All of a sudden I was stretching farther and deeper than I ever had. For the first time, in that moment, it was easy. Something had changed and I’d crossed a threshold I wasn’t previously aware of.
On June 30th, I woke up early and did yoga. It was cold and dark in my apartment. I was half asleep, feeling creaky. Soon enough, I came upon the one “basic” yoga pose that still challenges me every time: triangle pose.
Every time I get to triangle pose, I literally feel pushed up against an internal wall of resistance and it’s like my own body is blocking me. There’s this persistent tension in my hips and upper chest/back that I get locked into and can’t seem to get relief from. I always try to push harder, to stretch farther, to go deeper into the pose. But it never works.
When I finally broke through that wall, it wasn’t by doing anything in particular. In fact, it was by not doing something that I progressed. Rather than trying like I always do, I just stopped. I surrendered. I heard this impulse say, LET GO. It kept repeating until I did. And then, for a few molasses seconds, everything was better and nothing existed but a detached fascination.
It made me think that we are all working so hard to maintain this illusion of control. It’s part of our culture, the American religion. But it’s a lie we’re all telling ourselves and representing to each other with fake smiles and overconfident assurances. The only thing we can control is what we do in this moment. Our actions, and with more practice, our thoughts and feelings. I can’t control the world or force things to go my way. I can’t control who is going to launch what product or when, when someone I care about is going to be gone, or if the pretty girl is suddenly going to stop being interested in me and not want me anymore. It’s largely out of my hands. All I can do is focus on this moment and give everything I’ve got, right now, trusting that outcomes will work out in the end.
I think back to that cold, early morning moment a lot. And now every day has become triangle pose.