THE ONE THING YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO TO REDUCE YOUR STRESS
You’re on your way to an appointment, you left a minute or two later than you should, and then you hit a humongous traffic jam. It’s obvious you’ll be late. Maybe you’re able to call and let someone know your status, but there’s nothing else you can do.
But you still get upset.
You crane your neck to try to see what’s causing the traffic, you switch lanes several times in an effort to get through, the voice in your head is in full-scale freakout mode.
You’re getting more and more frustrated by the minute.
Your shoulders tense as you grip the wheel and clench your jaw. Your mind is telling you everyone else on the road is the worst driver ever and at some point, you may feel like you’re about to explode.
But think about it.
What’s really happening is you’re at war with reality.
Which is a fight you will never win.
It’s not like your frustration and (self-induced) stress is clearing the traffic, or stopping time.
What you need to do is surrender.
Now I know this word may have a negative connotation, but it’s important to acknowledge it simply means ending a fight.
It doesn’t mean giving up on what’s important. It doesn’t mean yielding to another person’s authority or will.
Surrender is a powerful tool for opening to your life experience and all the lessons you’re meant to learn.
Let’s be really clear, surrender is not submission. With submission, you accept reality consciously, but not unconsciously. You accept as a practical fact that you cannot at that moment control reality, but lurking in the subconscious is a feeling that thing should be different, which implies no real acceptance.
The struggle is still on, and tension continues.
In Sanskrit, the ancient language of India where yoga originated, surrender is Ishvarapranidhana. Let’s look carefully at the translation of this word because it will help us understand the depth of this important practice.
In yoga philosophy, ishvara is anything of significance to an individual that functions as a motivating force or transformative catalyst.
Pranidhana means to be supported by or to surrender.
So ishvarapranidhana is to surrender to a transformative catalyst.
When you surrender, the ability to accept reality functions on the subconscious level, and there is no lingering struggle; with this freedom from strain and conflict, relaxation ensues.
In fact, it is possible to ascertain how much acceptance of reality is on the unconscious level by the degree of relaxation that develops within. The greater the inner acceptance of reality, the greater the relaxation.
TRY THIS: Progressive Relaxation
How it’s done: To surrender physically from head to toe, close the eyes and focus on squeezing and releasing each muscle group for 2-3 seconds each. As you squeeze, breathe in through the nose. Hold for a count of 2-3 seconds, then breathe out through the slightly pursed lips (like you’re exhaling through a straw) as you release.
Start with your face, forehead, eyes, lips, and jaw, then move down to your neck and shoulders, your arms, hands and belly, your butt, thighs and knees, your feet and toes.
Important note: If holding the breath or pursing the lips feels uncomfortable or causes dizziness, don’t do it. Squeezing on the inhalation, and immediately exhaling through a wide open mouth to release will work.
Tip: This doesn’t have to take a long time and you can do this anywhere. Try it in the shower if you wake up tense. Or in the car on the way home from work if you’ve had a rough day. (Don’t close your eyes while the car is moving!) Or lying in bed if you’re having trouble falling asleep.
Check out how I can guide and support you in implementing surrender through my online program Shift Happens.
NOW YOU TELL ME, WHAT’S ONE WAY YOU CAN END A FIGHT IN YOUR LIFE? WHAT WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF YOU WERE MORE RELAXED? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST OBSTACLE FOR MAKING IT HAPPEN? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
HI, I’M STEPHANNIE.
I’m a Certified Yoga Therapist on a mission to make yogic wisdom, movements and breathing practices simple so that you can make them part of your routine and be less stressed, more confident, and experience more cam every single day.
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