Yogi Assignment: Ingenuity
I’m sitting on a train to Charlottesville, not because I chose to book the train but because when I tried to check into my flight last night, it had been changed to five hours earlier. My new flight was scheduled to depart at the same time that my last workshop in Philadelphia was ending—that wasn’t going to work! I called the airlines and they suggested a multi-stop itinerary that would have me land at my destination just past midnight. Even though they made the change at no charge I didn’t feel good about this option. Multiple connections with regional jets are often delayed and I’ve gotten stranded at random airpots overnight before. My first class in Charlotteville started at 9:30 AM and arriving after midnight sounded awful (if I made it on time!). So, I googled “train from Philadelphia to Charlottesville” and found a route that had me arriving earlier than my original flight. After a moment of consideration I booked it. This meant that I had to shift the time of my book signing earlier and leave right after my last class. I hate to rush out after an event, but I explained the situation to everyone and I can only hope that they were understanding.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been faced with a scenario that wasn’t going well only to come up with an alternative that was as good if not better than the original option. Whether it’s a congested route through traffic on the way home or a delayed plane or a customer service problem, I try sit with things until they land in a good space, no matter how long it takes. I figure if it doesn’t feel right it’s not over yet and I’ve got more work or research left to do. While not everything works out, most things do. Being persistent and creative in your approach to problem solving is one of the most yogic skills you can cultivate. When I was learning how to lift up into handstand I felt like I was facing a wall of impossibility. I spent days, weeks and years trying one thing and then another. I’d press more with my arms. I’d suck it up more with my abs. I’d breathe deeper. I’d think about specific muscles. It took me five years but I figured it out. When I finally lifted it up, it felt like I solved a huge puzzle. I consider this an exercise in longterm problem solving that I now apply to difficult situations in my life.
This week’s Yogi Assignment is Ingenuity, which is defined as the quality of being cleverly inventive or resourceful. For this week tell yourself the story of how you can and put in the time to figure it out. Whether you’re faced with a difficult pose or a challenging life situation, don’t give up. Don’t push too hard either. Find the perfect balance between putting in the work and giving it space. Sometimes it’s in the space that the solution presents itself. Practice not being too attached to any particular plan until the perfect solution presents itself. If you get caught up in one particular notion of how things should be you might not be nimble enough to adapt to the changes in your journey. Ingenuity of the mind is like flexibility in the body. You have to wiggle around and coax yourself into the next step while at the same time being totally accepting of how things unfold, especially if the best case scenario isn’t so . Think outside the box of your problems and open your mind up to the vibration of solutions.