by Amy Leonard-King
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu
Change is constant. This is a truth. Through the practice of Yoga we learn to soften ourselves against resistance to change. When we find ourselves struggling in a certain posture in class (resistance), we learn to find our breath (flow) and learn through the realisation that nothing is permanent, to ride the waves of change. It is only in this way that we can find ourselves at peace with the constant changes that life presents us with.
Take the seasons for example. We live in Melbourne where weather is never 'predictable' and we can experience the changes of four seasons in one day! We learn that if we put too much expectation on what the weather might do, we only end up with disappointment. However if we are able to keep an open mind, to 'go with the flow', we are able to see the beauty in every moment, no matter the weather.
As we learn to embrace change through the practices of Yoga, we find ourselves living much more in the ‘present’, the only place that life exists, and the only place we can actually experience pure joy, happiness + liberation. The opposite of change is resistance. When we are resistant, holding on, or feeling stuck, whether purposefully or involuntarily, we close ourselves off from these experiences. Have you ever noticed that as soon as you ‘give up’ on something, or simply let things take their course without attempting to force an outcome, everything magically falls into place? Letting go is another way of looking at embracing change.
Think of a situation that is currently challenging you, a question you can’t seem to answer, or a worry or concern that keeps playing on your mind without being resolved. Now close your eyes and take a few moments to settle your attention on your breath. Notice the flowing nature of your inhale and exhale. Notice how there is continuity to the breath, and that it is therefore in a state of constant ‘change’, constant flow. Now bring your attention back to the question/worry/unresolved issue and consciously Give It Up. Give up the fight, the effort, the struggle. Throw it out to the Universe with the spirit of fully letting it go. Allow it to leave your mind, allow the Universe to take it into it’s course, and in riding this wave, you’ll create space and distance, allowing the situation to be resolved with natural ease, rather than trying to control it into resolution.
It is the human ego that is most unwilling to relinquish control. It is the job of the ego to control, drive, force, and ultimately keep us attached. The Yogi is working towards seeing and acting beyond the ego. Bringing full awareness to the present moment, letting go of what is not of service, and ultimately finding peace in the realization of connection, union and the ‘oneness of being’.
“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel at peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ~ Marianne Williamson.
Happy practicing Yogis xx