In January 2009, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) sent letters to over twenty yoga studios in the state informing them that because they had teacher training programs they were considered postsecondary vocational schools and as such they needed to obtain a Certificate to Operate. The paperwork required for the Certificate is extensive and the fees are beyond what many yoga studios can afford. My lawyer and I thought the law did not support SCHEV’s position since yoga studios are more focused on personal development than vocation, so we sent a letter back to SCHEV stating our case.

Because I was one of the first people to disagree with SCHEV, by default, I ended up spearheading the effort for the Virginia yoga studios. As the result of a tremendous amount of support from yoga studios, teachers, and students from all over the state, there was a petition drive and two letter writing campaigns. Delegate David Bulova and Senator Mark Herring introduced bills in Virginia’s House and Senate that redefined vocation, and as we go to press, the bills are awaiting final votes in the General Assembly.

At the beginning, as I was coordinating the effort by contacting and organizing studios around the state, I knew what everyone was doing and had a basic expectation of what the next step would be.

Most of us, when given the choice of being in control or out of control, would choose to be in control. The helplessness that comes from being out of control can be quite scary or depressing. However, with control comes responsibility. For me, this created an obligation to the other Virginia yoga studios.

As the bills were written and introduced in Richmond, the legislative process took over and though my input was requested and accepted, my influence was limited from that time forward. At one point we ran into a problem with the House bill, and there was nothing the yoga studios could do to move it along. I was discouraged that we had come so far only to have our effort grind to a halt, but there was also a sense of relief that I had done everything I could, and my obligation was lifted. Fortunately, Delegate Bulova worked with SCHEV and other delegates to get the bill moving again.

There is freedom in not being in control and not being accountable for every detail. You can just flow along with the tide and let whatever happens happen. Some of the most exciting and memorable events in our lives come about when we are not in charge: a surprise gift or an unexpected adventure. If we are in total control, we would never have the joy of accomplishing something new because the result would be predetermined and there would be no excitement in reaching a goal. Sometimes it is uncertainty that makes life interesting.

There is so much in life we cannot control like Mother Nature and other peoples’ actions, but all of us must exercise some self-control for society to work. Managing our emotions and actions gives us stability and creates a feeling of safety and security. However, the line between being in and out of control can be thin, and when we control too much, we lose spontaneity and miss many of the simple joys in life.

When you are anxious, angry, or overwhelmed, are you attempting to direct something that is beyond your control? If the power to shape the result is not in your hands, you may feel a sense of peace and relief if you can recognize this, do your best, and then let go.