Last night I went to Jivamukti Yoga in Union Square for their 9pm open class. Having decided on this mission and blog less than 12 hours prior, I was unprepared. I bought clothes on-site from the sale bin, rented a mat and was even pleasantly surprised with a budget-friendly beginner’s rate.
This oddball scheme will be worth it for yoga last night alone. On one level, it felt so good to do something, anything. A deeper analysis confirms that it is good I did something supremely physical. Our bodies were meant to move and do all sorts of wondrous things. Yoga is not a bad example of this. I felt powerful and graceful. I was reminded of my old track & field days. I smiled when I broke a sweat. I saw my legs stretch out strong from a shoulder stand and it was as if I were looking at art.
Last night I officially confirmed that I have a problem letting go. The young and serene yoga instructor told us to set our intention for the evening’s practice. As I put my hands together near my heart in the anjali mudra (palms pressed together as if praying), I set my intention of letting go with a fervor worthy of a pilgrim at a shrine. I asked to let go of doubts of the past, fears of the future and expectations from the present. My mind took my solemn intention as license to think about everything. From whether the pain in my side was a tumor to all the emails I need to send tomorrow. I will be the first to admit that I have a special talent for worry and overthinking. The more I tried to let go, the more the doubts and fears poked me in the ribs. The more I tried to get a spiritual benefit from the practice, the more pedestrian and mundane my thoughts became. And then something happened as I moved from delicate pose to the next: I forgot to try to let go and without my noticing, I did just that. Then the Universe (God, the Divine, whatever), to ensure I knew I was having a moment, played Otis Redding over the studio’s speakers. Perfect.
Intent cannot be pushed or forced or bullied. Think of it as catching soap bubbles in the air….the harder you try, the less successful you will be. (Deepak Chopra, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire)