Did you know that I lived in India for a year from 2011 to 2012? Ric was on an assignment that was supposed to last 3 years which unfortunately was shortened to one year but oh my, what a year. I love India! It was a year where I got to write, speak in exotic locales and take courses that I had never had time for before. I found the oldest yoga ashram in India and took a yoga certification. What I learnt went way beyond poses.
The Yoga Institute of Mumbai spends more time teaching the philosophy of yoga than on the asana or poses we typically associate with yoga. I went expecting to be able to twist my body into interesting pretzel shapes and instead came out able to straighten my pretzel brain.
When my daughter called me and told me she was doing a hot yoga class I told her that in Mumbai, it’s just called yoga. Our class was on the second floor of a room with only overhead fans to cool us. The ashram was built before the airport and was in its direct flight path, so we often had to wait for the plane to go overhead before we could hear what the teacher said. Just being in the facility was a lesson in patience.
One particular exercise has stuck with me and still influences me to this day. Our teacher gave each of us a variety of different colored lentil beans. She then showed us a picture of a flower we were supposed to replicate using the beans as our medium. Sitting on our mats in either the lotus position or kneeling, we were given as much time as we needed to complete our flower. If we were finished before others we sat quietly and contemplated life, or how freaking hot it was with only a fan to cool us.
When I was finished I sat back feeling very pleased with myself. My lentil bean flower was something beautiful to behold and I wished I had my phone with me to take a picture.
Our instructor read my delight. She came over and stood over my work of art and me. “Are you happy with what you did”, she asked. “Yes” I replied. With that she bent down and swiped my beautiful flower with her hand, ruining my design. I stopped myself before I called her a name.
She smiled at my look of horror and instructed me to do it again. Now I don’t know about you but when someone in power destroys your work and tells you to do it again a lot of doubt sets in. I was feeling confused, insulted and defiant.
My second flower was even better than the first. Those lentil beans became a thing of beauty and dare I say, pulsated with life and vibrant color. When I was finished she approached my mat. I threw myself over my flower, shielding it from the sweep of her hand. I wasn’t going to have her ruin this one.
“Did you do your best?” she asked. Without raising my body I assured her that I had.
I don’t know how she managed to, but she snuck her foot under my arm and again destroyed my flower. I’m sure the gasp and swear word was heard by everyone in the room.
The lesson that our wise teacher taught us is we do our best in life and once we have completed our part, the outcome is outside of our control. You have to believe and have trust in what you do and then let go.
Do you allow what you don’t have control of to control you?