Saturday, March 31, 2012

Control? Yes, please

I learned something valuable last night.

In yoga class.

(Go figure)

There is only one place in my life where I have true control and that is on my beautiful 71 x 26 inch yoga mat.

Off my mat, I can only control the minutia of my life. Then I blow up the importance of these insignificant areas until the least important parts of my life take over everything with anxiety and fretfulness and fear.

And I turn into a hot mess....

Here are some things I cannot control

the response of my body to my efforts to lose weight
what people may think of me
whether or not my family and friends make healthy choices

I can't make any of those things turn out the way I plan. No matter how much I may want to - and that wanting turns into anxiety, which turns into stress, which turns into a very unhealthy me.

Yet, on my 1800 square inches, I can control so very much. For instance, I'm in class last night  and normally, I'm somewhat of an 'anti-prop' kind of person. "Props? We don't need no stinkin' props - those are for people still learning!" Yeah, well guess who is still learning?

So, I'm in a trikonasana (kind of a side bend) and we were all told to grab a block and somewhat reluctantly, I'm using mine and then it hit me.... THIS is non-efforting, THIS is no stress -- breathe, relax, enjoy.... oh wow, what have I been missing out on?  It's a slice of heaven and I just want to stay in this pose forever and just be right here where everything in my world is perfection.

Control? Oh yeah...

Later, we are working on headstands, which is the pose I want to be able to do, but now I'm actually  listening to instruction instead of flinging my way up. I hear, "If you are not strong enough to adjust your shoulders so that your head can move easily, you aren't ready for this pose."

(Have I been told this before? Probably. Have I HEARD this before? Nope.)

First stage, feet in down dog, crown of the head on the floor, hands cradling the head. Yes, I can move the head freely.

Second stage, feet up against the wall in a pike position. Yes, I can move the head freely.

Third stage, feet walked up as close to the head so my trunk is perpendicular. Hmmmmm, I can sort of move the head freely.

Fourth stage, feet off the floor. The head cannot move. I've found the edge.

A couple of months ago, I'd have said, 'Screw it, go for it. You won't compress the spine that much." Last night I smiled, breathed, and dropped gently down.


It felt good to respect where I was at that moment, to respect the edge, to respect my journey.

But real life isn't lived on a yoga mat, it's lived out in the world where I can choose to use yoga precepts I am learning. And a big one I'm learning is where I can control the outcome and where I cannot control it.

There are going to be obstacles in my life -- TODAY -- that I'm going to have to make a decision about how I choose to react.  Bring it on, seriously, bring it on. I want to look at something and consciously think, "I have no control over this issue or the outcome. I choose to not fret, worry, or revisit. I let it go."

Then when I am back on my mat, I want to revel in the control I have at that moment to set the outcome.

Where is your safety zone? Your slice of heaven? Make time to be there every day, then take the feeling and let it carry you until the next time you visit.

Thoughts to take with me today: There are many paths to peace, I'm grateful I've found one.


  1. So true. We focus on the wrong things at times. Going forward gets easier with peace and control. We must learn to be still and wait for the things that are sure to come to those who persevere.

    1. But the waiting part is so hard isn't it? We live in a world of instantaneous gratification.

      Think about how much we are growing by learning patience through this process.