My asana practice has suffered this month, having gone on holiday and then returning with an awful head cold that left me feeling exhausted and lying horizontal for days. During this time, I just had to surrender to the fact that I couldn’t practice and it would be a while before I could even do a downward dog without a throbbing in my head and pains in my ears. It was hard - my plan was to come back from holiday and just get straight back into my usual early morning shala routine, to build up my strength and regain some calm from the manic last few months. Alas, this didn’t happen.
Learning to surrender and accept your situation is always the hardest when it doesn’t go your way. Illness and injury is the most tangible example of this, and as ever with this asana practice, the physical represents so much more by reflecting the non-physical. We so often wish that our lives or elements of our lives were different, for people and things to follow our own method and thinking. This wishing is a fight against the reality, and is the source of most our stresses and upsets.
Real acceptance is tough though. You’re essentially fighting against your natural response to want to fix, change and control. As humans in this busy world, we love control and have been raised believing that control equals power and power means an easier life as it all goes our own way. We all understand that not everything will go how we want it to all the time because that’s simply not real life, and yet our expectation and overwhelming desire is for this to happen. A little crazy, right?
Surrender doesn’t mean to just give up and forget your drive to change though, but rather it’s about the acceptance of the external situation. We can change the situation within ourselves, our attitude, our thoughts and our responses - this is our true power. The longer we fight against the external, the longer we remain in a negative state, which eats into our energy resources. Negative energy undoubtedly is more exhausting than positive energy.
So whilst I’ve been recovering, I’ve managed some gentle practice and it’s given me the opportunity to focus on living yoga. Being honest, more reflective, and more mindful in my day to day. Once I surrendered, I found a lighter energy which I could direct into a more positive space and I've used this off the mat too. You’ve just got to give yourself the chance to be more content and positive, and the opportunity to be kinder to yourself for that easier life.