We talk a lot in yoga classes about the concept of "letting go", but what do we actually mean?
On a purely physical level we are talking about letting go of tension and tiredness in the muscles. I always start my classes by getting my students to scan their bodies, looking for areas of tension and tightness and breathing into those areas, releasing on an exhalation. Then continuing with the idea of letting go on each exhalation I get them to release any fatigue, worry, stress or fear that they are holding on to -- let it go, allow the exhalation to take it away.
By letting go in this way we are preparing the body and centreing the mind for our yoga practice.
But we can let go on a much deeper level than this. As yogis we also need to let go of all the habitual behaviours that hold us back. We need to cut away the layers or koshas to find our true selves and relate properly with others. We need to let go of anxieties and fears that stop us looking at the world properly and at our true potential. We need to let go of all the unnecessary taks we do every day that we use as an excuse not to explore the new. Basically we need to let go of complexity to allow simplicity in.
I'm not pretending it's easy. Personally I'm not sure it's something I will achieve in this lifetime. But these things are worth bearing in mind, and when we spend time centreing and letting go of tension before our practice we should think about letting go on a deeper level. One little step at a time!