How to Let Go

by Jessica Brookman in , ,

FACT: Pain is unavoidable. Being a pussy is your choice. 



I was about a quarter of the way through my Monday morning bikram class. My first class back after a two-week break. And I was flailing.

Over the past four years, Bikram has become part of my spiritual practice. Forming a stronger mind-body-spirit connection is a big deal for me. I dance my way through work and mental blocks whenever i get stuck. And, if you've seen my instagram (soon to be Pheed), you probably know I even infuse ballet and yoga into random, everyday settings.  So it was frustrating to feel as though I'd regressed in my practice in only two weeks.

Since Bikram is the same sequence of postures every class, your challenge is to tune out distractions and focus only on your body and your breathing as you move through them.  It is my moving meditation. It works my body and quiets my mind. Except for today. Today, I was feeling less than spiritual.  Today, I was a shit-talking bitch. I barely made it to the first water break before I found myself light-headed and on my back in a pool of my own sweat. And not in the sexy way. 

"Surrender, bitch. This is happening."

Bikram instructors talk a lot. In fact, they talk pretty constantly through out the 90-minute class. They're the only external voice you hear all class. They direct motion into and out of each posture and keep the class focused. 

And, no, my instructor isn't a dominatrix.

But sometimes I can't help but her gentle, hippie tone as its completely harsh opposite.  "Surrender to what is happening now. Right here," is actually what she said. Forgive me for having a giggle to myself was I was collecting myself. 

Either way, she had a point. I was already there. I was there for another hour. How I spent that hour was up to me. I could complicate and resist how class was going TODAY and insist that it should be better, easier, more fluid, some other way. Or I could let it go, deal with the reality I was actually in. I got up and finished my class with all of the grace of an extremely sweaty newborn foal. 

Plus, I know better than to disobey a direct order. (But that's a story for another day, now, isn't it?)  

Just fucking let it go.

Forgive the parlance, but by submitting to the present reality (here: we are cranky, stiff, and dehydrated), we are free to make the best of it and learn something from each situation we face (here: drink more water, you idiot). 

Even afters years of practice, I still get blindsided by a painful class sometimes. Hurt is unavoidable, they say, suffering is optional. 

So what have we learned here? 

  1. Expectations are heavy. Regret is heavier. 
    Even bikram, which is the same class EVERY single time, isn't predictable. Don't get hung up on trying to forecast your future. There is always another day on the horizon with no guarantees of how it will play out. Tell that bitch to chill. And by "that bitch," I mean you. 

    While we're on it: What's done is done. No amount of pouting into your booty shorts in between back-bends can change what's already come, gone, and left you feeling hurt or flustered or exposed.* 

  2. You can't carry everything with you. 
    But, you do get to decide what to drop along the way for the most part. Attachment to possessions, commitments, and relationships should be audited or altered continuously to reflect the present reality. Only you can figure out what that means for you but... 

  3. You MUST choose. 
    If you don't decide what to let go of, life (or your dominatrix bikram yoga instructor) will decide for you. That doesn't seem very American, does it? #Freedom is being your own dominatrix. Or something like that. 


I'm not sure what "THIS" is in your case, but rest assured there will always be some THIS confronting you. I recommend you get up, finish your stupid lesson and get on with your life.

Just don't blame me if you never look at your yoga instructor the same way again. 


Other resources on letting go that don't involve references to dominatrixes:

Images: Ballerina Project.

*Yes, I am talking about your camel-toe. #pussycheck. You're welcome.