These past couple of weeks I’ve been reflecting a lot about control. More specifically, my need to control and micromanage everything and letting go of control.
For years and years I used food as a means to try to control what I couldn’t control. When it felt like my world was spinning too fast and I had no control, I would turn to food and exercise. It gave me the illusion that I was actually in control of something. But it was just that: An illusion. Sure, I could control how many calories I ate and many hours I spent at the gym, but was I really in control? No.
Five years ago I had a boyfriend who died very suddenly. Once again, I turned to food. I subconsciously thought that by controlling my food I could somehow gain a sense of control in my life. But at the end of the day nothing in our life is in our control.
No matter how much I restricted my food or how kilometres I ran my boyfriend still died. We are not nearly in as much control as we like to think we are.
Earlier this year I was in a very unhealthy relationship. I won’t go into details now but suffice to say it was a relationship where I felt like everything was out of my control. We needed his family’s blessings for our relationship, and basically I had zero control over our relationship. One day I will tell the full story but I am not yet quite ready to share the full story with the world.
We did not get his family’s blessing, and we ended up splitting up. This was absolutely for the best. It had become a very unhealthy relationship, and I am eternally grateful I got out of it.
However, it still left me feeling that I had nothing in my control. Enter yoga. Or more specifically Ashtanga yoga.
I’ve always liked Ashtanga yoga, and I have nothing against this practice. However, for me the practice became yet another way for me to gain an illusion of control and escape my pain and hurt feelings. I know that for many Ashtanga practitioners the practice is a tool to tune in but for me personally I used the practice as an escape.
In my case I actually needed to practice yin yoga, vinyasa yoga, go on long walks, go swimming… I needed to feel my feelings, and I needed to let go of my constant need to control and micromanage.
So yeah, I have taken a step back from Ashtanga yoga. I still think it’s a beautiful practice, and I still enjoy practicing the series a couple of times per week. But I now also enjoy long walks, spending time in nature, journaling, yin yoga, vinyasa classes, dancing, writing/working in the evening and sleeping in, and I enjoy spending more time with my friends and family. Oh and reading too.
For me a six days a week practice meant getting up at 5am every morning, saying no to every social engagement, saying no to every drink, every slice of pizza… It was starting to cost me every relationship in my life. This is not to say that this happens for everyone. I don’t think that’s the case at all. But for me personally it had taken over my life – and not in a good way.
So yes, I still enjoy the practice. But I also enjoy other things. And most importantly by stepping a bit away from Ashtanga yoga I’ve finally started to let go of my constant need to control everything. I am beginning to accept that at the end of the day I am not really in control of that much anyway.
I am starting to have more fun. I am starting to live my life to the fullest and do what makes me happy. I am not saying my path is for everything, but it is for me.
For me personally, by letting go of my need to control and stop obsessing about everything, I have been able to gain more joy, fun and a sense of peace into my life.