Just breathe and let go of the outcome

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A command frequently heard in the vicinity of my mat

I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to ‘go with the flow.’

I’ve always been a “doer”. It’s almost like I have a little motor inside me constantly pushing to DO SOMETHING. I NEED to make things happen, and make them happen quickly.

The concept of going with the flow keeps coming back to me, a lesson I’ve yet to internalize. Despite being the consummate doer, doubt constantly plagues me when opportunity knocks. I slam on the brakes when I should be plowing forward, only to regret it later and try to artificially manufacture opportunities where none exist.

Yesterday during class the instructor was talking about the discomfort you feel in specific poses. Frog, for instance, is a particularly uncomfortable pose for most people, and he was talking about how to stay in it despite the discomfort.

One point he made was that it’s not our feelings or thoughts themselves that make us suffer, but rather, our reactions to those feelings or thoughts. How you judge a sensation ultimately determines how you feel about it, and in turn, what you do about it. If you reject it, you magnify its impact in your mind. If you accept it, it washes over you like water over a mossy stone.

His advice on the discomfort many in the room were feeling was, observe it, acknowledge it, and do nothing but breathe and stay. That is acceptance.

As a doer, the concept is a difficult one for me to grasp, despite having mastered it in the realm of my anxiety. When I have a panic attack – or the beginnings of one – I acknowledge it, accept it and do nothing. With EVERYTHING else, it always feel like I have to make a decision, or plot some course of action, or a plan of attack, because otherwise I won’t get what I want.

The problem with that line of thinking, of course, is that what I want – what WE want – isn’t always what’s best. And as anyone who’s ever had something wonderful land in their lap can tell you, you don’t have to actively “make things happen” for great things to unfold in your life.

My inner thighs really hurt today from staying in that Frog and breathing (not to mention from running 5 miles in 25 F weather – what on earth was I thinking??). I want to get some more more practice going with the flow, but outside of my yoga mat, I don’t exactly know how.

The only thing I can think of is to keep trying, and keep failing, until I get it right.


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