Surrender – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

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While yoga asana isn’t certainly my main focus in yoga, it is kind of a code for how many of us think of yoga. When we talk yoga in the west, its all about the postures or asanas and in many ways, the posture process itself like all of yoga is a replica of the eight limbs in each class, condensed from the opening breaths to the final savasana. Yoga asanas  ask many things of the yogi: patience, control, breathing, discipline, will power, and also surrender.

Surrender is one of those concepts that often rankles with the western mind as we culturally see it as defeat, rather than what it is in this context, an allowing of things as they are. Surrender is a subtle but incredibly powerful action, and it is an integral one to staying present and in the moment. To surrender is to let go – how often do we hear that phrase on the mat or in our daily lives, and struggle to really know how to let go – and why.

Surrendering hands control of the situation over – to something or someone, it takes the power, but also the responsibility for the doing out of your hands. Where we so often believe we are the doers, it’s counterintuitive to think we can release ourselves, and just allow grace to let the situations play out. If your faith is in a higher spirit, creator, God, however you characterise your beliefs, then the teachings are always to know that however you categorise it, you back has been got, and your life and your dharma’s are going to play out, however you try and hang on to the reigns.

Surrender then is an active practice, not a waiting to unlaunch. In each and every moment you need to consciously surrender, to build the neural pathway deeper and stronger. Day not going to plan? Surrender to what is. Traffic a nightmare – surrender to the timing that is being offered to you. Karmic Walmart not delivering – surrender to having and being enough right as you are.

In yoga, one of the poses which asks the yogi to surrender to the grace of their own interconnectedness is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, or the One Legged King Pigeon. A posture that demands a gradual release of the hips, back and groin, with each breath asking your body to surrender. A lot of emotion is stored around the hip area, and as you hold the pose, you mind can start a lot of negative chatter as anger and emotion is released. Eka pada is a pose best taken long and sloooooowwww. Ignore the chatter and feel the shifts and lengthening you never thought possible.

Surrender to this too, and just allow yourself to sink deeper with each breath, steadying the mind, knowing that the only important thing to focus on right now is the breath, and the union of body, mind and spirit in your practice. If everything is as it’s meant to be, what can you realistically contribute other than presence, love and devotion? Surrender hands you this single red rose, and asks you to accept it.

Polly McGee