Acceptance is one of the keys to happiness

garudasana

Change can be a scary thing. Sometimes we fight it because we are afraid. But there is a freedom that comes with surrendering that fear and finding acceptance. And then, most of the time, what we find on the other end is happiness. My message for my classes this past week was just that. I asked them to think about Surrender as the Intersection between Change and Acceptance.

As we began to flow, I asked my students to practice surrender on their mats.  The first step is to let go of expectation and judgment of ourselves in our bodies. As we continued through our asana practice I kept reminding my students to surrender, to let go. When they encountered an “intersection in their bodies”– a place where they could go different directions– I asked them to surrender judgement and expectation and move from a place of letting go and acceptance.

After  we warmed up with Sun Salutes we spent extra time mobilizing the shoulder blades and creating space in the chest and shoulders. With space comes surrender and freedom. We then moved to a focus on Garudasana (eagle pose: pictured above). At the start of practice we used Eagle pose on our backs as an abdominal warm up and later we transitioned into and out of it from crescent warrior. Finally we held it and used it to further stretch our upper back and posterior shoulders all with the intention of finding surrender and from there….acceptance and happiness. Garuda, though often translated as “eagle,” is actually a mythical bird in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. As the vehicle of the god Vishnu, Garuda is said to be the king of birds. Free and fighting for good just as we all hope to be.

Both on the mat and off sometimes we hold on very tightly to things, whether it be a specific pose that actually doesn’t serve us or a person, relationship or situation that truly may be doing more harm than good. The realization that surrendering can take us from change to acceptance off the mat as well as on is truly the practice. And once acceptance is found, happiness follows.

We began to slow our practice and made our way into Savasana.  As we sat together in a final moment of meditation, I thanked my students for their focus and commitment to surrender on their mats. I reminded them that both on and off the mat, change is the only constant and to be able to approach the intersections in our life and use surrender to find acceptance is a gift and a skill worth cultivating because acceptance truly is an essential element of happiness. Namaste.

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