The Stretch 2 | Month 3, Week 4

Exploration this week: Isvarapranidhana (embodying your ideals)

This concept is the final of the niyamas (which is the second part of the eight limbs of yoga, a framework of sorts for yoga). This often gets translated in some variation of devotion to whatever the spiritual, divine or universal means to you. In that sense, I think of it a bit like “let go and let g-d.” I’ve also heard it translated as embodying your ideals, which inspires me so much.

No matter how you look at it, though, there’s an element of letting go.

Have you ever seen that episode of Friends where Chandler plays a video game so long that when he gets up his hand is in the shape of a claw and won’t go back to normal because he’s been gripping the controller so long?

I can’t tell you how often I think about that because it’s the perfect metaphor for how I often approach life. And, I mean, how perfect is it that happened when he was holding a controller?

Yeah. Not super subtle, is it?

Here’s what started to help me warm to the idea of letting go: I realized that it actually involves an opening up. Because when I let go of what I think a yoga pose, my yoga practice, my body, someone else, or whatever should be like, I open myself to something new. A different perspective. A new insight. A release. My hand de-clawing itself from the controller of life.

Where could you let go of preconceived ideas about what your yoga practice should be like this week, and how could you let yourself ride the wave of what shows up, opening yourself to a new glimpse of your oneness and wholeness?

I’m not quite sure myself, but I’ll be exploring right along with you.

#BodyInvocation

This week’s invocation is: May I ride the wave of my life

Let this one carry you into your practice this week, both on and off the mat!

Also, want a reminder of all our invocations this month? I’ve got that for you right here! Feel free to save it and/or share!

Curvy Question

I’ve got one more reflection question for you this week! Here it is:

What does letting go look like in my practice? What about wholeness?

Video of the Week

Studio members, your video is right here (along with a couple other recommendations — and some thoughts on choosing practice videos during our rest month!).

Podcast

Last week on the podcast I talked about where I was able to find steadiness and sweetness — and where I didn’t. This week, our last episode of this season, I’ll be talking about how isvarapranidhana showed up for me this week, as well as some thoughts about this round of The Stretch overall. Check it out here.

Month 4 of The Stretch

This will be our last post here for a little while. The Stretch includes three months of conversations here, followed by one month of rest and integration. When I created The Stretch, it was really important to me that we all have some space to breathe, reflect, and as some of you know I’m very fond of saying, percolate. Similar to what we talked about above, we humans are seasonal, cyclical beings. We need times of action as well as times of rest, times of cultivation and times to let the fields lie fallow.

So in this next month of your practice, I encourage you to honor what you’ve learned about yourself and your practice these past few months. All of the past months’ materials have been compiled for you if there’s anything you want to revisit or haven’t had the opportunity to check out yet. And if you’re a free or paid member of the Studio, you still have access to your respective practice videos and can use them at any time!

I’ll miss you during our rest month, but I look forward to hearing what you learned and what unfolded during your practice! I’ll be back here Sept. 10th to open the doors to join the Studio if you’re not a member and would like to become one this year (the doors won’t open again until the new year). And then on Sept. 17th we’ll be back for Round 3 of The Stretch — with a new focus and resources!

8 responses to “Opening to Life

  • I enjoy your podcasts so much Anna, they explain so well how yoga carries on in so many ways off the mat ….. and remind not to be so self critical!

  • I hate that I just found you in Sept.but at least I have.I am 65 and starting a new beginning with my daughter[37] and my granddaughter{8}.We are now living together and am hoping for a positive experience.I have often thought about yoga but was intimidated by it until I saw a post of yours.I am looking for all that you share and looking forward to checking it all out.So here goes I will keep you posted on our progress.Thanks

  • I’ve taken a few months out as the summer was (for me) crammed with activity. I remembered to keep breathing, keep asking myself how to be kinder and trusted myself to know when I would have the energy and time to come back to practice. I think that’s probably the first time in my life I haven’t kicked myself for being an abject ‘failure’ in doing my practice 24/7 and instead taking cue from what my body needed (i.e., it didn’t need deep dive yoga at the time). Now, as the season changes and I have nothing but time – and all the aches, pains and so on that happens during autumn/winter – I’m able to return to my practice and do what works best for my body, rather than set a rigid schedule of which poses I feel I need to be doing.

    That’s…pretty cool. I don’t think I’ve ever allowed myself to have that approach to anything body related; to do what felt right, rather than what was dictated to me in order to be ‘healthy’ or ‘serious about making body changes’.

    Thank you. I will be reading over and mulling what I have learned, going deep and sitting with it as I go. I continue to journey with you. Thank you for being so real, so human, and so approachable in all you do.

    • YES! Oh my goodness — this is everything!! I 100% think this is what life (and, by extension, practice is all about): being with what is true for us in the moment, knowing that it will shift at some point. Sounds like you were doing your practice off the mat over the summer in a beautiful way! Thank you so much for sharing this!

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