“Be open to whatever the universe has in store for you.”
I couldn’t tell you exactly which page, but I’m sure that’s written somewhere in The Good Yogi’s Bible. Sounds like one of those things, right? Once again, it’s a good thing I’ve already admitted and accepted the fact that I am and always will be a bad yogi.
As much as you can plan and schedule and micromanage your life, a lot of the time, the universe has other plans for you. It loves to jump in with a “gotcha!” and disrupt the comfortable life you’ve created. It’s been said the only thing constant in life is change.
And that’s where the universe and I butt heads. It’s an understatement to say I’m a little change resistant. I’ll admit it: I’m stuck in my ways and terribly stubborn about it. I’m a creature of habit – any deviation from my morning routine makes me feel off-kilter the rest of the day. A sudden change in plans make me anxious and unfairly predisposed to dislike the new plan. An unexpected change in my yoga practice….that’s an outright personal injustice!
I was at a yoga retreat a few summers ago, where each morning began the same: early rise at 6, drink some hot lemony water, meditate a bit, do an energizing vinyasa class, and then fill your belly with a deliciously fresh and healthy breakfast. I like this – getting up early, yoga, fresh fruits, routine(!!) – basically the foundation of my comfort zone. Great, until one morning our “normal” morning yoga class was replaced with a kundalini one. No!!! This is not part of the routine!! I’d never done kundalini before (or since – I’m not terribly anxious to repeat the experience, though I will, eventually), but I was totally thrown off. For reasons I still don’t really understand, I ended up crying like a baby by the end of class. The older, smugly all-knowing yogi next to me smiled/smirked (maybe I’m being overly sensitive here), “Hmm, I think someone has a little bit of a control issue.” Well, duh.
Similarly, I get unnecessarily stressed and annoyed when a yoga class springs a substitute teacher on me. Again, my control-freaky, stick-to-the-plan self starts yelling. No!! That’s not how we do this!! I’ve ruined many a yoga class for myself by spending the entire hour put out by how “it’s not like _____ teaches!”
My point being, there are going to be changes. There are going to be deviations from the norm, and there are going to be expectations that are just not met. All of that is kind of in the universe’s hands – and beyond your control. What is in your control is how you respond to the change. I really didn’t need to end that yoga class in tears, and I really shouldn’t be spending entire yoga classes frustrated and playing the comparison game. In both cases, if I had just took a breath, thought okay, scrap the plan, we’re doing this instead, and approached the class with an open mind, I probably would have had a whole different experience.
And the thing is, the only person that plays any role in making that difference is me. It doesn’t matter what style of yoga, which teacher, or what music is playing in the background. It’s my own attitude that determines how much I get out of a yoga class. If I choose to focus on everything it’s not, it’s pretty likely I’ll have a miserable class and leave feeling crumby. If I choose to drop the expectations and appreciate oh, this is a different way to get into this pose!, I’m a whole lot more likely to enjoy myself and leave with that post-yoga bliss. The only person that suffers or gains either way is me.
Obviously, the universe does not contain its powers of change and unpredictability to the yoga mat. But neither is your power of attitude. Plans get altered and obstacles pop up all the time. That doesn’t have to cause frustration and tears. A lot of the time, shaking it off and embracing the new situation at hand is the difference between a terrible experience and a great one.
Since I’ve already admitted to doing everything I’m saying is wrong, I by no means mean this post in a preachy way. Maybe more of a reflection to myself, shared with you. A reminder for the next time a yoga class, or an anticipated event, or even just a meal, goes in the opposite direction from what is expected. Don’t make it a big deal – just go with it. Make the best of what it is. Loosen up the controls, just a lil bit.
It is what it is.