Before I discovered aerial yoga, surrender was purely a mental aspect for me. I understood the concept of it, but it remained stuck in my mind, a thought I constantly chased in circles.
The first time surrender moved out of my mind and into my body was when I got in a silk hammock, flipped backwards and felt awe as I was held in perfect suspension over the ground. The physical sensation of hanging upside down, supported by a silk rope, allowed me to feel surrender. It became something in my body, something I embodied, rather than something in my mind.
Surrender is, after all, something we experience. It’s a whole body feeling of release and trust.
It's not a feeling of giving up, but rather, a feeling of letting go to a higher guidance system. In the same way that joy and anger radiate from our entire being, surrender is something we radiate, an essence we become one with.
When we do get there, it’s serene and beautiful. It’s a feeling of ease, grace and connection to the guiding forces that permeate every cosmic atom of this universe.
In the past, I would swing wildly between the two sides around surrender. I went from feeling unstoppable and trying to force things to go my way, to total despair and feeling nothing would ever happen for me. If it wasn’t for aerial yoga, I may have never tapped into that mystical middle point.
I knew the first time I flipped backwards and hung there, unable to do anything more than let go, that I was experiencing a powerful new sensation.
It was the feeling that something outside of me was holding me and supporting me and taking care of everything.
And yet this thing outside of me, it had become an extension of me. We created the moment together, each doing our part. I put myself in the silk rope, guided my body into it and trusted that I could lean back, let go and all would be well.
If I didn’t let go, the silk rope would never be able to catch me and do its part. If I’d continued to hold on out of fear that it couldn’t hold me, or something would go wrong, the silk rope would remain separate from me, something I was fighting against. But by leaning back and releasing it caught me, it held me, and it did all the work for me.
This, to me, is the meaning of surrender. It’s leaning back, letting go, and letting something bigger and higher take care of the rest.
By hanging upside down in the silk, I’m not doing anything, but so much is happening to me and for me. My back is decompressing. My spine is expanding and getting all kinds of nourishing fluid flowing up it. My neck is stretching and coming back into alignment. My whole body is relaxing because I’m breathing deep and in a position that requires no effort.
At first glance, aerial yoga might not seem like it’s for everyone. The idea of flipping backwards and using your body strength to work with the rope can seem intimidating. However, after becoming a regular student I saw people of all ages and fitness levels come in and enjoy the experience. This is in fact one of the aspects I enjoy most about it.
It reminds me that what at first seems scary and impossible is so much easier than I’m making it out to be.
In aerial yoga there is a partnership that happens between you and the hammock. As you lean back you must trust that the hammock is going to catch you. At the same time, the hammock becomes an extension of you.
This is a perfect metaphor for how we work with the Universe. It’s a partnership, a co-creative process. We become one with the thing that is guiding us and holding us and taking care of everything. But it only works if we show up, lean back, and let go.
Curious about aerial yoga but still not sure? Perhaps this post will help: My top four reasons to try aerial yoga today.
Before you go, one last thing. Below is a photo of shavasana, as done in aerial yoga. This is perhaps the best reason of all to go. Until you've experienced resting in a cocoon of silk, you can't imagine how peaceful and restorative it is.