I like to be in control. I don’t like to give my power away or have to ask for help. I know it’s not just me. Most people that are attracted to the structure of traditional hot Bikram Yoga also tend to like this. We like our yoga a certain way. It should be hot. It should be humid. It should be done with integrity and good alignment.
That being said, nothing is really in our control. It is all a façade, this control thing. Even if you plan your day to perfection, the uncontrollable is still there lurking in the corner to suddenly surprise you with a plot twist you never saw coming. The flat tire, the unexpected phone call, the chance meeting with another that blossoms into a friendship you couldn’t live without, the hour stuck in traffic for a trip that should only take ten minutes… these are the unexpected variables to our days.
But still we try to control what we can, when we can. Lately, though I’m bored with all of the predictable control I will put on a situation and have been craving a little bit of bravery to start taking the leaps ahead. Control is fine, but it will also keep you in one place spinning the same story out time and again.
That being said, when I decided to book myself into a teacher training for Next Level 90 (Intermediate Ghosh Yoga) at the beginning of the summer I giggled a bit as I hit the buttons on the computer that would register me for the twelve-day session way across the country. Nervously, I booked the flight for the trip uncomprehendingly clicking on the flight with “risky connection” highlighted with a red triangle with an exclamation point at the center to alert me as to how daring I was being.
I surprised myself further by choosing to be hosted by the studio owner at her home instead of booking a reliable hotel stay and not booking a rental car at all, knowing I would have to rely on the people that I would be staying with, other trainees, and the prayer that there would be enough I could get to by walking. This is not my normal schtick. But something was telling me to take the adventure and to (finally!) trust that everything would work out if I simply got out of the way.
The people that know me best were concerned that I didn’t book a good safe flight with a 5-hour layover, assuring that I would make the connection or that I wasn’t in control of my housing situation. I have traveled often and lived with strangers throughout my acting career and I always requested the better housing and drove in when I could so that I would have a car at my disposal. So, when they questioned me about my choices leading up to this trip or told me the latest airline disaster story, I would shrug and tell them I was simply taking a trust fall with the Universe. It would work out or it wouldn’t, but I wasn’t really in control anyway.
The difference between this trip and others I have taken in the past was that I was perfectly clear that I needed and was supposed to attend this training and that I was going to be exactly where I needed to be through those twelve days. So, if everything was pulling me in this direction to go, then I had a feeling that everything would somehow take care of itself. I was at least willing to take the leap and let go of my fears to find out.
And it happened to be a great adventure, full of people that I came to love, as we all celebrated the yoga we were passionate about and worked to learn more about the practice and how to teach what we were learning to others.
My risky connection was not risky at all. I arrived fifteen minutes early and the flight left twenty minutes late, giving me an hour to sit and relax before heading onto the final flight into Bend, Oregon.
The studio owner was like a big sister I didn’t know I had, opening up her home and inviting me to be one of the family during my stay. Another trainee was also staying in her home and because of that I was able to make a new friendship that I might not have had we been in separate living quarters, sharing tales of our lives each night as we sat trying not to wolf down our food too fast at a local restaurant after a full day of yoga.
The leader of the training was exceptional, sharing her knowledge and honing teachers that would be able to be efficient and fun while leading the intermediate class. My partner for co-teaching had a similar drive and teaching style, full of knowledge and passion for what we were doing, making each assignment or small project fun. I learned more about Kundalini yoga from yet another trainee, sparking an interest for me that I didn’t know I had. And I was able to see another teacher recommit to their teaching and their practice in a new way, adding fun and humor to each day.
The entire trip was nothing short of a blessing and I am still walking around almost two weeks after arriving home saying, “Thank you, thank you,” over and over again in my head when I think about the experience or I go to teach the new intermediate class. Had I tried to control the situation, it wouldn’t have been as beautiful or meaningful for me. I would have missed out on so much of the experience. It was my big trust fall with the Universe and because of that it taught me take more chances and maybe not be so planned and careful. The Universe has my back.
As we say in class so often, the only thing you can control is your breath. Everything else is meant to unfold as it should, opening you up to your greatest good. I hope you take the leap today, decide for the trust fall, and open yourself up to the adventure that is your life.
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