I was in yoga the other day, minding my own business as usual. I get in and out of there, not make eye contact, trying not to feel awkward whilst putting my thumbs to my third eye and saying, “Namaste.” I’m a crunchy, leftie, granola hippie, but that doesn’t mean I want to hang out with folks like me, for crying out loud. We’re weird and far too prone to violating personal space.


Anyway, I try to make yoga the quietest hour of my week. I pledge to not be a perfectionist, which takes all of my concentration, since perfectionism is basically my personality in a nutshell. I listen to what the teacher says, but if I want to do something else, I just do something else. Sometimes that means laying in child’s pose and humming a merry tune in my head while everyone sweats through their 43rd chataranga dandasana. If I don’t wanna, I don’t.


I must have been feeling teachable the other day, because for some reason, when our yoga teacher put us in a particularly painful shoulder-stretching pose, I was compliant. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that this yoga teacher is tall and blonde and cheerfully Texan. She calls us babe or darlin’ and says things like “fixin to meditate” or “I can plum near reach my toes with my shoulders,” so basically I have a huge crush on her.


Anywho, ya’ll, back to the shoulder stretch. It was painful. I have bum shoulders to begin with, and this was the kind of “oh lord Jesus please save me why do I do yoga” kind of painful stretch. I was about to give it up and revert to my “I don’t have to do what you say” pose, when Texas guru Barbie said, “Ya’ll…zero in on where you’re holdin’ tight. That’s where you need to let go.”


Basically my head exploded.


Because guess what? I was holding in my shoulder. I was protecting all of those old injuries and fears. I was afraid that letting go might make me lose it altogether. But I tried it. I let go. My shoulder dissolved into blissful, heavy, thirsty happiness.


I’m going to be Captain Obvious here – we so do this in our real lives. We hold. We protect. We build a little wall, a little cocoon around our injuries and fears and hurts. We don’t trust letting go – if we let go, who will pick up the pieces?


But I learned in a very real way that letting go leads to healing, to relaxation, to freedom. I asked myself:


Where am I holding onto anger?

Where am I holding onto un-forgiveness?

Where am I holding onto “the way it should have been?”

Where am I holding onto an unhelpful desire?

Where am I holding onto circumstances, or narratives I’ve designed in my head? Stories I’ve told myself about myself…and others?


It’s time to let go, ya’ll. Bless our hearts, we try to take care of ourselves. It’s no one’s fault; it’s completely natural. But, it reaches a point where it doesn’t serve us anymore.


And that’s when we know it’s time to let go.


Photo by Jacob Postuma on Unsplash