This morning was just like most mornings — I came into Seated Forward Bend feeling a tug in my hamstrings before my muscles released. I didn’t go all that deep at first. Then some time passed and I felt my body loosening, so I went deeper into the pose. I used to (ah, those ignorant first yoga years) just force myself all the way into a pose refusing to back down despite the screaming of my muscles. My muscles now rejoice over the fact that I gradually flow into the pose. I have those moments when I think, “I can’t possibly let go any more.” Then I shift ever so slightly deeper and surprise myself. Well yes, I can let go a wee bit more.
In the spirit of “how you do one thing is how you do everything,” I’m doing the same in my house right now. This past week I’ve been decluttering/clearing my space. I notice that I’ve approached it as I do my Seated Forward Bend. I go as deep as I can and as feels comfortable right off the bat and then I inch further as my muscles soften. The question of the week has been: Can I let go of more?
My initial answer, of course, is “NO! I need that!” Yep, picture the two year old me with pig tails stomping her foot, clinging tightly to the stuffed animal that my mom suggests we donate to a children’s hospital because I no longer play with it (yes, that’s a true story). It’s like that. After a little cajoling and some time to think it over, I released the stuffed animal, admitting that sick children do indeed need the little stuffie more than I do. I no longer wear my hair in pig tails but apparently things haven’t changed — a little cajoling and marinating and I’m ready to release more stuff.
And just when I’m about to say I’m done with this room, I realize that there’s more. When I ask myself, “Can I let go of more,” the answer is yes. Just when I think I can’t let go of more stuff, I realize that I can. I realize I don’t need all that much. I realize that I’d rather have more space than stuff. I realize that I need to create more than I consume. I realize that I can go deeper, be more empty.
I’m reminded that I need to do this with my life as well as my stuff and my yoga practice. What can I let go of that I’m holding on to? And what else can I let go of? Rather than just give something a cursory glance and declare it fine, perhaps I need to probe deeper and really ask myself if it’s working for me, if it fits, if it excites and delights me. I’ve donated plenty of “good stuff that works” this past week because it no longer jibes with who I am. Just because something works/is in fine shape/looks nice doesn’t mean that it’s right for me.
I’ve learned quite a bit about myself this week just from culling through my stuff and filling bags upon bags of stuff that I’m no longer holding onto. My yoga practice, my life, my stuff — it’s all the same thing. I just need to keep asking myself, “Can I let go of more?” I have a feeling I already know what the answer will be…
P.S. I donated my very first yoga mat last week (yes, I’d saved it all these years). I’m happy to report that I’m not traumatized by letting go of my sentimental objet d’ yoga.