Trust. It’s a big subject. Every aspect of our lives involves some element of it: our relationships, friendships & working lives most predominantly, perhaps. What about the food we eat? The medicines we take? The help we seek from professionals? We have to trust that what we’re told is ‘good for us’ really is. And we have to trust ourselves to make the right choices once we have our information. And what about the bigger things in life, the things we take for granted nearly every day? That the sun will come up each day, that we will continue to breathe in and out, that after winter we will have spring?
I’ve been chatting to my groups this week about the topic of trust and it brings up a lot of variation in people’s reactions to it! Some have said that, with regard to the sun rising each day, we’re actually talking about fact, truth, reality and these require no trust. Others have pointed out that at some point, our trust that we’ll continue to breathe again will be broken, so ‘trusting’ it as an action is a waste of time. Some of the older members of my classes have saddened at the mention of trust, having dealt perhaps with broken trust in their past, so the subject is a touchy one. It is, then, as personal a subject as you could hope to explore. And as a Yogi, I’m a big fan of the personal!
The topic of trust has arisen because, without warning, I’ve found myself needing to surrender to it myself recently in my personal life. A new relationship has presented itself and subjects of past misdemeanours and their consequences have been threaded into our initial stages of communication and commitment to each other. I don’t shy away from much, but this has tested my mettle somewhat! I’m very happy to say, the person in question is one of much compassion and honesty himself, so the conversations have been positive ones with happy outcomes. However, they’ve unsurprisingly led to me feeling vulnerable and a little untrusting in these delicate early stages.
So what is trust? How do we do it and what does it have to do with Yoga? Well, as always, it has an awful lot to do with it, and I’ll come to that shortly. The first question, though, is rather more tricky to answer.
Trust, I’ve come to see, is really a smaller version of belief. If we trust something, or someone, we believe in it, or them. We make a choice to see the possibility in the situation for a best possible outcome. Often times, the exact opposite choice or alternative, is presented at the very same time, and so undoubtedly, as I have experienced first hand, we feel vulnerable. In all vulnerability, though, comes possibility for change. We don’t move forward without it. We don’t experience the new without it. We don’t evolve without it. So trust is essential, not only for leading a less anxious life, but also to make other aspects of life better for ourselves, to progress. Trusting means letting go, releasing our resistance, our fear, and having faith that our choices are right for us. There is a lovely quote I found on the subject that says: ‘Trusting you is my decision. Proving me right is your choice.’ Yes, trust may involve risk, but without it, we lead a very small life.
Yoga, as always, reflects this aspect of life beautifully. When you attend a class you trust the teacher. You trust they know which poses to show you, to teach you to take on, to pull back from. You trust your instinct that Yoga will benefit you. You trust the person who recommended it to you. And, last but most importantly, you trust your body to do what you ask of it. This trust in your body begins, quietly, subtley and gradually, to lead you to trust your inner self too. How often have you felt ‘too tired’ or ‘too stressed’ for Yoga class? And if you go on those occasions, how often do you leave feeling better? More settled and more like yourself again? Yoga transforms us, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As it becomes a larger part of your life, you come to believe in it, wholeheartedly as a means to heal what needs to be healed and to move you into a place of peace. If that doesn’t define the best of us when we let go, trust and believe, I don’t know what does!
Trusting, ultimately, is all about the next step we take. Some of those steps require a summoning of trust, others need hardly any effort at all. When we learn to trust, actively and fully and to believe in our Inner Guidance and its wisdom, that’s when the magic happens. The beauty of it, too, is how personal trust is. What I choose to trust in someone may not ring true as trustworthy for someone else. The decisions we all make reflect our circumstance, our experience and our current position. But trust me, once you let yourself trust the process behind all of those things, you’ll reap the rewards, just like you do from going to Yoga class on those colder, less appealing nights. You’ll connect to others, to new situations, new perspectives and, ultimately, to yourself.
affirm to yourself as you do your pranayama practice (breathing exercises) ‘I breathe in trust’. Let the words flow in with your breath and measure how they settle for you. Over time, (even in the ten minutes you give to this) you might notice a change in the phrasing. It might become ‘I allow myself to trust’ or ‘I am now able to trust’ or ‘I trust and let go’. Your subconscious voice (Inner Guidance) will start to lift to the surface to tell you what will help you most in that moment. Then go about your day and see what appears for you requiring trust. You’ll be amazed at how many times a day you put your faith in yourself, in others and in life itself. Enjoy the feeling of connection that brings!