Riding the Waves

Posted on June 16th, 2012 by in Life Lessons

Photo Courtesy of Flickr User Michael Dawes

How can we suffer less when faced with tough situations? Think about those times when things don’t go as planned or hoped for—at work, for example, or in a relationship. In these moments, we often wish that things were different: “If only _________.”

Sound familiar?

But, as Kripalu Senior Life Coach Aruni Nan Futuronsky states in her R&R retreat workshop Riding the Waves, yoga teaches us that we can’t control reality. But, when we allow ourselves to simply be in the present moment, softening our grip and letting go of expectations, we can begin to open our perspectives.

As Aruni says, allowing ourselves to feel whatever it is we’re feeling with any given experience can help us find equanimity with whatever life gives us. From that foundation, we can shift our awareness from struggling to acceptance.

One powerful way to ride the waves of life’s challenges is one of the benchmarks of the Kripalu tradition. It’s a practice called BRFWA, which stands for Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch, Allow. Next time you feel anxious or uncertain about a situation you’re facing, try the following techniques and see what happens.


Ground yourself in the present moment by noticing the quality of your inhalations and exhalations. Connecting to your breath and help you find balance and help you tap into inner strength.


Create space within yourself by releasing any unnecessary tension: soften your muscles, let go of gripping in your jaw. Notice how that affects your mental activity as well.


Bring your awareness on the details of your sensations, thoughts, emotions, memories. Welcome whatever arises with curiosity, compassion, and an open heart.


Develop a sense of nonjudgmental awareness around whatever is happening. Observe the situation as it unfolds: notice what comes up while remaining fully engaged with the experience.


Cultivate passionate nonattachment. Commit to yourself and the situation your in, but allow the outcome to be what it is, without expectations.

Have you tried BRFWA? How was it helped you ride the waves in any given situation?


About Jonathan Ambar

Jonathan relocated from Brooklyn to the Berkshires, which enabled him to finally earn his driver’s license at the tender age of 34. When not maneuvering winding country roads with great aplomb, he’s writing, editing, performing, and spending an inordinate amount of time upside down (which he’d like to think doesn’t get in the way of his ability to stay grounded). Jonathan is also a certified yoga teacher, having earned his 200-hour certification through OM Yoga Center.

One Response to “Riding the Waves”

  1. Tyler June 16, 2012 1:05 pm #

    As a lifelong surfer, this approach has been my bread and butter. In surfing there will be situations where the unknown is scary, you don’t know what will happen next, but using this technique opens you up to some of the most amazing experiences of your life, in and out of the water. 

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