Lose The Plan and Just GO!

YS22FB message from pal/fellow yoga teacher Annie: “Hey Shan, Beth and I are attending a master class Saturday morning in Philly – come along!”

FB response: “Uh…um, I gotta think about it.” Or something along those lines. Here’s the weird thing. I totally wanted to go. Had no schedule conflicts, no objections from anyone else, no fear of big shot teacher Mark White (I’ve done his podcasts, he’s great), no nothing. So why the hesitation? Why the 24-hour delay until replying, “I’m in, Annie!”

Because spontaneity just doesn’t come easy for this plan-ahead girl. In just about every area of life, I first consider, then prepare, consider again, prepare some more, and finally I go. In yoga, in life, I do this.  And more often than not, it’s a serious kill-joy.

These jeans, no the leggings instead, yes these jeans and that sweater, no I like the navy blue hoodie better, and an hour later than should have taken, I’m finally ready to go. To this Starbucks.  No wait a minute…that one a mile further, I like the banquettes and high ceilings better.

In Mark’s class Saturday, sandwiched between fired up, sweaty yogis inches apart at Hotbox Yoga breathing and flowing together for nearly two hours, I got caught in a serious plan-ahead-be-damned way of being: “Warrior One! Chatturanga! Upward Facing Dog! Downward Facing Dog!!” In one breath. No amount of planning was going to get me through this sequence at this ridiculously fast pace. What’s he doing? I inwardly screamed. “Crow! Fly back! Crow again!!” And on it went. As chaotic as the class appeared at times, I later realized the brilliance behind his teaching. There was no plan! He watched us, interacted with us, sensed where we needed to grow, and tapped into it in such way that will resonate with me forever.

“Ha! Control freaks just love this!” he chuckled. He obviously knew none of us were going to complete 7 poses in a single breath, and that was the point. To get us out of our controlling minds and into our bodies. He brought my plan-ahead way of doing things to a screeching halt.

And it felt absolutely amazing.

Such freedom and joy in not knowing what to expect. Not knowing what was coming next. Complete permission to move sloppily, laugh hard, sweat all over my neighbors mats and collapse out of poses I normally nailed with ease.

Yoga, to me, is a reminder that to be spontaneous, and accept the unexpected, is to truly live. As much as I try to anticipate what’s coming, plan for the next pose, the next breath, it never works out that way. And that is what keeps this practice so fascinating, at times so frustrating, and yet so powerful. It reminds me that more often than not, I need to drop the plan and just GO.

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