When I think of the word ‘space’, so many different images come to mind, but the predominant one is a big opening. Recently my fiance, Brian, and I decided that we needed more space in our home, especially in the kitchen area. We’re a big family. Five kids. Our small kitchen just didn’t leave enough space for all of us to sit or move around comfortably. So the decision to take out a wall, let go of the adjacent office space, and create a bigger kitchen manifested. Giving up the office space was not easy for Brian. This was his space where he could hide away.
Giving up space—to create space for something new—isn’t easy and often scary. The unpredictability of the new way of being can be unnerving and definitely provoke anxiety. But the possibilities of what could become are also exciting and invigorating.
The more I began to ponder the word ‘space’, the more I realized how valuable it is. Not just physical space, but mental and emotional space, too. Removing a wall opened up so much space in our home, but it came by having to first let something go. So often in my life, I hold onto things, concepts, or ideas that do not serve me. Holding on is comfortable and the unknown seems scary. The default is to just hold on tighter and tighter which creates tightness, tension--and yes—a lack of space.
In yoga practice, we constantly talk about creating space. When I first came to yoga, I don't believe I totally understood this concept. It seemed very surreal. However, over the years I have come to understand the cue in different ways:
Physical space: Space in my body. Opening up tight muscles to create ease in the body. Letting go of the tension and tightness.
Mental space: Space in the mind from negative thoughts or worry. This requires letting go of the past experiences and future unknowns. Living in the present.
Emotional space: Holding space for ourselves to feel what we feel, acknowledge our feelings, and place a value on them. I believe letting go of hurt, pain, and anger are essential in order to create this kind of space. I also believe this is the hardest type of space to create.
The word yoga means to yoke together. In terms of space, I interpret it as yoking together body, mind, and emotions to create more freedom and peace. It’s the daily practice of each of these elements that we work on as yogi’s. It isn’t a goal to be attained, but the simple act of being aware. I’m certain many people struggle with the idea that just to practice is the goal. But space is ever changing, so how can there be an end goal?
If we’re constantly letting things go to create space for new ideas, thoughts, feelings, or things, then the space is being filled again each time. And then in time, as things shift and change, some of those new thoughts, feelings, or things become unneeded or no longer useful—and the process of letting go and recreating begins again.
What do you need to let go of right now to create space? Space for more of what you want in your life. I’m in practice of letting go of self-doubt, because I want to create space for calmness. A powerful inner-strength that is indestructible.
In my home, we had to let go of a physical wall for more space, and now I must let go of this mental and emotional wall. I know this isn’t easy, but I also know the first step is declaring your intention. Pronouncing it to the world and then practicing. Each time the self-doubt or whatever it is for you comes up is a chance to practice letting go. No matter what it is we are letting go of, we must accept that it’s a practice—and practice requires more practice—and in the end, the goal is the practice. And the practice creates space for something new.