"Do one thing every day that scares you!"
Does being a yoga teacher count? Yup, I think that qualifies.
Thank you Eleanor Roosevelt for the empowering quote and a lovely inspiration. I could re-frame that sentence so that it reads “excites” rather than “scares.” Nerves are just a sign of excitement. They are signals of passion releasing from within you. I haven’t been a teacher long but I hope those "nerves", these signs of excitement, never go away. If something feels bad or uncomfortable (which then of course we tend to label as "bad".... ), our basic instinct is to move away (often run away) from it as it could hurt us. We could potentially fail it... Right?
Well, Yoga and specifically becoming a teacher/forever student has taught me to listen to my intuition and to move towards the "uncomfortable", and by doing so to learn something about myself, something that might help me become more whole, more complete, and hopefully less scared. That which scares me the most probably won’t kill me but it could actually enliven me. Idit, the director of the Yoga teacher training and of Sukha Mukha Yoga told us in one of the sessions that she heard a teacher say once; "there is the fear that keeps you a live and the fear that keeps you from living." She recommended we use the different practices to explore which is which in our own lives and to try and resolve the fear that keeps us from living.
JP Sears perfectly states in an interview, “The word scared and sacred is the same word except the c and a are out of place. So if we are getting scared I would dare say we might be approaching the sacred of self and if we are avoiding being scared with the feelings inside ourselves, I would dare say maybe that means we are also avoiding the sacredness of the self. The true warrior is the one who he or she is connected to their fears and walks forward in the journey of their life anyways. To me the true warrior is not someone who is fearless. What if the warrior is really he or she who feels afraid and moves forward anyways?”
My journey with yoga started about ten years ago, taking a class in college and thinking; "I don’t get it." I was always into fitness but I thought; “I could never get fit or lose weight just by doing yoga, I need more of a challenge and to sweat a lot... Yoga is just glorified stretching", blah blah blah... I continued to randomly take yoga classes throughout the years but the excuses and resistance stayed with me. I spent four months as a Karma Yogi at The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat where it was required to do at least two hours of yoga every single day #nodaysoff. And so I did, and I complained every single day. I dont know when it changed, but I believe that something kept calling me, and even though I was complaining on all sorts of things and concepts, I kept practicing. And I believe that when I stopped treating it as a work out a I started gaining deeper benefits. Which then led, quite naturally, to establishing a healthier relationship with yoga, and the best relationship I’ve ever had with myself.
I finally started to understand what people talked about when they claimed “yoga changed their lives.” This led me to want to do more than just go to class. I decided to give the teacher training "thing" a go because at the tender age of 30 I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. After enrolling in a large mainstream yoga teacher training course in LA my life plans changed and I wasn’t able to attend the course. I was moving to Australia embarking on a new adventure but on the hunt, this time for a teacher training course that really spoke to my soul. I stumbled upon Sukha Mukha’s Thursday 5 month training which worked perfectly with my part time shuffle lifestyle. Little did I know it came packed with the most incredible people, teachers and inspirations that forever changed my life.
The training was more than learning how to teach Yoga poses. Thinking back I find it hard to remember what I thought a teacher training would be like. But, for me, it instilled a confidence I didn’t know I had, was capable of nor did I think I ever lacked. It has gifted me the courage to be vulnerable and without vulnerability we cannot create. It has allowed me to create a safe container for trying without attachment to an end result or without the fear of failing (with whatever "failure" means...). It taught me to have more self-compassion rather than more self-esteem. I no longer try to earn acceptance. I feel I embody acceptance on a deeper level.
And for the first time in my life I feel like I have arrived, I am here, I am alive, and life has only just begun.This is not to say these will be your benefits or outcomes. This is a personal journey and you will gain whatever you need to gain from the journey.
Before teacher training, speaking in front of a room of strangers for an entire hour, listening to the sound of my own voice and laughing at my own jokes while looking into the face of stone cold concentrated yogis FREAKED me O-U-T! Why in the world would I put myself through such uncomfortable and awkward pain!? I’m slightly dyslexic, I’ll never be able to get my right from my lefts and my ups from my downs correct. I have anxiety attacks when I public speak. "They won’t like my classes or the way I say things"... "They’ll think my accent is annoying"... "Omg, they can hear how nervous I am"... These are just some of the very many stories I had and still have to deal with on a daily basis but that is all part of the fun exciting journey! On the training Idit repeated again and again that we are not our stories... How much of a hold do they have over us? over our lives? can we see them for what they are? Stories... No more and noe less. Definitely not an absolute reality or truth.
I feel, that more often than not, I can see them now for they are. Stories. Habits. and then I can act accordingly. I can overcome the fear and the anxiety that used to paralyze me.
For anybody who is scared out of their mind at the thought of signing up to yoga teacher training, all I can say is, DO IT! You won’t regret it! Weather you want to teach or you don't want to teach, or you think you don't want to teach.... What is the BEST that could happen!? You might just meet yourself and see your self with new eyes and perception....
To end - a quote by Theodore Roosevelt. “It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
DO IT! WHAT IS THE BEST THAT CAN HAPPEN????