What I Gained When I Gave Up Control……I Mean Really Gave Up Control

  • By Christina Skiftun
  • 06 Mar, 2017
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For so many of us the idea of giving up control is soaked in fear and anxiety. If I give up control won’t everything fall apart, won’t everything I have worked for be ruined? Your mind begins spinning with worries and scenarios of how scary stepping out of controlling your life feels, it is quite like facing trauma. I most certainly felt like the thought of giving up control was like my breath was taken away from me. I run a very busy business with many many moving parts, I am a mommy to 3 school aged children plus one on the way, I am a member of my kids’ school council board, and of course am always putting on and taking off my many other hats of life. So what was I so fearful of by giving up that control? Being a yogi I was sure I already knew this! I had been observing my thoughts and reactions with awareness for quite some time trying to decipher the answers to my irritating life questions; how do I increase business? When is the best time to talk to my kids about the big scary things, or better yet how to get them to talk to me? On it went all the while I was continually banging my head against that wall. After a time of soul cleansing, I abruptly realized I thought I was on the right track, when really I was not at all hitting the mark. I was controlling the letting go of control! I knew all about pranidhana (surrender) and yet wasn’t fulling putting it into my own practice. I would let go a little bit, breathe through my episodes of growing anxiety, and hold back as much as I could until I couldn’t stand it any longer and I would jump back in. I was accomplishing only part of what was needed, I had the awareness, but not the surrender. I did not trust that is was safe enough for me to fully let go and not know the outcome…….until I looked at my vulnerabilities. Being vulnerable and seeing your own vulnerabilities feels a lot like losing it all! It is scary and feels unsafe. The thing about vulnerability though is it shares many characteristics with love and kindness. They all offer tremendous healing and wholeness, if we allow them into our souls. They both have the power to heal but also a very fearful power. Whether we are in love or feeling vulnerable we fear losing. We fear something so bad will happen that we will be wounded forever……but only if we CHOOSE to lean towards that side. Leaning towards the side of healing lets us know we have the opportunity to to heal those wounds. So if we are going to bust right open and let ourselves be vulnerable, let us have the awareness to let all the trauma, all the shame, all the guilt, the sadness, the fears and worries exit promptly. Once you no longer have that shame and those fears, then the action of control no longer has power over you. You are controlling your life so you can create an outward image and sense of who you are, but if who you feel you are is rid of shame, guilt, judgement, fear there is no need to control an image because you feel safe to just be.

Begin to focus not on what you desire in life, but how you would feel if those factors already existed in your life. Thinking so hard about scarcity or the need for more simply invites in more lack. Focusing on how you would feel safe, stable, secure if scarcity was a thing of your past will invite in the endorphin releasing hormones making your mind and reaction a very positive one. I was constantly checking in on my business, pleading with my kids to listen to me and asking my fiancé to please do the things on our list and then walking away thinking “fine I just choose to surrender to it all!”…….and then waking up the next going, I surrendered, why isn’t it better? It wasn’t any better because I was still fully focused on creating and controlling. Of course my yogic mind knew what to do….but that’s just it, it didn’t need to “do” anything. How was checking in on my business every hour going to actually make it better? It really wasn’t at all. But checking in on how I felt to run a very successful business sure made me feel safe and stable and a success. No need to shamefully feel like I have failed that day for any reason because I. Felt. Safe!…..and you know what, the details take care of themselves. What it is you focus on is what grows. I now focus on how it feels to be a business success story, a nurturing, giving and loving mom, and non-judgemental, non-nagging partner. The doing part of my brain gave up the control, so the being part could experience and feel life instead of force it……and you know what, my business is flourishing! I have a beautiful connection with my children and we have a high level of emotional intelligence between us, and there is so much fun and playfulness and love between my fiancé and I because he’s best at being him, and I’m best at being me.


Christina is a mommy to 3 + 1 on the way, an entrepreneur, owner of The Yoga Studio Calgary and a living life to the fullest junkie. She is inspired by many who walk along side her and many she continues to dream who will.

Yoga Calgary Blog

By Yoga Studio Calgary 19 Jun, 2017
We all want to know that when we invest in anything, whether it be with our time, money, or efforts; that we will receive a payoff…..that is why we invest. An investment in a regular yoga practice will offer you the most valuable pay off, an enhanced state of living, a healthier you, a happy life.
By Yoga Studio Calgary 12 Jun, 2017
Restorative yoga postures along with yogic breath work can shift the ‘stress response’ of the sympathetic nervous system to the ‘relaxation response’ of the parasympathetic nervous system – creating the inner environment for healing.

Invoking the relaxation response is an acquired skill and is fundamental to healthy mind and body. .

When the body is fully supported it is then able to let go of deeply held tensions and stresses, releasing into deep relaxation. This allows for healing, replenishment, restoration and a return to homeostasis.

The passive nature of restorative yoga makes it available to practically anyone. However, even the most seasoned and skilled yogi and yogini will benefit from a regular restorative yoga practice. The balance of an active asana practice along with the stress reducing therapeutic or restorative practice, create the state of santosha (contentment) we desire from our personal practice.

Take your practice a step further by learning the art and skill of restorative yoga with Calgary’s most senior restorative yoga teacher, Trish Robbins at her 3 day workshop. Through practice, discussion and hands-on experience, learn the art and skill of practicing or teaching classical restorative postures. This training is suitable for yoga teachers, trainees and health care professionals. The skills learned in this training allow for a deeper, more effective personal practice and the skills to help others.

Trish is Co-Director of The Yoga Studio College Gold Yoga Therapist Certification Program and Calgary’s most senior restorative teacher trainer. Sign up early to avoid disappointment. Bring a notebook, a copy of Relax and Renew and your own mat.

www.theyogastudiocalgary.com/workshops
By Yoga Studio Calgary 05 Jun, 2017
Yoga isn’t all about showing up to class, rolling out your mat, and reaching for your toes. Yoga is so much more than. The amazing news is; if yoga is so much more, then we have so much more to gain and benefit from yoga. Here are 5 ways you can be yoga when you’re not just doing yoga.

  1. Start thinking about all the things you have already accomplished in your day, your year, your career….instead of thinking about all the things you still have to do. You’re running up a checklist in your mind already why not make it one that makes you feel good.
  2.  When you feel uneasy about something or you are pushing yourself further than before….pause….ask yourself; am I ok now? Will I pay for this later (either physical soreness or mentally over analyzing everything)?…..if you answer yes and then no then carrying on, friend, use your breath if you need it. If you answered no and then yes stop and come back to honouring your soul. 
  3.  Breathe……Breathe……Breathe……I know you have heard it before. Maybe even many many times. Here it is one more time….nothing is more powerful at reducing the stress hormones surging through your body during tense times than your very own breath. 
  4. Realize that every choice you make matters. This isn’t to overwhelm you, but simply show you how easy it is to create the life you want to live. You are in control of your thoughts and choices. Therefore you are in control of creating your life. 
  5. As often as you can keep your mouth ever so slightly open. This reduces subvocalization, the very subtle jaw movements that are created during mental chatter, therefore reducing that mental chatter. 

Try these out and see how you begin to feel. Yoga is for everyday. Yoga is for life. www.theyogastudiocalgary.com
By Yoga Studio Calgary 29 May, 2017
Practicing daily affirmations is a very powerful way to transform your self talk from negative/sadness/worry/ fear to positive/happiness/excitement/contentment. It is a tool you already have. What is an affirmation? It is anything you think or say. The content of these thoughts and talk have the precious ability to change our lives. They allow us to feel good about ourselves, overcome adversity, troubles, even addictions of all kinds. Here are 15 daily affirmations;

1) I deserve love
2) It is safe for me to share my thoughts
3) I honour who I am
4) I am grateful for my entire life and all that it is
5) I accept myself exactly how I am
6) I appreciate my body
7) Love is always around me
8) Old and negative thoughts no longer serve me
9) I surrender to the flow of life
10) Now is the time to let go and trust
11) I am worthy of love
12) I have unlimited potential
13) I release fear and worry
14) Only positive rests in my body
15) I give love always

Speak these simple, yet powerful words to yourself as often as you can. You will then begin to notice how strong you will begin to feel.

Join Val Petrich this weekend for her Yoga for Addictions Workshop to learn how yoga can compliment a daily affirmation practice. This workshop is recommended for anyone wanting to learn a willful, sustained practice to help release tension associated with addictions. www.theyogastudiocalgary.com/workshops1


By Yoga Studio Calgary 22 May, 2017
Stop thinking. Stop talking. Stop worrying…..start consciously breathing, and then see how fast your life changes. Our breath is the single most accessible and powerful source for stress and anxiety reduction, yet is so often gets ignored. Breath (prana) is our link between the body and mind. Through simple breathing techniques we can develop a relationship and find balance between these two systems facilitating health and well-being
By Yoga Studio Calgary 15 May, 2017
Yoga asana (the poses) that we practice in class or on our own, are simply the surface of the oh so powerful world of yoga. It is the greatest way to walk through the door and into the amazing world of being yoga and not just doing yoga. As Sri T Krishnamacharya says - “ Yoga is the process of replacing old patterns with new  and more appropriate patterns. ” Our lives are ever evolving and so shall our yogic lifestyle. Practice on fellow yogis! Practice on and off the mat, come home to yourself.

Here are some simple tips on how to bring the other limbs of yoga into your daily life.

We begin by learning about our external ethics (Yamas). It is simply knowing and acting on what’s right and what’s wrong.
  1. Ahimsa - Replace hurt or violence (to others and yourself) with compassion. It takes courage - a lot of it - to look deep enough to see the quiet ways in which it is better to use compassion. 
  2. Satya - Would your soul rather be real or appear perfect? Know your truth and live it. It may not feel safe at first, however you will quickly come to know it feels real. Be your unique self. 
  3. Asteya - Live a life of integrity. Our highest level of self cannot shine through if we steal our light from others or other places. 1 May 7, 2017 
  4. Brahmacharya - Ask yourself, what are you over indulging in? Too much is simply too much. Clear the clutter, release the junk, soften the density of blocking energies within you.
  5. Aparigraha - Realize nothing is permanent and clinging onto things as if they were possessions will only lead to fear, worry and a sense of scarcity. Remember expectations will only create limitations. 

Moving onto the Niyamas now, we focus on our internal ethics, the foundation of stepping into our brightest light.
  1. Saucha - purify your thoughts, your intentions, your self talk. The best form of a cleanse! 
  2. Santosha - Feel and know immense gratitude for all that you already have and all that you have created. Love your life wherever you may be. 
  3. Tapas - Hang in there! remind yourself how strong and courageous you really are as you walk through the fire, or have those days of needing to dig deep. 
  4. Svadhaya - What do you need to either release or bring into your life so you can truly know you? Fall in love with learning about YOU!
  5.  Ishvara Pranidhana - Surrender! Surrender! Surrender! Trust the flow of your life. Instead of trying to control, begin to simply pay attention. 


The remaining limbs or gifts we can gain from in a daily yoga life are;
Asana - our physical practice, what we know as yoga on the mat.
Pranayama - A practice of mindful breathing.
Pratyahara - looking inward by withdrawing from outside influences.
Dharana - Cultivating concentration, focusing your thoughts. Dhyana - A practice of mediation, as familiar to many as an asana practice. Samadhi - Sweet sweet bliss! Spiritual illumination and a sense of oneness with all.

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