easing into it: on letting go, taking the piss, and having a laugh–on and off the yoga mat

I was in a yoga class with yoga therapist Susan Van Zag the other day. She started our class–a tailored ascent into dancer’s pose–with a story, or rather, “a thing” as she smilingly called it.

She talked about how she’d had been upset by something a friend of hers had done, how she’d gotten P.O.’d and worked up, how she’d walked around for a while carrying frustration and a bit of anger. And then she thought, “What if I try to find the ease in this? What if I try to find the humour in this?” So she consciously let go of the angst, she let herself laugh, and when she talked to her friend about “the thing” they laughed together. What’s that saying?

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. – Jean Houston

At the height of their laughter, Susan and her friend found a new depth to their connection–and thanks to this, Susan’s students in class that day, including me, found new ways to be on our mat.

Susan translated the lesson this way: What if we take that same possibility, that same opportunity to find humour and ease and to laugh at ourselves, onto our mats and into our yoga practice? At moments of possible tension and frustration, when we were working or bound in a challenging asana, she reminded us again and again to let go. We were reminded, again and again, that we have a choice: Frustration and tension, or ease and flow.

I love this lesson. I love when I get reminded of it. I’ve been amazed at how practicing mindfully on my mat can translate to living mindfully off my mat. And as Susan’s story illuminates, the benefits–to us and the ones we love–are immense.

With love,


Mar 29, 2011 · Comment

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