Peacefully Unfolding

Sometimes, there are situations about which I cannot figure out how I feel until they are over.

I can have delayed reactions where my anxiety level skyrockets, and that never serves me well.

I wind up taking a break from everything, including yoga.

Anxiety never leads me in the right direction. And taking a break from yoga, however short, is always the wrong direction.

After one such break, I returned to my yoga class, and it went by in five minutes flat.

I had really missed being there.

And, at the end, as usual, my instructor imparted a few words of wisdom; words I wished I had not just heard but listened to earlier.

Think of a situation you were in about two weeks ago, and think of how you could have handled it better, he told the class. Maybe you could have handled it differently by letting the situation peacefully unfold.

Letting the situation peacefully unfold. Not a usual part of my repertoire.

When I first started yoga, I really wanted to excel quickly: Reverse bind, Bird of Paradise, backbend, high split with no hands on the mat. I could not do any of this, though, and the practice was gradual.

The instruction was gradual, too. Sometimes we would spend at least a month or more working on the same things. Working toward the full expression of a pose is a journey that takes patience.

At times I am finally able to reach full expression, and at times, I cannot. At yoga, I've learned to have patience as I work toward something.

I have been taught that I can get into a deeper expression of a pose by that peaceful unfolding about which my instructor spoke. Trying to jump into final expression is nearly always impossible.

Letting things peacefully unfold is not really in my nature. It is something I have had to work at, and this work really began when I became a mother 25 years ago.

When my children were very little, I was in charge. However, as they grew, it quickly became apparent that I would have to make room for them as people in their own right, allowing for their own decisions and desires and not just what I thought was best.

Letting things unfold often involves letting go, and this is a continuing exercise for me today.

At least now, though, I can often look back to realize the best outcomes appear when things worked easily. These are usually situations in which I do not have to push too much to make things happen; situations in which I let things peacefully unfold.

Today, I can do a reverse bind, a Bird of Paradise, a backbend and a high split with no hands on the mat.

There is still room for improvement in each of these poses, however, and there are so many more on which I continue to work or have yet to try.

It seems easier to physically allow for things to peacefully unfold. In some ways, it is easier to do this in the yoga studio rather than in life outside the studio.

The real effort is in the conscious decision to take this practice off the mat and work on finding the peace in those situations where I might otherwise find the angst.