Good riddance 👋 | Issue #2
Clear space for new beginnings by letting go of the past
2020 felt like swimming through quicksand, don't you agree?
Many of us left the year disappointed and full of resentment due to broken plans and dreams.
To enjoy the new 2021, let's make space for better things by unclinging from our negative emotions and practicing the art of letting go.
🧘🏽 Focus Pose
Negative emotions to our nervous system are like tension to our physical body. Thanks to the active compression, Eagle Pose helps relieve accumulated tension and stimulate the lymphatic system so that your body could let go of what no longer serves it.
Prep & How-To:
Begin in Tadasana (Mountain pose) with your feet slightly apart.
On an exhale, engage your abdominal muscles and slowly lift your right knee up until it's parallel with the floor.
Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side.
Alternate between legs 3 times.
Return to Tadasana.
Exhale and sit back into Utkatasana (Chair pose).
Make sure to keep the weight of your body in the heels - you should be able to wiggle your toes.
Inhale and return to Tadasana.
Repeat the movement 3 times.
From Chair pose, cross your left elbow over the right one and bring your palms together. Reach your hands away from the face. Alternatively, bring your palms to opposite shoulders as if you're giving yourself a hug.
Shift your weight into the left foot. Cross your right thigh over the left one and hook your right foot behind the left calf, if possible.
Squeeze your arms and legs together, contracting the abdomen on every exhale.
Keep your spine straight and the head in line with the spine.
If you feel stable, move into Sleeping Eagle by folding your torso over the thighs. Hold for about three full breaths.
Release and shake it out. Repeat on the other side.
Lie on your back.
Lift the right leg up to the sky into Supta Prasarita Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose).
Hold onto your thigh, calf, or foot.
Hold for about three breaths.
Repeat on the other side.
If possible, bring two legs up to the sky and hold onto your feet while opening through the inner thighs.
🧠 Brain Food
Aparigraha is a concept in yoga philosophy interpreted as the practice of non-possessiveness, non-grasping, non-attachment.
Though often mentioned in relation to modern overconsumption, hoarding, and clinging to material objects, Aparigraha is also about mastering the art of letting go of intangible things - emotions, beliefs, experiences.
The concept of Aparigraha emphasizes the fluidity of life. Everything in the universe is in a state of constant change. When we try to resist that change and want things to stay as they are, we are locking ourselves out from life.
"The fewer attachments we carry with us, the more we are free to enjoy and engage and live every moment before us to the fullest." - from the book The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele.
When following the principle of Aparigraha, we can:
practice a yoga pose without clinging to expectations of how we should look in it.
do the work we love without thinking about what will come out of it.
feel free and unburdened by material possessions.
let go of the past pain and disappointments and gain the courage to live new experiences, no matter what they might bring. Because the good or the bad - as everything in life, these too shall pass.
In short, the practice of Aparigraha helps us live in the present without:
obsessing about the past (what if I did this and not that; what if this situation did or didn't happen)
the fear of the future (what if I fail, what if I lose my relationship/ money/ status).
Practicing non-attachment gets easier if we approach our life from the point of gratitude.
Acknowledging the things and experiences we are lucky to have helps shift the mindset from negative and "accumulative" to positive and “giving.”
In their book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Emily and Amelia Nagoski provide a gratitude exercise called A Long-Term Gratitude Lifter.
The authors suggest practicing it at the end of each day. I suggest that, for starters, focus on the past 2020 year.
Here's how to do it:
Think of all events or circumstances in 2020 for which you feel grateful, and write about them.
Give each event or circumstance a title, like "Finished Reading Chapter 8" or "Made It Through That Meeting Without Crying or Yelling."
Write down what happened, including details about what anyone involved, including you, did or said.
Describe how it made you feel at the time and how you feel now, as you think about it.
Explain how the event or circumstance came to be. What was the cause? What confluence of circumstances came together to create this moment?
If, as you write, you feel yourself being drawn into negative, critical thoughts and feelings, gently set them to one side and return your attention to the thing you're being grateful for.
Got a journal? Download the printable version of the exercise here.
Got any questions, suggestions, or feedback? Send me an email at email@example.com.