Even though we sometimes think of control as a negative quality (What a control freak!), and we often have a great aversion to control's close cousin, discipline, is it possible to see these qualities as strengths? When you step onto the mat, control and discipline are the willingness to practice intelligently, with structure and with respect for all the teachings you have gained.
But some of us are too good at control. We don't make allowances for the chaotic nature of life, for the rhythms of our own bodies, for the mysterious appearance of inspiration or intuition.
This is where the balancing quality for control comes in - creativity.
How do you seek out the new when you're doing your nine hundredth downward facing dog? Know that when you practice yoga, you are constantly transforming yourself. You are changing the chemical contents of your blood, rearranging your bones and muscles, introducing new pathways in your body for blood, energy, lymph.
If you are willing to believe that there is much to be discovered about your body if you will only pay attention, you will be astounded at the guidance you will receive.
You will know when to work hard and when to be soft. You will know when to keep stretching your hamstrings and when to move onto something else.
I have observed that the students who reap the most rewards from yoga are those who allow themselves to cultivate a curious, engaged attitude toward their bodies, their abilities and their limitations. They are willing to test their edges, to not be attached to the outcome, but to become immersed in an almost childlike way with the experience of what they are doing at that moment.
Developing a personal dialogue with your body's individual story is your own yoga. Filter the traditions, the teachings and the opinions through your own intelligence, experience, breath and body.
What results will be your own - precious, irreplaceable, liberating and nourishing.