The thing about surrender. You think you’re doing it. You ARE doing it and yet you are not. There is another layer and another layer and deeper and deeper you drop. Surrender isn’t once and it isn’t always clear. How much must we surrender? All of it. But only in doses. Let go too much and like a rubber band, back you snap. Creep toe by toe into the vast ocean and you just might submerge wondering, “will I ever come back up?” My one student told me she didn’t know where her arms were. Exactly. Given up, they mean nothing and yet they are there.
I still think of Kurmasana when I think of my first real surrender experience. In this way the asana was the teacher. Each day I’d imagine water rippling, spreading apart. Years of hurts fell into that floor as my chest let go. Now that memory is the step into surrender when I don’t know how to find it. What brings you there? We must be taught how to go.
Surrender is the rest at the end of practice, but so many find this the hardest pose of all. Eyes open, I meet them restless, unable to be still. The beauty of Ashtanga is it rips the fight out of us. Most have no choice after the hour and a half of sweat and concentration but to get carried into the stillness. Some, however, do hang on. Those we must teach the Art of Surrender. To know that the floor is supporting them. That they need not hold on.
Surrender is a gift you give yourself. It’s a lane you step into. A moving pathway that is always there. It requires a trust that the floor is there below you. It’s reinforced when you remind yourself it is. Surrender is scary but it’s also joy. It can feel like falling or flying by the quality you decide to give it. Surrender each day on your mat and you begin to understand a broader life surrender. A way of living that isn’t a fight but can perhaps be easy, be floaty, be free.
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