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Making Peace With Impermanence

This past Wednesday night I walked hand in hand with my 5 year old son into his kindergarten meet and greet.  Though many parents before me had talked about the transition to kindergarten being such a monumental one, and have heard many stories of breakdowns, tears, and slobbery messes on the first day, I just didn’t think that I too would be washed over with such deep emotions.  As we walked into the hallways together, it was not exactly clear at the time why I was welling up with tears, but, without expecting it I found myself choked up and welling up with tears.    Though slow to dive in, my son took the meet and greet by storm, after observing the scene, he eventually dove right into exploring his classroom, hanging with his new friends, and even talking to his new teacher.  I left feeling quite confident that he would be just fine on his new venture.  

When I returned home that night upon talking with my husband I realized that what was coming up for me was a deep sorrow of letting go, sinking deep into knowing impermanence.  Stepping into kindergarten was one more step forward into his independence.  Though small in comparison to college, it is the start of the path that seems to steamroller forward.  The once little nugget who fit snug in my arms is now standing quite strongly on his own two independent legs.

Like all things in this wild ride called life, change is inevitable.  Just what changes, when things will change, and how they will change are not always predictable.  With this transition, at least its’ coming was predicable.  I knew when I had a child that they would not stay a baby forever, and one day I would seep deeply into the lessons of letting go of control and seeing them really be free.  Predictable or not, change, transitions, loss, letting go of what once was is a reality of living this life and being human beings.  We all experience these changes daily.  Be it mourning the transition from summer to fall, yearning to have a loved one back in your life, witnessing your body change as you age, seeing your relationships shift… life is constantly in a state of transition.

“Every day, all day, our bodies engage in impermanence with each breath.  Your current inhalation is unlike any other you have ever taken.  At its fullness, it surrenders to the exhalation, itself different from the one preceding it.” Living Your Yoga, Judith Lancaster.   


Ancient sages have been reflecting on this idea of letting go, truly understanding impermanence, for years.  In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, book two, verse 5, he states that ignorance is mistaking the impure for the pure, transient for the permanent, that which is not the self for the self.

nitya-shuci-sukha-atma-khyatir avidya

– Yoga Sutra 2:5

This mistake leads to suffering.  Therefore, seeing anything in our lives on this earth as permanent sets us up for pain and suffering.  The sutras, threads of reflective thought based on how to free the suffering souls, states that one way to be in the flow with the inevitable shifts in this lifetime, we must wake up to realize that which truly is permanent, and that which is not, realize that which is eternal and that which is noneternal.  Spirit, God, Atma, the universe (insert whatever word works best for you here), is eternal.  Everything else is noneternal.
“It takes a brave heart to deeply accept that everything changes.  Even when things are not the way we want them, we still fear change.  Our attachment to things remaining the same creates suffering.  When we cling to the illusion of permanence, what we actually hope to secure is protection from the terrifying unknown that impermanence may represent.” – Judy Lancaster.

In this time of transition, I can not think of a better time to step into your flow on your mat to experience and feel the brilliance of impermanence firsthand in your practice.  The breath, the asanas (postures), your body, are constantly in shift, and when given the time and space to bring focus and conscious awareness to the various transitions, you can more easily step into your graceful ebb and flow of breath, movement, and life.  The safe rectangle of your sticky mat provides time for us all to safely explore these transitions, see us get through them with ease, space, and peace.


Whatever shifts, transitions, and changes are happening for you in your life right now, I (and I can safely insert “we” for my teachers) hope that you can make your way onto your mat to reflect on the brilliance of these known and unpredictable shifts.  Life is a wild ride, come to your mat this fall and allow your breath, your practice, and the deeply roots texts of yoga support you to feel more supported, grounded, and at ease.


To ease your transition back into school, fall, or the swing of life off the beach, for the month of September, all students at Lila get to be “students” and receive the student rate on drop in classes and passes!


Please read on below and see the many great offerings coming to Lila this fall and beyond.  Here is to realizing you are impermanent and constantly evolving.  Let us help you and your families evolve into the best version of yourselves.

A deep bow to you all on this adventure of life.

Genell + the Lila crew.

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