The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. 
Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves.
This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering — yours, mine, and that of all beings.

~ Pema Chodron, Taking the Leap

courageous yoga pose

Reading these words I think of poses in yoga where we lean in to the physical and emotional discomfort and embrace the sensations and thoughts that come up. Surprisingly it is the poses of surrender and letting go, rather than strength building that can be the most challenging for us.

Our practice on the mat is a great metaphor for life. We learn to be present with whatever comes up and use our breath to lean into it. Accepting where we are in that moment.

On our mat there is no one to blame …except perhaps the yoga teacher who brought you to this challenging place. 😉


44 comments on “* Lean in

  1. Small Circle Big Circle

    Namaste. With much gratitude for this post…. thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love it, Val! Seems to have a ring of truth where I am…where I’ve been…
    Many blessings to you…I hope all of your leaning brings you great understanding! ♡

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is so good Val… x

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Love the analogy. Many times I’ve used ‘leaning in’ and breath to get me through things. Good post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jean and I have now found a yoga teacher with whom we have agreed some lessons, starting in the middle of November. Her name is Shanti Chagnon and there is a brief background here:

    Looking forward to “leaning in”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope You both enjoy the exploration Paul. Breathe easy and be open.
      This particular experience may not be for you, but it can be the start of a journey of more exploration. 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Leaning in, I find myself letting go of holding back.

    Love this post. Thank you Val.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    I love that book. I refer to it often. Again, Val, I would soooooo take yoga from you if I were closer. I love the physical aspect when dealing with something emotional, spiritual or mental. Great post. I do that somewhat with tai chi, but there is a rhythm to it so leaning in and holding wouldn’t work. Next time I need to lean in to something, I will try some stretches. Is there a type of yoga you do that I could maybe find in NM? Thank you Val.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lean in? Or Let go?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Val, love this post, especially the bit about the stories we tell ourselves. They can certainly be in the realm of horror, fairy tales, mystery and lots more!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love this and I agree Val. When I started yoga during the early part of my grief, I learned to lean into my pain and sadness, rather than resist or suppress it. I leaned into it softly, allowed it to open gently and let it go over time.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 3 | tea & paper

  12. Hi Val, lovely post, I’m invitiing you for a challenge, please check here:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for thinking of me Elizabeth. Because of my schedule and other commitments I don’t commit to anything I may not be able to complete. But I do appreciate the thought 💛


  13. I’d like to be able to do that surrender pose, just looking at it and reading your words helps…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks Val, ‘the intention to surrender with a long exhale’. This is it exactly. I’ll focus on that…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great analogy, Val. Allowing the “what is” to “just be” is powerful stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. haha oh Val I love that last line! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reena Davis

    haha “except the yoga teacher who brought you to this challenging place”. I kept trying to get my participants to stop blaming me reminding them that they brought the discomfort with them, the pose simply reveals it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks for this perspective Val.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I understand all this in theory only. If I tried this pose…I would be leaning in…to great difficulty and with high likelihood wouldn’t accept being where I am 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thanks for the wise recommendation, Val. I think it makes sense to accept and lean into situations – if we cannot change them.

    But sometimes, situations can be changed. In this case, I think acceptance comes down to acceptance of the inner voice. If the inner voice of intuition says, “Speak up” or “Get out of here” , then it may be the appropriate action to follow the guidance of the inner voice.

    Liked by 1 person

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