One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about during yoga teacher training is (DUH) what it will be like for me to teach yoga. Training is so intense, and I’ve learned such an incredible amount of information, from anatomy to asanas to meditation practices. We’ve spent entire weekends discussing the importance of sequencing and how to build a class to a peak pose. There is so much to think about, and it makes me wonder how much other yoga teachers script and plan out their classes and how many of them are just eventually able to wing it — because right now, I’m tempted to write down everything I want to say and then just read it to the class. (I wouldn’t really do that! But the desire is there.) So I asked one of my teacher trainers about it, and he told me, “I never plan. Every class I teach is pulled straight from my heart.”
This turn of phrase stuck in my mind. We’ve all heard people say (and said ourselves) that they didn’t have time to prepare something and just pulled it out of their ass. But pulling something out of your heart — that’s not about lack of preparation or lack of care. It’s about having a strong foundation, being armed with knowledge, and then doing what’s needed and what’s honest in a moment, what you know to be right. And every class he teaches is like that — you’d never think he was unprepared or didn’t know what he was doing, but you always feel like it comes from a honest and necessary place.
My point is: A lot of times, we have plans. We have something we expect our lives to look like. We have workout plans, food plans, budget plans, retirement plans, five-year plans, ten-year plans, weekend plans, vacation plans… well, you get it. We’re planning. And by no means am I saying that planning is bad — not all of it. But you can plan all you want, and sometimes that’s just not what life had in mind for you. People turn out to be different than you thought they were. Dreams look different when they become reality. Sometimes, you have to make a new plan, or three. Life is about finding that balance so that when a plan goes awry, you can reset and pull something usable out of your heart.
Things don’t always work out how you thought they would. My life looks nothing like I imagined it would 10 years ago, or 5 years ago, or even last year. You come upon surprises. You reassess and realign. This is your Friday reminder that there’s a difference between being prepared and having a rigid, set-in-stone plan. Go for the former. In your work, in your relationships, in your life. Build a strong foundation, arm yourself with knowledge, and know that you’ll have what it takes, at any given time, to pull the right thing from your heart.