The Crocodile – or the art of letting go

When I started yoga, I was probably the only person in the class who didn’t look forward to the relaxation.

As far as I was concerned, I came to my yoga classes to get toned and stretched… and to relax as well, but somehow I didn’t see the point of the relaxation. It was a waste of my time.

For me, relaxing in yoga meant concentrating enough on the poses and sequences that I wouldn’t think of what bothered me outside of the yoga studio.

It took a long time for me to start enjoying the relaxation and even longer to really let go. 

Letting go is scary

My first reaction to stress is to try and control it, to fix whatever it is that is stressing me out.

The very idea of letting go used to scared me so much! I would rather risk an ulcer by ruminating over – usually very far fetched – risks that take a breath and let go!

So whenever something triggered me, I would spend time (sometimes days) trying to control whatever was stressing me – and that usually was completely uncontrollable in the first place.

And every time, after some time, I would eventually get back to that same realisation: :”It’s not working, and it’s making me feel worse.”

As the famous quote by Randy Amstrong goes

“Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”

The first time I truly felt myself letting go took me completely by surprise.

It wasn’t during a relaxation.

It wasn’t even during a yoga class.

It was after after funeral.

I was back home just after a funeral and, as I got to my bedroom, I felt the urge to do lie down on the floor in Makrasana, the Crocodile.

Forehead resting on my hands, legs stretched out and heels rolling in, I settled on the floor (I didn’t have my mat with me).

And for the first time, through exhaustion and stress, I truly let my body go.

I didn’t hold on to anything anymore, I just let go.

I let my legs sink into the floor, my abdomen, chest and forehead rested down heavily.

And as I completely let go, I felt totally supported by the ground beneath me. I wasn’t holding on anymore and yet I felt stronger and more stable than ever before. 

It can get easier 

Do I now go with the flow no matter what??

Hell no!

When something pushes my buttons, my first reaction is still to try and control the uncontrollable but my recovery time is now shorter.

And that’s the point really.

Stress is a normal fact of life.

We are going to get stressed. That’s a given.

What matters is how quickly we recover from stress.

Yoga has been instrumental in reducing my reaction time and the beautiful Makrasana pose is a definite go-to for me in times of need.

Feel the strength of the Crocodile

Here is how to do it:

Lay down on a mat or on the floor, with your legs stretched out and wide with your heels rolling in.

Fold your arms, one hand on top of the other, and let your forehead rest on your hands.

And then, consciously let go. Completely relax the muscles of my legs, buttocks and arms.

Breathe deeply, letting your abdomen expand against the mat. Consciously relax your shoulders and your face.

Rest on your mat, completely and consciously relaxed.

Stay there for a few minutes or longer, depending on how you feel. Keep your awareness on your breath, feel yourself being held by the ground beneath you.

When you want to come out of Makrasana, bring your feet back to hip width apart and place your hands on either side of your chest with palms facing down.

Push up and back into the Child pose, with your buttocks as close to your heels as comfortably possible and your arms stretched out in front. Stay there for a few moments before uncurling back up.

So why don’t you give it a try next time you feel your mind or your heart twisting around something that is bothering you, refusing to let go and move on. Take a few moments for you, lying down on your front, feet as wide as comfortable with the heels rolling in. Place your hands on top of each other in front of you and rest your forehead on your hands. And just breathe, follow your breath in and out, conscious of letting go of any tension in your muscles. 

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