has been Letting Go. A beautiful theme as we all have something to let go of, whether we are aware of this or not. Sometimes we are trying to consciously to let go of something, sometimes we are simply going to the toilet ;).
Let me explain that last statement. We need to release and let go of things to be able to take in and fully enjoy something new. We need to empty our bowels to make space for the delicious new food we need to eat. Now, there are not many people who desperately hold on to their bowel content, most of us are very happy to let it go. But in many cases letting go is not so obvious, often we are not even aware we are holding on to things that do not serve us anymore, and actually block the things we do need.
So, forget about our bowel content, life is full of them. Often we really want to let go! But we dont.. Usually letting go has to do with our comfort zone, fear, sometimes even ignorance. You want to go elsewhere but you are afraid of letting go of where you are. We want a quiet mind, but we are not ready to let go of all the thoughts and worries – imagine the scary emptiness if there is nothing to think. We would like to find love but its difficult to let go of things inside ourselves that block us from finding it.
As our practice on the mat often seems a perfect resemblance of our ‘practice in life’, we encounter many things that we are not letting go of in our practice as well. Just as it seems hard to let go of thoughts and worries, insecurities or expectations about ourselves and what we do, tension in places we do not need – there is something really simple and so important where we often forget to let go: ‘exhaaaaallleeeeee’. Remember the sound of this during class? Its for a reason:
We are a little afraid to exhale completely – even though this air does not serve us anymore.
We need to take in oxygen to live and this is our main focus. Especially when the practice gets a little challenging, we really want to fully inhale and feel that fullness in our lungs. But what we often forget is, to fully fill our lungs with new fresh air, we need to first let go of whats inside: the carbon dioxide that we don’t need anymore. To live, we need our exhales just as much as we need our inhales – without them, we can not take in oxygen.
So with all of this in the back of our minds, yesterday we have started to exhale to the max. Full, long exhales. Exhales that still continue after you think you’ve exhaled it all. We have watched the reaction of our body to it. Watched the feeling of emptiness on the final second of our exhale. Watched the beautiful space we created for new oxygen. Watched how we can actually use our exhales so well to create space in our bodies for bending forward, twisting our spine and for maximal use of our abdominal muscles at the right moment.
Letting go of all the toxins we do not need. Not in our lungs, not in our minds, not in our hearts. And ofcourse, balance is in order: never forget that we need it all. Exhale doesnt mean do not inhale.
But mindful of your exhales and start letting go from there. Keep practicing.