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Staying in the Flow to Let Go

Boston Yoga teacher and health expert Karen Fabian talks about staying open to possibilities…

As a yoga teacher, I’m in the business of helping people “let go.” But what does that mean, really? If we look at it literally, you can “let go” of something you’re holding onto or let go of someone’s hand, for instance. On a more spiritual level, you can “let go” of feelings, emotions and fears that hold you back. This is often the kind of “letting go” that people find challenging.

I’m convinced that people who can stay open to possibilities have less stress overall in their lives. They are better able to let go of things, big and small, and are able to bounce back after setbacks faster. They have mastered the art of “letting go.”

Much of who we are is ingrained in us from a young age. The way we were raised, our personalities, the experiences we had in our life. These all combine to create the person we are today. We often hold on to certain things in life because we’re afraid that to “let go” translates in our minds to being a failure in some way. So much of who we are is tied into what we do for work, our family role, the role we play in our jobs or with friends. We may feel that to let go of something in any of those personality “silos,” means we’ve somehow failed ourselves. Ask anyone who has been laid off from a job and they may say, “I just can’t let go of the idea that my role in life was tied into that job.” Ask anyone who has gone through a romantic breakup and often the thought of failure comes to mind. “I can’t let go of this person! They mean everything to me!”

Letting go often starts with softening our mind. While that might sound anatomically unsound and painful, it’s more of a theme for a way to approach letting go. The more rigid we hold our thoughts–about who we are, our role in life or our relationships, the less space we allow ourselves for other options. When we close off to other options, we think there is only one way to be. This rigid way of thinking leads to stress and is actually a very unrealistic way to live.

When we open our mind to other possibilities, we open up to the infinite wisdom of the universe. If you’re read Deepak Chopra’s “Seven Laws of Spiritual Success” you will read about this theme several times. The idea of opening our mind to other options assumes that we can trust something bigger than ourselves. This could come from our religion or just the idea that we have faith that there is something else at work besides that which we do on a day-to-day basis. A yoga practice creates a flexible body; living in a way where we’re open to the energy and power of the universe creates a flexibility of mind.

As a pretty rigid thinker myself, I’m convinced that people who can stay open to possibilities have less stress overall in their lives. They are better able to let go of things, big and small, and are able to bounce back after setbacks faster. They have mastered the art of “letting go” by forgiving themselves any mistakes they have made and staying connected to faith to see them through challenging times. Letting go of rigid thinking is a great way to tap into one’s own sense of creativity and from that creativity, new ideas can flow.

Here's a letting go exercises to stay in the flow:

Take a few moments and sit in a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes. Ask yourself if you’re holding on to something in your life that is a stressor. It could be an activity, a habit, a fear or something more specific, like a person or a job. Ask yourself what would be possible if you were to let that feeling or person or job go. What would happen? What would be the worst that could happen? What new thing could be possible if you let go of this thing, whatever it is?

If we don’t stay focused on challenging ourselves, we will live life in a stagnant way. Just as a still pond grows weeds and attracts bugs, we will stagnate and our possibilities will shrivel up. Develop a deeper awareness of when you are falling into a pattern of holding on and see what you can release in order to create more space in your life for new possibilities.

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