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Surrender

Yoga literally means “union”, but in practice it is the art of surrender or letting go.

Like peeling an onion, it’s about stripping away everything that is not needed and getting to the heart of things.

Extra effort, mental strain, random thoughts, labored breath, emotional attachments, stories about why something is the way it is….it’s about letting go and surrendering all of these things.

A 5 minute long warrior II pose or 3 minute wheel pose (both of which I did in Jason Magness’s “Jedi Training” class during the Estes Park Yoga Journal Conference!) can help simply because after putting in so much effort for an extended period of time, you have no choice but to surrender and drop away extra thoughts or movements that drain your power.

I see the same thing in endurance triathlon or running. One path (though definitely not the only one) to deep surrender and Yoga (an experience of the interconnectedness of all things) is through intensive effort.

A Bull Elk and his "harem" hanging out in the lawn at the Estes Park YMCA during the 2011 Yoga Journal Conference. I walked by him on the way to/from yoga classes several times.