Releasing Doubt

Written May 19, 2011

In yoga practice lately, I have been very conscious of the breath and am better able to pair it with the movements and poses, something that has always been difficult for me. In the 21-Day Yoga routine from Daily OM, when we are focused on the breath in the longer poses, Sadie routinely says to exhale or let go of whatever needs to leave and on the inhale, to bring in what is needed or desired. This has really resonated with me. (See the Daily OM website here.)

Today when in Final Resting Pose, I was practicing this and found myself inhaling a variety of things with each breath: strength, flow, patience, love. Every exhale however had me releasing the same thing: doubt. And I found myself briefly wondering where my doubt goes when it is released and is it OK to send it on its way? I mean, I breathe it out to the universe, unloading it from my body and presenting it as a gift almost, but is it really a gift? Does the universe really want or need more doubt?

The answer came immediately. Doubt is actually a good thing when used properly and harbored in moderation. For instance, when I serve on a jury, I need to bring a bit of doubt with me to ensure convictions aren’t made too hastily and all sides are truly seen and considered. Leaders all over the world need a healthy share of doubt to keep them from marching forward with their own thoughts and ideas at the exclusion of everyone else’s. And in nearly every other decision, big and small really, a dose of doubt relative to the need keeps us effectively on our path and tied to our core values. It keeps us mindful with each and every decision…a reality check of sorts. It all works beautifully when we use it where it needs to be in the correct quantity with right timing, i.e. when we give it the respect it deserves.

But my doubt had extended itself far past its needed service. It has dominated and consumed me and frozen me in my decisions and thus the inner call that came for me to release it during my yoga pose this morning.

And so with each breath I envisioned offering my doubt to the universe to be properly used as it needs to be. And oddly enough I heard the universe say, “Oh, so that’s where it’s been all this time. Why did you keep so much for so long…what were you doing with it? Anyway, thanks for giving it back.”


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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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