Yoga Taught Me the Beauty of Giving Up and Letting Go

Nina Endrst
Yoga Taught Me the Beauty of Giving Up and Letting Go

I am not the type of person who gives up. I am the type of person who goes after what I want without hesitation. I’m incredibly competitive and also fiercely loyal, so much so that sometimes I’ll wait too long to give up on relationships that are important to me. I just. don’t. give. up.

But I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to let go.

I was 29 and working at a top modeling agency in Manhattan. Everything looked pretty amazing on paper, but in reality, I was sick, exhausted, and absolutely miserable. So, eventually, I had to let go. And with good reason.

My Diagnosis at 22

When I was 22, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. At the start, I had no idea what Crohn's was but over the years I have, of course, become very familiar with the disease and the impact it has on my life.

What I know today is that anxiety and emotional stress are major triggers when it comes to my disease. Since my diagnosis, I have had a good number of "flare ups," some of which forced me to try intense injections with a long list of side effects that included cancer.

Some of those flare ups forced me into bed for months at a time, leaving me as much as 15 pounds lighter, weak, and depressed.

The most life-altering flare up resulted in my decision to take a three-month medical leave from my job at the agency. My body was literally shutting down. My medication was becoming less and less effective and I was suffering more and more every day.

Crohn's is not considered life-threatening, but I assure you it can be absolutely debilitating.

During my leave, I had what seemed like endless amounts of time to think. I thought and thought and wondered, “What am I doing to my body? My soul? My mind?” So I made a choice when my leave ended. I needed to give it all up. I had to let go.

And that's when I turned to yoga.

I had been practicing yoga for about 10 years at that point. Yoga taught me how to find stillness, and it has always brought me a sense of calm in my incredibly chaotic life. But this time it was different.

At first, my practice was a way to help heal me both physically and emotionally. Then it became my path and has since changed the course of my life.

I gave up my job in fashion, the career I thought I wanted, and let go of the fear of failure and obsessing about what was to come. I signed up for my yoga teacher training and never looked back. I didn't know how I was going to support myself financially, but I did know that I could no longer tolerate wasting away in this life.

Me and My Life Now

Now, I’m a full-time teacher in New York and Tulum, Mexico. I am able to travel around the world, exploring different cultures and meet people from all walks of life. I am incredibly grateful to have found something that feeds my soul and also pays my bills (girls gotta eat!).

I have the privilege of teaching and learning from incredibly inspiring people every day. People who are trying to do better for themselves and others. People who are trying to dig a little deeper, to face themselves, their fears, their desires, their truth.

I used to be convinced that nothing positive could possibly come from giving up, but I have learned the value of letting go.~Nina Endrst

Now, I make an effort to let go a little every day to free myself and help others do the same. I have let go of trying to control situations, outcomes, and the people around me. I've given up negative thoughts and relationships that take up valuable space in my mind and my heart.

And it’s my yoga practice I have to thank for all of it.