& How it can empower confidence in You!
In a countdown style here’s the things I didn’t know before my first yoga class … in at:
No.5: You’re going to get lost.
Potentially just to get to the first yoga class, as they are often held in church halls & random rooms in a centre you never knew existed. But, I’m actually referring to being in the class, understanding what you are being told & converting that into where your hands or feet should be at any given time. Like you’re playing a giant game of twister, only you can’t see the colours & you’re not sure if the person spinning the wheel is playing by the rules. You look around & you’re pretty certain every other person is in some synchronized dance and you’re the only one who can’t hear the music, but, that’s OK because:
No.4: You’re not alone.
I can guarantee there is at least one other person in the room, who is either lost, stuck, doesn’t know the move (or doesn’t like it & is avoiding it). OR they’ll be some ‘know it all already’ onto the next thing, making some entirely different shape to everyone else. It’s just your fear telling you anything else. Whatever you think, however you feel – it’s totally, 100% normal & the secret is, it’s a safe space, because:
No.3: No one else cares what you can’t or don’t do.
I’ve never had someone comment that my Downward dog is unbalanced, or my twist not … twisty enough. Comparison is in general non-existent in class. It’s your practice & if that means you’ve come to your mat to lay in Child’s pose & not move for an hour, good for you. & If someone does catch a sneaky peek at you, because they’re looking back at you through downward dog, or looking rabbit in a headlights directly at you to check what the hell ‘Virabhadrasana I’* is (yes I googled to ensure correct spelling), to copy you, it’s a compliment. I have only ever looked at someone else & thought – wow that looks good. & This is where it gets a little more daunting;
*Sanskrit name for pose: Warrior one … google it, give it a go, I challenge you not to feel empowered in this pose!
No. 2: It’s Hard!
Everyone thinks of Yoga as this cool Zen activity, where you chill & stretch a little, maybe go for a mocha-chino after. Well, I remember how hard that first yoga class was, I certainly gave it a good go, but god did it show me … and it continues to do so.
I study Ashtanga which is considered a ‘strong’ type of Yoga & people walk out of those classes dripping in sweat. The heat it builds inside your body, ‘your fire’, you have to give it a go-to believe it. & Holding a pose for 30 seconds – that’s not long right? Just see how much you wobble & shake … & start counting in the hope you are somewhere near the end-all of 5 seconds in. Again, totally, 100% normal.
But practice helps
& The truth behind all those beautiful, graceful, easy looking artworks of poses we see on Instagram, is years, sometimes decades of constant & consistent practice. That’s why it’s called practice! & That’s just a snapshot of a split second in time … I’ll bet you now you won’t find a Yogi who can’t, without the need of a second thought, tell you something they find hard in their practice, & as in life & THAT’s where you should go & focus on, not shy away from.
For me this is Pigeon pose – it is my nemesis, for one, the lack of a cool name upsets me (my favourite pose is wild thing 😉) but it goes after your hamstrings & my tight runners’ hammies do not wanna play pigeon!
So, you don’t know what you’re doing. You get the fear it’s just you. You stop & think f@#k it – I’ll wing it – only to realise touching your toes in the 1st pose was tough enough. How the hell are you supposed to balance on one leg whilst doing it?! & Then:
No. 1: You let rip!
Now I can’t speak for the men here, but I don’t just mean in the normal sense, but ladies, I’m talking from the front (down there) too! It’s much worse in my home practice, I guess because I feel much more comfortable … I actually wonder if, through the theory of the butterfly effect, any of the more recent storms have been caused by me coming down from a shoulder stand?
But one of the purposes of the practice is to cleanse; mucus, bile … wind. Trust me, you will have to put zero effort into helping that last one along! I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise with how we are moving & twisting our body & especially when we go upside down, how that moves things around.
& The old adage is true – it is better out than in. The only comfort I can provide, is that I have genuinely never heard anyone else! Snore yes, giggle – a plenty (99% of the time at the snorer), fart no. So everyone’s doing it, but they’re all so concentrated on their own, they’re not hearing yours.
Why you should face a fear
Anything new is scary, we can always find 100 reasons ‘not to’ in a matter of seconds. Doubt & fear are our natural protective state.
But, I went back to Yoga. I kept going back … & I am now a fully trained teacher of Ashtanga, Aerial & Post-Natal.
If the above is as bad as it gets, well we’ve all faced worse right? & I promise you, the scales are definitely tipped in favour of why you should face a fear:
You will get lost
By getting lost helps you to figure out if you even want to be on the journey. If you don’t want to figure it out, maybe this isn’t the journey for you, but you can always say you tried. If it’s hard & you still do? You love it? = Hooray!! KEEP GOING.
You are not alone
It’s a mantra I hear myself say over & over to clients. Just because people only post their best life on social media doesn’t mean there wasn’t ugly, blood, sweat & tears to get there – how you feel on your journey may in part have to be faced alone, but it’s all 100% normal & if you share it? You’ll quickly see how many others are right there with you and thankful, they are not alone. It’s funny how showing your vulnerability opens a pathway for others to show their confidence in you!
No one else really cares what you do
Excluding those who love you hard & only truly want the best for you … Most people aren’t looking at you, watching and judging every next step you make. Even those who love you hard don’t have time for that so stop the negative reflection you’re putting on yourself, look at your lane, maintain your focus. If you invested all the time and energy you think on worrying about if others are looking left & right at you? You could be 10 steps further ahead and closer to what you want. You’ll gain confidence proving to yourself you can and only kill it comparing and checking on others.
Life is hard. Change is hard.
But standing still is equally painful and soul-destroying … You gotta go ‘through’ to get to the other side and your courage muscle will be working overtime to get you there. Go through the pain, the gritted teeth, the OMG what is everyone going to think … On the other side, I promise, you’ll wish you hadn’t taken so long to get started.
What’s the worst that can happen?
You embarrass yourself? It doesn’t work out? … Or you stay right where you are right now, not trying, no-one watching, no-one caring … Only you, stuck in a fear spasm that’s holding you back from all that could be.
If there is one thing I know, for sure, I’m happier every time I face and go through a fear. Regret for what I did if it fails? Weighs minutes, for what I don’t … A lifetime.