What does the word surrender mean to you?
When you read it, you'll likely get a first response.
Is it something you like, something you fear, something you want more of? Do you feel resistance?
The definition of surrender
If you're in the mindfulness & yoga circles, surrender might sound like something desirable to your mind.
But for a deeper part of us, it can feel like capitulation: giving up, losing, letting go of our precious protections and becoming (too) vulnerable. Just look up surrender in the dictionary:’to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand’, and it’s easy to understand why most people have a hard time doing so. It doesn’t sound very inviting to say the least!
In order for whips to work, the flyer needs to surrender... how do we make him/her feel safe?
Danger and promise For a part of us, it feels dangerous to surrender: we know what we have right now, but we don’t know what happens if we let go. This quote:‘What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?’, beautifully encapsulates the fear and the promise connected to surrender: It all sounds great, but how do we know if it's gonna work out? Well, on the one hand we don't. But on the other hand, we can influence things a bit... In order to find true surrender: the opening, relaxing and nourishing kind, the vulnerable part of us needs to feel safe and acknowledged first. Otherwise it will simply dig in and freeze. Sometimes quite literally.
But once we feel safe, a whole new world opens up for us...
How surrender shows up in AcroYoga
There are many ways -big and small, conscious and unconscious- in which we need a bit of surrender when we practice AcroYoga. If you’ve ever been a flyer, you’ve learned that in order to find balance with your base, you need to give up some control.
Even more so, you’re actually helping your base by not trying to balance yourself.
Don’t mistake how much surrender this is asking from some of us! Also, if you’ve practiced whips as a flyer, that is some next level ‘letting go’. You'll need to swing, head-first, surrendering to the force of gravity and the stability of your base. Have you ever felt, while receiving a massage, how parts of your body were resisting?
Maybe you didn’t even realize it, until your partner asked you to let go.
And do you recognize the nervous feeling that can come up when you’re not quite letting go of tension yet?
In order for therapeutics to be effective, the flyer should feel safe enough to surrender.
What helps you to surrender? I think what we need most in order to let go and surrender, is a sense of being safe. The more we feel physically and emotionally safe, the more we naturally let go of unnecessary tension.
And this is something we can’t really force. That would be like yelling into someone’s ear to “RELAX!”.
So in AcroYoga, we often ask:”What do you need to feel safe?”
This might be as practical as getting a second spotter, practicing with a different partner, or maybe just a moment to chill out before you try again.
Whatever it is, once you take care of the scared part inside, surrender becomes a lot more enjoyable!
The simplest of techniques
There’s a saying:’Fear plus breath equals excitement’,
or ‘fear is excitement without the breath’.
The fastest way I know to create more relaxation and openness, is to take a deep belly breath, with a big sigh out through your mouth. The deep in-breath oxygenates the brain & body and opens the diaphragm (where we hold control and fear): this gives the signal that it’s safe.
The big sigh out relaxes the belly, chest and jaws.
It’s a way to instantly let go of loads of tension.
Try it out whenever surrender is needed
In any situation when I become aware of tension, stress, fear, this is my go-to technique. Just take one, two or three deep belly breaths and see what happens.
Thank you for allowing me to remind you to breathe ;)
And enjoy your surrender to the moment.
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