“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go”
If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the last 50 years of studying bodies and teaching yoga, ergonomics, and now BodySense, it can be summed up by Rumi’s quote “life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” Whether it’s the coming and going of thoughts, the inhale and the exhale of the breath, the contraction and expansions of the muscles of the body, we’re always moving along the spectrum of “holding on” and “letting go.”
However, what I have discovered over these many years is that many of us have old patterns of “holding on,” and that we’ve forgotten about the “letting go.” The original impulse to hold on is part of the natural flow of movement – a necessary step in the flow of life. But it’s when this holding on becomes an unconscious, stuck pattern, and the cycle of “hold one, let go, hold on, let go” gets interrupted, that we start to feel pain. So often, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We’ve gotten so used to the feeling of “holding on” that we just call it life and keep trudging forward.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
Yoga and meditation teach us that the first step is often as simple as awareness. I am going to be so bold as to say that by bringing your curiosity and loving attention to an area of pain or stuckness, and by exploring the sensations and using the power of imagination (and a couple balls and balloons!), it is possible to experience an almost immediate release, and the freedom and lightness of being that comes with it. I see it almost every day, in almost every session.
Now, deep, lasting change often takes repetition and more patience, but even in that split moment of release, all of a sudden, the body now knows that something else is possible. The body now knows, deep in its muscles and tendons and cells, that there is another way. In that moment of release, however brief, we’ve just opened up the possibility of “letting go” and offered the body contrast. Now we can feel “pain” and “not pain”, or even just “stuck” and “not stuck.” As they say, knowledge is power, and we’ve just empowered the body/mind with a whole new experience.
I’ve found that many bodies need a little support on this journey. My favorite kind of support? Balls and balloons (and chocolate…obviously). These magical props have transformed the way I work with bodies, including my own, and have so much to teach us about “holding on” and “letting go”.
These days, all that I’m learning is going into BodySense, the latest iteration of my work, which I’m discovering complements all body centered modalities such as yoga, yoga therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, bodywork, somatics and more. The best part is that it is safe, supportive, and nurturing (also, kind of like chocolate).
To get a little taste of what’s possible, check out these handouts at Yes! Yoga. Yes! Yoga
For those that I had the privilege of working with this past summer at the Feathered Pipe (wow – what a summer it was!), these handouts were really made with you in mind; to help you recall and go deeper into some of what we explored together.
For those I haven’t gotten to work with yet, I invite you to try out the exercises with an open, curious mind and see what you discover! (And feel free to share it with me! My contact info is below).
Wishing you all balance in the year ahead – may you hold on to what serves, and let go of the rest!
If you’d like to learn more about what YOUR body has to say, I’d love to work with you! You can check out BodySense, My Yoga Teacher Training Pregnancy Tool Kit and my work with balls, balloons on my website – Yes! Yoga. These days, in addition to my 1-on-1 work, I’m loving working with teachers and those who want to learn how to “speak the language of the body/mind”. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to explore how this work can enhance your own practice, teaching, or studio offerings.
ABOUT HEIDI GOLDMAN:
Heidi Goldman C-IAYT, E-RYT-500, LMT, Certified Industrial Ergonomist-CIE, and YACEP & APD Provider, has been called a “Teacher of Teachers” and is a certified Yoga Instructor for 43 years from the California Yoga Teachers Association CYTA currently the Iyengar Institute of San Francisco, CA. Her passion and life’s work flow into Yoga Equipoise System – YES! YOGA, which weaves classical Yoga poses and philosophy, Somatics and Movement Potential together to explore the innate wisdom of the body/mind/emotions/spirit. When the body feels completely supported a deep and profound release is possible; attuning to ourselves and what lies within us – life is full-filled.
Having grown up in the Iyengar tutelage, good body mechanics is first and foremost but it is very likely that within each class everyone could be doing something different. Heidi is a member of the core founding group and former director of yoga programs for the Feathered Pipe Foundation. She was hugely instrumental in making the Feathered Pipe Ranch an epicenter for the exploration and distillation of yoga in America.
She considers herself a pioneer and perpetual student having spent much of her adult life studying and learning from some of the best master teachers in the world of Yoga, Somatic’s and Movement Potential: Sai Baba, BKS Iyengar, Rama Jyoti Vernon, Angela Farmer, Judith Lasater, Erich Shiffmann, Lilias Folan, Deepak Chopra, Milton Trager, Moshe Feldenkrais and Emily Conrad Doud, naming just a few who have guided her personal journey and yoga practice. She is a dedicated practitioner of Vapassana Meditation.
Learn more about Heidi: yesyogasystems.com
Email email@example.com for trainings, free handouts materials, videos and event schedule.