How EXACTLY Do You “SURRENDER”? – 8 Steps

My boss’ boss and her boss took me into their office and informed me that my department of three people was to be dissolved immediately, I would no longer be a manager and instead my position was “re-structured” to a mere function of training for basic applications. If my salary was to be cut off or not was to be determined at a later time. WHAT!? I was sweating, scared and broken on the spot!

The top boss, an excentric English “piece-of-work” who rode a Roles Royce in an island he owned was late for his first-class plane ride to London that Friday, so, to cut it all short, he suggested I go home and drink a glass of whiskey.

I am not making it up. Whiskey? What about my salary? What about having to wait a whole weekend? WTF?

British Airways First Class
If you cannot see images go to

See, the thing is at the time I was brainwashed, I had just bought myself a piece of what I believed was the ‘American dream’: a home in the suburbs. So I could not afford to quit on the spot. Little did I know back then that a home is actually just a ‘debt to a bank’, I did not own anything. Both the “piece of work” and the banks owned me.

Wells Fargo fooled me into believing I owned
a home.  Shame on me. Won’t happen twice.

Therefore, surrendering starts usually when we are young, in that period in which we feel invincible, when we are, well, rather silly, and we fancy ourselves immortal.  Generally that is when we feel the first blow, we surrender cause we have to!  Here is the list of how I see surrendering happening in action.


There was no way out. The situation had changed dramatically for me, even though I fought for a while (and ended up getting my manager title back and my salary intact although the job sucked. -He really should have not told me to go ‘drink whiskey’, that was his mistake!-.

In the end I had to accept that change had happened, that things were never going to be the same way they were, and that I had a choice, I could be OK with it and flow, or be miserable for the rest of whatever time I had in that jail.  I chose the second one. Was much happier afterwards.

And by the way, there is a trick to this, to how to accept a change of circumstances, it is point 2


Complaining only adds to the already huge mental mass of powerful negativity the mind gets into, it causes extra stress and resistance, it closes the door on new opportunities because people can smell the negativity.

I got myself a rubber band in my wrist and whenever I heard myself complaint I would hit me with it, so I would learn, in the body, that it was to stop.

In general when I feel a complaint coming now I say to myself, let me see it differently, let me stop the judgement for a moment.  in 99% of the cases in which I do this I find another way to deal with things which is more efficient.  Here are 8 more reasons to stop complaining.


Gratitude sounds very new-agey but it is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. If you list just 10 things you are grateful for today, including the coffee you may be drinking as you read this, or the time you have to do so instead of having to be harvesting under a sun in a job that pays a dollar an hour, then suddenly you have “perspective”.  You see yourself for what you are, in my case a spoiled brat. I am in the top 10% of the world that gets to eat every day, how lucky am I?

Never underestimate the power of gratitude when you are trying to surrender. It is like a shortcut, it gets you there really fast and easy, and underlies how blessed you are.


We all know I love Ashtanga, I know the power of it cause I’ve been doing it for a while, if you do not, then you are in for a treat.  See here for 32 Suggestions on how to start and Ashtanga Yoga Practice.

A practice like this will humble you to your bones on the very first class. When your immortal self-image all-powerful self that does not want to surrender suddenly faces Utitta Hasta Padangustasana (a very early pose in the primary series which is taught pose by pose and according to your capacity) then you feel it in your very own body, at a seriously visceral level that you cannot even keep your balance on one leg.

It humbles you. Don’t believe me? try it!

Stand up and go with it… here is the You Tube of me doing it. Don’t cheat, the leg comes up to the hand, not the other way around. Notice I am breathing deeply. Go ahead.

It took me 7 years to get there, that is humbling. That is a way of surrendering from the body. From the only perspective -other than your mind- that you have to work with.

This visceral form of practice begins to slowly break down our idea that we are so taugh, so invinsible. Suddenly we unveil our shortcomings.

We surrender cause the frigging leg just won’t go there, darn it! – Refer to point 2 for this reaction.

Oh and by the way, I am now facing kapotasana, a very deep backbend in the intermediate series, so don’t go thinking the surrendering ever ends with the body, yoga has it all figured out!


In general the more you shut up the more you listen.  It is hard to do because our ego needs, demands, and loves to be paid attention to.  We love the sound of our voice and expressing our ideas. I know I do, I have trouble with this one.

However, it is in the  shutting up more often that silences appear.


It is in the silences that the opportunity for something new to develop arises.  Try it for once, when someone talks to you, after they finish, before you say anything, make a silence, give them a space.  They may say something else, actually they will.  If you give another person space they will elaborate more, suddenly an issue you have may be resolved.

Surrender kindly rests in silences.


Yeah, I know, you can do things, plan, arrange, put in the calendar, speculate. I do that, I “intend”.  But Intention without letting go, without surrendering is soul dictatorship, and the soul just does not go for that. Never has.

During September of this year I had planned:

1.- Start teaching at the local yoga school
2.- I was going speak at a Yoga conference in Minnesota, meet fellow blogger Nobel and promote ashtanga yoga and its powers. I even shipped free copies of my book to distribute after the talk.
3.- Start writing another book, and
4.- Go to a weekend seminar with Ramaswami.

It was all there in the little boxes of the September calendar, looking pretty. The days came and went and I observed all the way from my Lyme disease bed how the calendar blurred into obliviousness, into antibiotic doses and appointments with doctors, specialists, cardiologists, acupuncturists.

In the end my friend, weather you are going to go to India or not, or sell that company, or get that job is not up to you, even if you try your best.

Things tend to happen, I noticed, in a way that is aligned with the lessons you are here to learn.  Surrendering is a big one.

The first step in all 12-step-programs is “we realized we were powerless over ____”.  Do you get a gut reaction? I did, I thought “No I am not!”  I laugh at that now.


As surrendering gets more sophisticated you begin to realize that everything you tell yourself is just a story.  You wake up in the morning and the mind impresses itself in telling you how you woke up and how much money you have in the bank and how many yoga asanas you are going to do today and how it compares to last year, and how much better you are at this and how stupid you were when you said that.

The mind labels things and prides itself in knowing.  If you practice yoga, at some point you get to this moment, ashtanga is beautiful because it gives you specific tools like drishti or where to place your eyes-gaze so you can turn off the sight and go within, and place the tongue towards your palate, so you can remember to stop talking to yourself, and breath in a specific way so you can listen.  You start closing your senses, AND you have a practice, so every day you may get better at it.

Suddenly you start to have moments in which you can observe a landscape without the mind rushing to label everything (“tree”, “river”, “gazebo”, I am so smart! -says your mind- I know everything!)

Instead you have a fresh experience of the present moment.  You See things or hear things without the filter of the chattering mind trying to champion the knowing.

I am not gonna lie to you.  This is easier said than done.  Surrender is a practice.


At the graduate level of surrendering you understand at a visceral level all previous steps, and begin to live life as a practice of being present for what is arising in this moment.  This leads to seeing everything as sacred, and you want to offer it to the divine, to that which is higher in power than us, to whatever the energy that created a universe like this one, or did you think it was you?

You begin to dedicate everything you do to the Divine.  Every act with proper humility, silence, no complaining, openness to what really is, IS SACRED and you notice this, perhaps for the first time.

Magic happens at the graduate level, when we incorporate all levels.  Prayer becomes possible because we have a subtle appreciation that this is the moment we are riding, at the crest of what is, surfing the beautiful now, where everything is possible.

If you find yourself at the graduate level, then read this post on the Divine Light Invocation prayer. The least that can happen is that miracles start sprouting in your life and you kind of notice them!

21 Things That Got Me Through the Biggest Financial Shock of My Life

, , , , , , ,

22 Responses to How EXACTLY Do You “SURRENDER”? – 8 Steps

  1. unpacktherat October 4, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Claudia,<br />Thank you for writing this. I know I have told you before, but you &quot;surrender&quot; story in Times Square, has stayed with me since the day I read it. Your words allowed me to make a monumental shift in my thinking. I am forever grateful.<br /><br />I hope this your post today helps many more people. Be well.

  2. Claudia October 4, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Unpackthreat, thanks so much for that! makes my day that it helped you, it really makes me happy, I appreciate that you remember! :-)<br /><br />That was from the post on 21 Things that got me through the biggest financial shock of my life… <br /><br />

  3. Claudia October 4, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    BTW just added your blog to the blogroll so we can stay in touch 🙂

  4. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    That was literally insane watching you do that yoga stuff. And I thought I was the master of it on Wii… I must surrender.

  5. Claudia October 4, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Anon 🙂 I am in the same place, about to face the mat right now 🙂

  6. Claudia October 4, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    And the worst part is that now I must surrender the anger I still have at that guy! the first class guy, must use my own advise and give it up

  7. Lu Duong October 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Claudia,<br /><br />What is so brilliant about these posts, that unfortunately, arise out of this disease, is the shining example you provide to all of us in the application of taking yoga&#39;s lessons -off the mat-. Your readers are pulling for you. Keep the faith!

  8. Claudia October 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Lu, thank you, I will 🙂

  9. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Thanks, Claudia! Amazing post. I feel inspired!<br /><br />Claire

  10. Krishna October 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    Excellent Post Claudia .I liked points 3 ( Observe Gratitude ) and 5 ( shut up more often ) .I feel one&#39;s spiritual maturity can be measured by how much one has assimilated these 2 qualities in one&#39;s life .Keep up the good work of sharing your positive thoughts in spite of your ailment .Take Care .

  11. Claudia October 5, 2011 at 6:29 am #

    Claire :-)<br /><br />Krishna thank you, and the shutting up, I think you are right, that one is SO HARD that if we actually manage to do it once or twice, maybe it is a sigh of spiritual maturity, or so my mind wants to believe… 🙂 Hope you are well.

  12. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Clau, I&#39;m wearing not one, but three rubber bands on my wrist starting today (couldn&#39;t find any more than that), wrote the 10 things I&#39;m grateful for, and I&#39;ll read and re-read just to make sure this gratitude feeling is deeply ingrained… and will definitively try to shut the peep up… I&#39;m sorry, I&#39;ll (ehem) try to keep silent and give a chance to everyone else to talk.

  13. Claudia October 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    hola T. una es suficiente! no te tortures tampoco 🙂 Los extranio mucho!<br /><br />Hoy tengo una recaida, muy feo… estoy esperando que me llame el doctor… paciencia… y surrender… beso C

  14. aimee October 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    I love your posts, Claudia. They really get me back on track!!!

  15. Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    Claudia,<br /><br />With regard to the first class guy.. the easiest way to get over the situation is to learn something from the experience. My guess is that the lesson is you should have never expected polite treatment to begin with. This man obviously never learned how to interact positively with others in kindergarten, and his coldness could have possibly been a huge factor in propelling him

  16. Claudia October 7, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    Thank you Aimee<br /><br />I hear you Anon, I agree.

  17. yoga mama October 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Lovely post Claudia-hear your gratitude loud and clear x

  18. Claudia October 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Thanks mama! 🙂

  19. Blondie December 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    I really liked this article.. I&#39;ve shared it with my friends on FB. Yogi&#39;s or not there&#39;s plenty words of wisdom here 🙂 Claudia I noticed you mentioned you suffer from Lyme&#39;s disease. I&#39;ve been reading about a type of Vitamin C that is helping people with this. It&#39;s called Lypo-Spheric. It&#39;s a little pricey but it may help… You can see reviews at and

  20. Claudia December 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Thanks Blondie, appreciate you sharing. As per the Lyme, I am better now, Chinese Medicine helped me return from antibiotics. I heard quite a bit about Vitamine C… thanks for the info.

  21. Angie February 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Hello Claudia,<br />Beautiful article. <br />Wise.<br />Strong.<br />I would like to share it with my students.<br />Keep writing,<br />Om,<br />Angie<br />xx

    • Claudia February 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

      Thank you Angie, and yes of course, share away! 🙂