If you practice yoga, you've probably been in a class where the teacher invited you to "let go" during certain poses. Have you ever wondered what that means? If so, you're not alone. Plenty of people are wondering what they should be letting go of and more importantly... how.
The invitation to let go may seem general because, well, it is. It could mean letting go of attachments, anxiety, stress, tension, limiting beliefs, and more. So here are a few helpful tips for developing your ability to let go of limiting beliefs about yourself, using what I like to call, the "catch and release" method. The techniques explained here are free, easy, and accessible to everyone.
The Catch Phase
The first step is to identify limiting beliefs you hold about yourself. A limiting belief could be any statement that limits our abilities and potential—swirling around in our minds telling us what we can or can or can not do. Statements like: I could never..., or I can't..., It's hard to..., etc. Oftentimes we inherit limiting beliefs from those around us. We may get them from another person, or from society at large, and then incorporate them into our own belief system. It's as though we bought them, and that's okay, because we're going to learn how to sell them back.
Once you've caught on to a limiting belief in your mind, its time to break it down. For example, we'll use the statement: "It's hard to get into shape when you're over 40." This limits the abilities of people over a certain age, perpetuating the myth that good health is only possible at certain ages. Even if we believe this, we could soften it. While getting into shape may be "hard," that means that it is still possible, which helps to soften the blow. But there's more! It implies that age is a factor. So let's drop the qualifier "over 40" and acknowledge that it's possible to get into shape at any age.
If you choose to simply adopt this belief versus the original statement, it gives you more power, more options, more freedom. It is not limiting. It could feel better than holding on to the statement we started with.
The Release Phase
Whenever you find yourself in a posture where you could "let go," you can simply set your intention to release any limiting beliefs that no longer serves you. In yoga, this may come up during certain hip and heart-opening poses. Our physical bodies can house our feelings, memories, and beliefs.
Anytime that you notice certain thoughts arise during your practice, this is an opportunity to catch and release them.
The next step is to replace them with softer, more empowering beliefs. You can focus on releasing during each exhale and inviting in the new with each inhale. If you practice creative visualization, you may wish to envision negativity, tension, and limitations dissolving as you let go, and being replaced by newer, more positive and radiant energy you invite in with each breath.
The catch and release method is easy and doesn't require any expensive gadgets, medications, or anything else outside of you. You already have everything you need in order to practice it. Using this method may result in feeling liberated and empowered in your yoga practice and your life, helping you become more of who you truly are.
Photo by Amy Hart