In yoga – you should never TRY to be more flexible. It is completely counterproductive. Achieving flexibility comes with letting go – NOT trying/controlling. Trying causes you to tense up. It means you’re holding on inside– thinking that by working and trying so hard – you control the outcome. It’s the furthest thing from the truth…. ever. You will never get more flexible by controlling how your muscles work. You need to let go for flexibility to kick in. I repeat – you need to let go….
The first month of 2014 has held one resounding, persistent, annoying, message for me: too much of my energy is going in to controlling every single detail of my business. Simply put – I am a complete control freak where my business is concerned and while its causing me unnecessary stress, it is, more importantly taking me off my yogic path and not actually helping my business grow in the way that I really want it to.
There I said it.
This last week I reached breaking point and I decided that I could keep going down this route, or do something about it. Simple as that. I have the power to choose right? So this is me, putting it out there – my resolve to journey on the path of releasing my controlling tendencies for the purpose of my own health, happiness and the ongoing success of my business. Putting this out there will motivate me to keep to my resolve and it may motivate one or two others with the same annoying, and very powerfully destructive tendency!
A bit of background to make my case:
I opened up my yoga studio as a tentative venture to see if yoga could take off in the selective and unforgiving market that exists in PE. My one-man-show got off to a rocking start and I’ve been living the dream ever since: no one to answer to, full creative freedom, complete independence. I couldn’t have asked to have it any better.
As life goes though, things change and evolve. The dream of having a proper, big yoga studio, that serves many, many people: with different physical abilities and emotional needs, with different schedules and of different levels, offering workshops and trainings in many interesting and related fields and becoming a household name in yoga communities, was still alive, if a little pushed to the side while enjoying my comfort zone. Just as I started getting really comfortable with where things were at – thinking – I could cruise along like this for ages….things started happening to push me in a different direction:
1. I became pregnant – well that’s quite a serious and strong message along the lines of change
2. Things in my previously calm and comfortable studio, turned what I can only for now describe as ‘psycho’ – and I needed to move – another pretty strong sign that times they were a changing!
I considered moving to Canada and allow my partner to take care of me. I considered kicking back and living a conservative life off proceeds from the UK. I considered packing a backpack and hitting the road until something else popped up as the next thing to get my teeth into. India came to mind as it did lead to life changing events the last time I went – but I didn’t fancy tempting fate with delhi belly while being pregnant.
My responsible side – as well as the fact that I really, really liked having a yoga studio and I LOVED my clients – kept me looking for new studio premises.
It was the only option that brought any peace in my soul.
Bigger premises, that were more beautiful, more accessible with more exposure, with more opportunity to expand and grow into all the areas I had originally envisaged when I manifested this dream to begin with – soon became available. It came easily, without any fuss or battle – just like it was meant to be. It was just waiting there for me to find it…and since I have been there, its welcomed me in every day arrive there. I feel at home – more than I ever did in the seemingly ‘comfortable space’ just around the corner, where this yoga journey started.
With bigger and better – not just in regards to the studio, but also concerning my waistline – came the need for expansion by way of finding the right people to support the functioning of the studio and the expanding dream (aka expanding budget). This was where I hit the brickwall – hard and fast.
I don’t really want ANYONE else around because I don’t really want to relinquish control in that way. This is my BABY after all. My first born and its not even 8 months old. What kind of mother leaves her first born in the care of someone else – even for a few minutes – when its not even 8 months old?
Of course I know I’m crazy – lots of mothers leave their kids – safely – in the care of others…and all entrepreneurs feel like their businesses are their babies…but they too learn to let go for the benefit of the business.
It was when I recognized how ridiculous my thoughts were that I realized I needed to get a grip. I was losing sleep (and weight while I was pregnant) because of all these little irrational thoughts and beliefs about myself, my responsibilities, what I could and couldn’t do, and also the capabilities of people around me.
The time for change is now.
Why we control:
1. We’re worried about what will happen if we don’t control it – i.e control is based in fear
Fear is a very powerful emotion and is always based outside of the present moment. ..i.e. its not real – its perceived. We fear how things may or may not turn out and affect us. Only some, but often none, of our fears materialise. So it is a ‘false’ state of being. It’s energy wasted on something that may or may not happen.
2. We’re attached to a specific outcome, and the way to get achieve that outcome. We think, we what the best route and outcome is for us (as if we always know best).
The reality is that things often don’t pan out as planned – but that they then in fact turn out better. How many times have you had to look on as things – with or without you trying to control them – unfolded as they should and in a way you never ever imagined or fathomed – better than your expectations? Different to what you anticipated isn’t necessarily bad, or worse….it may in fact be better.
3. We lack trust in others and ultimately in the Universe/God.
Lacking in trust that whatever is, is best, is good, is meant to be, is safe and beautiful and perfect for you – is living in a place of fear, pessimism, cynicism, and limitations. Einstein said: “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe”.
We don’t expand and experience abundance when we only allow ourselves to trust what we can see and touch …and control. We often learn not to trust right from early childhood and what needs to be addressed here can be painful and complicated. It is worth it though…because the truth is, our lives have the potential to be completely limitless. WE are limitless. We hold the power and freedom to every bit of happiness and success out there – and we hold the keys to lock up that potential forever.
This is some serious stuff.
What I am doing about it:
1. I am going to give everything I can in terms of equipping people with the tools to carry out the business activities in line with my business model, integrity to yoga philosophy and practice– and then I am going to allow them to be free to bring what THEY have. That which is special and authentic about THEM.
My affirmation – the diversity and depth of experience that others bring enrich and grow my business every day.
2. I am going to draw inspiration from and match my thoughts to leaders that I have encountered in real life/literature/movies and whom I admire for their integrity, success, and ability to inspire rather than control
My affirmation – the best leaders out there made it by inspiring rather than controlling. Inspiring leadership has far reaching effects. Controlling leadership has ever tightening boundaries and limitations.
3. I am going to monitor my thoughts and controlling tendencies and open up to understanding where they come from – insecurities, fear, lack of trust etc. I will stay in the present moment – dealing only with what is happening here and now, accept my insecurity and fears for what they are but not allow them to dictate my thoughts and resulting behaviours. One day at a time – one thought at a time, one act at a time.
Affirmation – I am the beautiful product of everything this life has given me to grow and evolve. Every part of what I am has purpose – even the fears and insecurities. I accept them, and I release the need for my behaviour to be governed by them.
4. In yoga one learns to be curious. Curious about your body – what it can do and what the journey to doing things different brings up. I am going to apply that principle to my business and opening the doors to others to contribute and add to the picture. I am going to be curious about different ways of doing things and alternative routes to where we want to be. The most direct or most efficient way might work sometimes and other times the scenic route brings up meaningful and inspiring things. I’m opening up to those possibilities
Affirmation – I am open to suggestions and learnings from others as their ideas are just as useful and meaningful as mine. I accept all offers and stay curious about an attitude of openness can deliver.
5. I am setting out on a journey of mastering the art of Surrender: the complete acceptance of what is and having faith that all is well, even without my input. (My throat slightly contracted even as I wrote that). I have to remind myself that this does not mean – ‘do nothing’. It means – do something from a place of sweet surrender. Doing something without demanding a certain outcome. Doing something without force or feeling like it is a struggle.
Will Blunderfield sings: “There is a river that I’ve discovered. It flows downstream to everything I desire. I paddled so hard against the current, I did not know, that all I needed was to let the oars go, and just flow.
Affirmation: All is well in my world. I breathe and let go of the oars
As I conclude this article I face my first challenge: part of me thinks I can’t submit this because what I am asking of myself here is impossible (i.e. I don’t feel I can control the successful outcome of what I put out there). Funny that. There is another part that just keeps saying – let the oars go…The energy right now is magical….and unbearable. Here goes….
Author: Tanya Kemp
Latest posts by Tanya Kemp (see all)
- When did we stop caring? - 24 March 2014
- Yoga No-No’s (warning – read only with a sense of humour) - 10 March 2014
- What do you practice when you practice yoga? - 24 February 2014
- The Amazing Alternative Route to (swiftly) Healing a (severely) Broken Ankle - 10 February 2014
- My Controlling Nature – and how I intend to release It - 4 February 2014