I encountered the concept of letting go early on in my personal yoga practice....it often occurred at the beginning of a class, coincidentally at a studio that was run by the woman who later took the helm at the Cleveland Clinic School of Yoga; at the time, I would never have imagined I would earn my yoga certification there. As we prepared to begin our asanas (or postures), the teacher would ask us to go inside our minds and begin letting go of limiting beliefs. Beliefs about what we could or could not do on the mat. But more than that, letting go of negative thoughts that don't serve our greater good, limiting self-concepts, people who drag us down. Letting go physically, intellectually, emotionally.
In some of the early classes I taught, I asked my students to close their eyes, imagine holding two suitcases as they pass through a gate. One suitcase is negative thoughts, the other negative people. Just before walking through the gate, I would instruct them to drop each suitcase and free themselves from both of these...pass cleanly through the gate and into the practice without these burdens. Later, we would leave the practice and pick up two beautiful new suitcases, hope and love - and walk back into our lives.
You don't have to be in a yoga class to let go. When you are feeling pressured, overwhelmed, or just contemplative, stop and still yourself for a few minutes. Sit a little taller, take a few deep breaths. Give yourself the gift of affirming that you are letting go of whatever is holding you back in the moment. Affirm what you do want. And most of all, be gentle with yourself.
** If you want a wonderful reading companion to this concept of Letting Go, pick up The Language of Letting Go, by Melodie Beattie. It contains one year of daily meditations on self-care and owning your own power.