I had the perfect day planned.
I ate my homemade granola, drank a good mug of coffee while reading the vampire book to not be mentioned (my husband would freak out if he realized I was reading it–eek–again), and did a little housework. Then I loaded my car with a yoga mat, journal, slackline and sunscreen and headed for the park at Swamis. I was going to read my bit of spiritual wisdom for the day, focus on the lesson during my asana session, then practice slackline yoga in the sun, munching on organic trail mix until I fell asleep in the sun.
Of course, that’s not what happened. At 11:30 a.m. at Swamis–on a Wednesday, no less–the park was full of a hoard of too-good-looking men, scantily clad women, a complete film crew and about six slacklines spread between the trees. There were no parking spots, and a line of cars waiting for blissed-out surfers to squeeze out of their wetsuits, don their baggies, and head out for their lunchtime burritos. Those freaking hippies stole my perfect day.
So, instead, I drove my Prius south to the studio I teach at and took the noon yoga class with one of my absolute favorite instructors. I had a hard time letting go of the practice I had wanted and fully embracing the practice she suggested. I wanted to spend more time upside-down, but she had other ideas, mostly focusing on my abs and hanging out in plank. The practice was beautiful, but my mental outlook, “My day is stolen and now there goes my practice,” took away the joy I could have experienced.
After class, while I was sucking on frozen yogurt that my beautiful friend brought me (which totally made up for lack of upside-down time), I read my yogi wisdom of the day from “Meditations from the Mat.” How ironic that it be about the yama of asteya, or non stealing. Gates asks us to be honest about all the small ways we’ve been stealing–that book you haven’t returned to your friend, that hour at work you spent online catching up on the latest New Moon saga, etc. We’ve all done it.
Gates suggests that we steal these things because of an attachment to the outcome, and that beneath the attachment, we are simply acting out of fear–fear that if we don’t take control of our own destinies, the universe won’t provide for us. But the yoga sutras state, “When abstention from stealing is firmly established, precious jewels come.” Basically, the best way to get what you want is to quit wanting it, to find non-attachment. Instead, find an absolute trust in the abundance of the universe and its ability to provide you what you need when you need it.
I have spent many days at Swamis doing exactly what I had planned today. Usually, those days were the result of a spontaneous decision between a friend and me to soak up the sun, and we were provided for–it was exactly what we needed. Today, more than the sun and the slackline, I must have needed to detox in a heated yoga class, strengthen my abs and my sore back, and soak my only supportive top with sweat and walk around braless the rest of the day. And also to visit a friend who I haven’t seen in a long time, eat frozen yogurt for lunch, and learn about non-attachment to plans. If I had only had less attachment to my perfect day, then today would have been perfect.