Surrender. It's a hard word. It's a very hard concept. Is surrender inherently bad? Good? When do you surrender? When is surrender healthy?
These are all VERY good questions and I am sure all of us have them from time to time. In our minds, we see control and action versus surrender and loss of control. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Surrender - or letting go - can be an act of saving yourself, keeping yourself healthy, being mindfully engaged in what you need and what is BEST for you. It can be self-care of a deep and very important kind.
Surrender to the flow. Let go of the past. Release what no longer serves you. Surrender your preconceived notions (mentally and physically). Let go of tension and strain. Release the body and mind.
Join me for this very special practice and think about surrender in your life. What do you need to let go of to support your overall health and welfare? Practice this with the guide below OR join me in the FREE practice video below to get a feel for the poses, the pace and how surrender can fit into your life.
I have added 2 Spotify music playlists for this practice: 1 is alternative, 1 is very traditional. Enjoy!
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Begin by lying on your back in whatever Savasana position you enjoy. If your back is tight, keep your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and allow your knees to drop together. Take one hand to your heart, one hand to your belly and feel the softness and beat of your heart in your hand. Connect to your breath and allow yourself to examine, lightly, your feelings about surrender. Allow the breath to move your body and mind into a state of release - letting go. Stay here for 2-3 minutes.
Supine Hand To Big Toe Series (Supta Padangusthasana Series)
Hold: 2-3 minutes each position
Bring both knees into your chest and gently squeeze them in. Take a strap or belt and wrap it around the ball of the right foot (right under toes) and take the leg up to the ceiling. Allow the strap to lengthen the leg out (more important to have leg straight than closer to your head), holding each end of the strap in each hand. Keep your left leg either outstretched on the floor or knee bent a little away from your hips. Allow the left knee to drift out to the left slightly. Hold upright for 2-3 minutes.
Then, take the strap in the right hand and let the right leg go out to the right - keeping both hips firmly on the floor. You can balance this by allowing the left knee to fall out to the left. Hold here for 2-3 minutes. Bring foot back to center and take the strap into your left hand and take the leg about 6-10" across the midline of the body and allow the left knee to fall in towards the right - almost crisscrossing in the middle. Notice the right hip and keep it moving away from the upper body (you can take your hand and slightly move it towards end of the mat). Come back to center after 2-3 minutes and move to the next pose before starting the second side.
1/2 Stirrup (Ardha Ananda Balasana)
Hold: 2-3 minutes
Bring your right knee into your chest and take your right hand to the insideof the knee to grasp the inside or outside of the right foot. Using a little bit of shoulder and chest traction, pull the knee into the outer right side towards the floor and head the bottom of the right foot towards the ceiling. Take your left leg either bent or out straight. Hold here feeling the deep stretch in the lower back, hips and glutes. Release and take a breath or two - sense the feeling in the right body versus the left. Notice the differences before moving on to Supta P series above on the left side and to here again.
Dragonfly (Upavistha Konasana)
Hold: 2-6 minutes
Take heels wide on the mat, relaxing the knees and feet. If this is too much on your hamstrings, gently bend your knees and support with blocks if needed. Slowly bend forward, walking fingertips forward. If you are close to the floor, use a block or bolster to support your head. Breathe deeply into the entire back side of the body and drop your chin to your chest - lengthening the neck. Focus on exhaling 2-4 seconds longer than your inhale. Sense the muscles when they try to engage and send some breath to release them. Surrender to the pose and to gravity. To come out, return to upright, lift the INSIDE of the knee up and windshield wiper the legs for 5 breaths.
Half Saddle Forward Fold (Ardha Virasana FF)
Hold: 2-4 minutes
Take a block or blanket under your left outstretched leg (or sit on floor). Take your right leg and bend it back, keeping the right heel near the right hip. Use your thumb to gently slide the calf muscle back and out to give the knee space to fold. Prop yourself up as high as you need here. Sit upright for a few breaths and then, gently begin to fold forward. Release. Forget what you think this pose should look like or how far you get to the floor. Just breathe and surrender to gravity. As time goes by, you may find yourself coming closer to the floor but don't push yourself. Allow this to happen. After 2 minutes, press yourself to upright. Take your right hand over to the right side and lean over to the right. Take the left arm up and over the head to find a deep side body stretch. Hold for 1 minute and take left hand to left side for the other side of the body. Come back to center. To come out, gently lean over to the left side and slide the right leg out straight. Bounce the knees, wiggle the toes and massage the legs for 5-8 breaths before continuing to the other side.
Sphynx Pose (lifted)
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Bring your elbows under your shoulders or slightly in front on top of a folded blanket or bolster, palms together with outside edge down. Feel your chest pulling forward and belly towards the floor. You can sink your chest between your shoulders OR keep lightly engaged to lighten the load on the back. If you want more, bend your knees to 90 degrees and/or drop your chin to your chest. Sense the area of your lower back and breath into it. Release the tension in your lower back and shoulders. To come out, slowly lower your head to the bolster and take your hands out to sides. Slowly roll onto your back and take a few breaths with your entire body flat on the floor.
Caterpillar Pose (Paschimottanasana)
Hold: 2-6 minutes
Come to a seat with a blanket or towel under your hips to help your pelvis tilt forward (if needed). Take your legs out in front of you either with some space between the heels or together. Relax the feet and legs. You can allow any amount of bend in the knees. Softly slide your hands alongside your legs and fold - letting your upper back round and your chin slide to your chest. You can use props if you are closer to the floor to support your arms or head or even place a rolled blanket under the knees for support. This is one of the ultimate tests of surrender - let go of what you think your body should be doing here and accept where your body is right now, at this very moment. Release into the here and now. To come out, slowly roll up and take 5-10 cat/cows to soften the spine.
Hold: 2-5 mins
Gently press through your feet to lift hips slightly over to the right side. Bring knees to chest and drop over to the left side, stacking the knees as much as possible. Take arms wide out from shoulders and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to pull your knees ground bound and settle your shoulders deeper. Enjoy the release of the spine, back and hips in here and breathe deeply into the space you have found. To come out, turn head to center, engage core and come back to center hugging knees in and rocking for a few breaths. Take the second side.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath. LET. IT. ALL. GO.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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