When I'm leading a yoga class I want everything to go perfectly. I want there to be complete silence when we're in savasana, breathing in unison when we're moving, no students rushing and pushing into movements, nobody from outside the class to interrupt, in short... no unexpected activities.
So is this what happens? Absolutely not.
Speakers die, dogs run onto the roof, phone's go off and cars start to beep as loud as they can. Someone will start talking just as we settle into savasana, and someone will sneeze when I'm saying something I deem to be important. Why? Because that's life.
When these things happen in my yoga class, I remind myself that this is the real yoga. The real yoga isn't needing the exact perfect conditions in order to create an environment for self-knowledge and growth.
The real yoga is when things go wrong, and you are still able to find the gentleness within yourself, where you can still remain calm and compassionate, and realise that it's not what is going on around you that matters, it's how you respond to it.
One of my biggest challenges in this life is learning to stop trying to control everything. That's why I've found this mantra song to be so soothing and helpful, as it reminds me that releasing control is exactly what I need to do. When I'm grasping for the conditions of a yoga class to be perfect, I'm trying to have control over something I have no right to.
When I try and control the conditions of my life, I'm also trying to take control of something I have no right to. Life happens to us, with us, around us, we dance with life. We can take charge of some things, and hope they work out as we planned, but no human can control everything around them. When we try, we land ourselves in more frustration and suffering than we would if we just let it go; let it be.
This doesn't mean that things won't happen that we wish we could have had control over, or maybe sometimes we even blame ourselves for these things. For example, if someone's phone goes off in class I might think it was my fault for not telling people to turn their phones off. But trying to retrospectively control, or blaming ourselves won't help either.
So now what I've learned to do, when I'm just bringing people out of savasana and three people start shouting right next to us; I smile. I smile because I understand that this is the real yoga, this is the way things are. Things will never be perfect, and things will never be foreseeable, but the more we lean into that, the more we can enjoy it.
The unpredictability, the absurdity and the uncertainty of life is what makes it life. If we could control everything we'd lose all the fun, and we'd lose all the possibility to grow. Maybe smiling every time is hard, but at least if we can meet the unpredictability with graciousness and calm, curiosity and maybe even respect, we'll be able to find ourselves in a much more peaceful state for it.