Riding the Waves

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 Legacy Faculty Aruni Nan Futuronsky explains, 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.

BRFWA, a foundational technique of Kripalu Yoga, is a powerful way to ride the waves of life’s challenges. It stands for Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch, Allow. When you feel anxious or uncertain about a situation you’re facing, try the following technique and see what happens. 

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

Relax. 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.

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

Watch. 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.

Allow. Let go into the process, allowing the outcome to be what it is, without expectations.