Learning to Let Go

how to stay present and raise your vibration


Yoga philosophy suggests that there are many steps that coach us along the way toward understanding and experiencing our True Nature. Some of these include the cycle of becoming pliant in the heat of our own transformation then experiencing an increasingly greater knowledge of the True Self. This qualifies us for a more refined and deeper transformation, which in turn leads us to a deeper knowledge of Self, and the cycle continues.

However, to fully complete this cycle of refinement and knowledge of Self, one climactic task remains: YOU MUST LET GO! To truly understand Self, you’ve got to release your death-grip of apparent control of your life and allow yourself to see and experience the bigger picture, how you are in conversation with something, whatever that thing is, that is much larger than yourself.

This principle of final culmination of will and knowledge is known in yoga as Ishvarapranidhana. Yeah, it’s a big, fat name that literally means to “lay it down at the feet of God.” So, seen together yoga is the crossroads where a practical, get-to-work practice meets an experience of the deeper, ephemeral parts of Self. This theme of the Crossroads is exactly what we will explore in my next Summer Yoga Retreat (June 14-16, see deets below).  At its height, yoga is knowing yourself enough to work up the courage to finally step off that edge of the cliff and only when you begin to fall do you find your wings.

This concept of Ishvarapranidhana, to let go of complete control, means to reach out your hand into the darkness of the unknown and ask to know it. It is asking to be known deeper by what is in the darkness, the unknown. It is stepping out onto surfaces that you are not sure will hold your weight as you keep your fierce gaze upon that which you love.

In this wonderful place, we allow our internal achiever to crack a cold one and chill out on an Adirondack chair and open up to simply being. And in the cosmic chess game of existence, this pause is a moment that allows that which is larger than ourselves to make a move. And with this act of letting go, what we thought we knew about ourselves, what we had planned for our existence, doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. The Divine (in whatever form) opens us up and we discovered something new and magical about ourselves and the world, something exponentially greater than our previous conception of Self.

Poet David Whyte points to this perfectly in his Poem The Truelove. I love this poem because like many great poems it can speak to the love of the lover, an ambition, or the Divine in the same breath.

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of the baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love,

so that when we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t

because finally
after all the struggle
and all the years,
you don’t want to any more,
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

I Invite you to practice ways to let go of tension, stress, worry, illness, old ways of being, etc. in body and breath which leads to heart and mind. Open up to the Divine by practicing Ishvarapranidhana. 


Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and the author of Practical Yoga Nidra: The 10-Step Method to Reduce Stress, Improve Sleep, and Restore Your Spirit. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, or traveling to teach, he also writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats and trainings in places like Tuscany, France, and Hong Kong , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program. Scott currently lives in Southern France with his wife and son.

I Know The Truth

I try to make meaning of the relatively small time I enjoy walking on top of this earth instead of being buried beneath it. The poet Marina Tsvetayeva speaks to this perfectly when she says in her poem, I Know The Truth:

I know the truth – give up all other truths!

No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.

Look – it is evening, look, it is nearly night:

what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?

The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,

the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.

And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we

who never let each other sleep above it.

When I read the first line “I know the truth – give up all other truths!” my mind snaps to attention. What monumental truth has she discovered and needs to tell me? To me, she’s asking the human race to stop struggling and look at the beauty of the world, the night, and of course the oncoming dusk of our own lives.

She says, take a look at the world around us and see how we are all part of the big picture. Written in a time in Soviet history when poets were persecuted and killed, Maria Tsvetayeva includes the generals, the very people who sought to eliminate poets, “what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?” and by so doing, speaks to the bigger truth, even beyond the threat of her own death, that we are all human beings, subject to the same fate, “And soon all of us will sleep under the earth . . . .” By pointing to the fact that, “all of us will sleep under the earth, we/ who never let each other sleep above it”, she uses her voice as a poet, an oracle, to illuminate the futility of struggling with each other when we will all eventually experience the same fate.

This is not a message of doom and gloom. It’s a wake-up call to practice being in the here and now and to look beyond dogma and idealism and search for the divine humanity everyone including “lovers, poets, generals.” I’m sure all of us fit into one if not all three of those categories. What does it mean to be human and how do we truly appreciate another day in the sun?

From Sun salutations to corpse pose, in yoga we get to practice being human. We practice the vicissitudes of living, the ups and downs, the tension release, the struggles and joys. Perhaps mostly we practice paying attention before the sun has set and it is too late.

And by practicing, my hope is that we find something within us, something deep down that we can call real, something that we find to be fundamentally beautiful and good. Truly this is what Namaste means, to honor the same goodness within all of us. Finding this goodness within, even to a small degree, may we look around and find the same quality in everything else, particularly those people around us, family, loved ones, strangers.

May we, through practicing yoga and therefore better understanding ourselves, see the beauty, majesty and miracle of everything. Perhaps this is what it means to truly see.

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son.