Let’s face it, much as we would like to have a crystal ball, when we step on the mat, we never know how the practice is going to go.
Will I be able to balance in Uttitha Hasta Padanghustasana?
Will today be the day I balance for a just a few seconds in a handstand?
Will my head reach the mat in prasarita padotanasana?
The ego in us likes to think we know. After all, we can look back at previous practices, weigh the way our bodies feel and think we have the ability to predict if it’s going to be a strong, solid practice or a challenging one with lots of lessons to teach.
The operative word in that sentence is EGO. Truth is, we can no more predict how our practice will go each day as we can the next day’s lottery numbers.
You know what else we can’t predict? Anything about the future – and especially as it pertains to other people and how they’re going to behave in any given situation. We – and by we, I mean our Egos – think we can. But, we can’t.
Each day we step on the mat and we take the practice for what it is – good or bad. We’re present in the moment. We’re taught not to beat ourselves up, not to worry about the past and not to worry about the future. In yoga, we ground ourselves, lengthen our bodies, take a deep breath and open ourselves to the possibilities of that moment – for better or for worse. We simply accept what is.
We practice this on the mat with the intention of carrying that attitude with us throughout our lives.
Why then, do we let our egos get in the way and make us think we know how a situation is going to go or how another person is going to behave?
I do this all the time to myself. I cancel plans because I think I know how the situation is going to play out, when, in reality, I have no idea. That’s just my ego that thinks it has a clue. No doubt, I’ve missed out on what could have been some really good times because I let myself believe I knew what other people were going to say and what they were going to do.
The trick is this: when our minds start to play the “he’ll say, then she’ll say, then I’ll say, then he’ll do this, then I’ll do this” game, is to stop, to take a deep breath, to trust in the moment the same way we trust in ourselves in our practice. Take a deep breath, stand tall and to be open to the possibilities the same way we have to trust that when we lift our legs over our heads, that we won’t go toppling over… and if we do, we smile, get up, and do it again.
After all, each stumble reminds us that we may lose our balance, but eventually we’ll find it again.
**Life is full of wonderful surprises, but only when we set aside ego and expectations can we find that which we didn’t even know existed.**