I just came back from Baron Baptiste level two, which means I have so much I want to share with you all that I don’t know where to begin. It’s funny, though, sometimes the things that hit you the hardest are those you expect the least. The phrase I’ve been thinking about most since I came home is an offhand comment made by an assistant on the last day.
Surrender in a way that gives you power.
I think what strikes me about this phrase is how applicable it is to everything. Yoga is, of course, especially relevant, not only because I was at a yoga retreat, but because this saying so perfectly reflects another popular yoga saying, “Find the place between ease and effort”. It’s also potent because it allows us to differentiate between surrender as empowering and giving up as disempowering. Surrender isn’t a giving up, it’s a softening and a deepening.
While practicing vinyasa, it is easy to over-effort or give up because it’s physically difficult. I mean, come on, you do a pushup every few postures! Yet the different between practicing yoga and just getting a workout lies in the ability to mentally surrender to poses that challenge us. Can you drop in and breathe fully in chair pose? Can you stand in warrior one without needing to fix your hair and see if you’re prettier than your neighbour?
Next time you’re in class, try to surrender fully to it. Limit the sweat wipe downs and the water bottle chugs, breath like you mean it, and really set your gaze. It’s true, vinyasa is really hard, but if you surrender to it, the practice can give you power. You can surrender powerfully even in child’s pose, even in a modification, if you surrender with honesty. Because, let’s face it, if you’re dropping out in the middle of class just because it’s hard, you’re not surrendering, you’re giving up. And that doesn’t give anyone power.