“Stop struggling,” she told me. “Let go. Relax.”
The same advice I’ve been given – and have given myself – for years. But today it sounded different. Her soft hands gently touched my tense, stiff neck. “Soft neck, soft face,” she coached. And later, “Soft fingers.”
“What should I do when I feel all tense doing these position?” I asked her. For even I knew it made no sense to be stiff as a board while stretching.
“Back off,” her reply. “Just back off. Slowly begin to let go.”
She didn’t necessarily say it gently; she had a no-nonsense approach to yoga instruction. And there was nothing magical about her words. But today, from her lips, they fell on open ears. Perhaps it was her style; perhaps it was my increased awareness. But today, I could conceive of actually letting go.
“Use this day wisely,” she advised at the end. “And forgive yourself if you do not.” She asked us to reflect on one thing that we were grateful for.
I chose this wise woman. And now it is her I must let go of.
As presented in 2011 to Mana Behan, my yoga instructor and friend. The last sentence was added upon her recent passing.