Can’t Catch Your Breath?

Have you ever had a time in your life when you couldn’t catch your breath? You felt like your ‘head was under water’, or at best, you were ‘treading’? That’s how I felt recently. I did a minute of journaling and began to feel that my intention was to just “try to stay open”. Open to what I was going thru, how I was feeling, and to what was. In essence, surrender.


In Yoga, surrender can be named Isvara Pranidhana. It is known as the last of the Niyamas, or observances, within Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, or the threads of wisdom as offered by the Sage, Patanjali. Isvara translates as ‘Supreme Being’, ‘God’, ‘Brahman’, or ‘True Self’. Pranidhana translates as ‘to dedicate’, ‘devote’, or ‘surrender’.


In order to even begin to surrender, we must acknowledge what we are holding onto that no longer serves us. For me, in my suffocating moment recently, I knew I had to let go of the desire for control and change. My children were sick, at the same time, and I wanted to heal them, I wanted to get back on track with my training I am taking, write my blogs, and life in general! This is ego. The ego will hold on to anything in order to give us a false sense of control. But…


“Surrendering to what is requires trust in our deepest Self, our intuition and the courage to express ourselves for who we are, as we are, with all of our perfect imperfections, which ultimately leads to freedom.” -Emma-Louise Newlyn


So, here’s an invitation. The next time you practice the physical poses of yoga, the asanas, or the next time you move your body, can you practice surrender in these two ways?:


1.) Physical Surrender. Really let go, ly down, do nothing. Breathe. Close your eyes. Make your body comfortable so you can really try to let go of your thoughts. Empty out. Exhale a little longer than your inhales. And remember how surrender does not mean “giving up”, but rather a release, a letting go, which might be the most difficult part of the practice, but which might also open you to clarity and a spaciousness that allows you to just be.


2.) When you meet some tension, whether physical or otherwise, can you breathe into it? Of course be compassionate, don’t hurt yourself, but can you relax into the physical sensations without leaving hurriedly? Can you move towards the discomfort or difficulty? To this, Emma-Louise writes, “Yes, Yoga makes us feel good. It heals us when we’re hurt, and it helps us find light when all we see is dark, but it also shows us what we’re made of when things get tough.”


Tell me how you have surrendered recently. What does surrender evoke within you? How did surrendering effect your situation/life?


For me, my kids are healing slowly, I took actions necessary to support that, but ultimately, I am still having to wait it out. It was a little virus, and now something else. I let go of my need for control to try and stop time so that I wouldn’t be so “far behind” in my training. I am rolling with life, and I do feel a sense of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. I even vacuumed and wrote this blog 😉