August 29, 2012

Open Your Hips & Face Your Demons. ~ Monica Jones

“Let go or be dragged.” ~ Zen Proverb

Through my yoga and spiritual practice I am constantly learning the meaning of letting go. My daily life allows me to practice non-attachment whenever a car cuts me off on the freeway, when something doesn’t turn out the way I expected or when a yoga pose just doesn’t happen on a particular day.

Releasing gets more challenging when we lose a loved one and are not prepared to say the final goodbye.

It was three months ago that my grandmother passed away. She left her physical body to be part of a greater form of life.

I traveled to Peru to say goodbye to the woman that had taught me how to draw and color. The person that taught me that family comes first, the one who made the best tasting Peruvian dishes and desserts. My grandmother was always reminding me of the importance of being responsible. She was a constant source of laughter.

As a yoga student and teacher, I firmly believe that we store our tensions, emotions, judgments and thoughts in our bodies.

It is on our mats where we can face our demons.

Some people store this emotional clutter in their shoulders, others in their hamstrings. In my case, I store all my tension in my hips.

When I came back from Peru I could feel my hips were tighter than ever, and even though I knew returning to my practice was what I needed most, I postponed my encounter with my mat. I knew that the moment I stepped on my mat, I would remember that I had to let go and I just wasn’t prepared for it.

I needed more time to feel the grief. As crazy as it sounds I wanted to hold on to that pain. Holding on made me feel like my grandmother was still here. It was a way of cheating the reality and pretending that nothing had happened, that the next time I visit Peru she was going to be there.

After a few weeks I decided it was finally time to get back on my mat. The theme of class was hip openers—the universe telling me it was time.

I didn’t need to go far into the practice to face my grief, it was there on my first Vira II. During practice, as I kept opening my hips my emotions started to take over. As a yoga instructor, it occurred to me that I had to start practicing what I was preaching—I decided it was time to honor my emotions.

I took Balasana and let them flow. Breathing in Balasana, I remembered that I had never asked my grandma for a particular Peruvian dessert that I liked. It hit me, she was gone and there was nothing I could do about it—I had to let go.

At that moment, I cried and I finally felt free.

Sometimes we go through life pretending that everything is okay, that life must go on and there is no time to pause to connect with our emotions so we can show up to life fully committed.

For me, my mat takes me there, to those places deep inside myself where my true emotions are hidden. On occasions it can be scary to go there, feeling pain is uncomfortable but we need to feel it with every cell in our body—if we want to be free. Once we face the pain, once we feel our true emotions and let them flow, then we are ready. It is then that fear is replaced by freedom because we have met the truth of our emotional world—and that truth sets us free.


Monica Jones found yoga six years ago as a way to exercise, but quickly she realized that yoga was way more than that. Through yoga she found a connection with herself, a tool to re-discover her true essence and a way of living. Because of her passion for yoga and its benefits, she completed her 200 hrs in 2009 and has been teaching since then at several studios around Orange County. Monica teaches a vinyansa flow class focused on synchronizing breath and movement with detailed attention on alignment. Monica encourages her students to come to their mat just as they are, to leave their ego at the door, to connect with their breath and that is okay to let go and surrender. Monica is also a reiki karuna master and incorporates this healing energy in her classes. Learn more about Monica on www.zenergyoga.com





Editor: Maja Despot

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