Our lives are extremely full of to-do lists, social activities, responsibilities, hopes for the future. And for most of these, we’re not open to the possibility of letting them go. We’re afraid of losing control.
Because of this, when we step on to the yoga mat or meditation cushion, we tend to apply the same mentality, which happens to hold us back. The litmus test for success in yoga is not achievement, it’s awareness. Striving has no place here.
In just about every yogic text we explore, having described in some detail, a path of practice, a sequence of techniques, a set of principles to live our life by, the text will then pause and offer the same instruction:
“‘Doing’ will get you so far. At some point you have to let go”.
The rest of the world wants us to strive, yoga wants us to surrender.
Is there a technique for this? No. We can’t get there by doing more. That’s kind of the point.
Surrender can be scary. Society would have us believe that it’s ‘giving up’ by another name so we flounder at the prospect of having to leave enough space for grace to work its magic.
Here’s another thing that yoga says: There’s some aspect of the final reveal that’s not up to us.
One of the more beautiful practices for exploring surrender is the practice of Yoga Nidra.
Not only does it offer us the magic of dissolution, it’s also a salve at a time when our nervous systems desperately need some rest.
One of the wonderful things about Yoga Nidra is that it offers us the opportunity to explore several levels of awareness. There’s the waking state (which we’re familiar with), the dream state (which includes both sleeping and day dreaming) and the void state of deep sleep. There’s another state of awareness that exists beyond them all – turiya – by virtue of which we have the capacity to be awake…and also aware, dreaming….and also aware…..in the void state of deep sleep….and also aware.
To rest in turiya is to rest in the deepest, most expansive space of awareness there is. In fact, it’s so deep and so expansive there’s no ‘I’ at the centre of it. This is the ultimate experience of surrender because we can’t take our ego with us.
That’s what makes it so rejuvenating. It’s also what makes it terrifying.
Some of the deepest, swiftest, most sweeping personal changes I’ve experienced have come through the practice of Yoga Nidra.
When we trust and let go, it’s almost like a giant cosmic broom comes through and sweeps away everything but the most essential part of us. It reveals to us the ways we’re stuck and liberates us from that stuckness in an instance of profound non-doing. Big shifts happen from a place like this.
Isn’t there some part of all of us that’s wanted it all along?
Yoga Nidra and the practice of trustful surrender is one of 10 modules on the upcoming 300h Embodied Sakti Teacher Training (beginning September). If you’re ready to let go and invite grace into your life, and deepen your relationship with your practice and yourself, you can discover more about this sacred journey and apply to join us here.