“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”

-Lao Tzu

forward foldRecently, I’ve taken on some more classes on a short-term basis.  At first, this was very exciting.  I love teaching yoga, and to get to do it more was a true blessing.  These classes left me feeling energized, present, and even electric.  Those were the good days.  Then, like everyone else in the world, I had bad days.  Nothing catastrophic happened.  I just had these days where simply put, “I wasn’t feeling it.”

I was tired.  I had menstrual cramps.  My shoulder pain came back.   If I had my old cubicle job, I could have hidden in the corner, put on my headphones, and prayed until 5:00 pm arrived.  As a yoga teacher, you have to somewhat rise to the occasion.  All eyes are on you, and there’s nowhere to hide.  It does not mean you have to push aside negative feelings.  I have spent a lot of my life pushing feelings aside, and it would get me through the task at hand only to leave me feeling like a caged animal afterwards: stressed, exhausted, agitated, and trapped.  I’ve gone down that road so many times, I know where it leads.   So, I was left with this question: Can I honor my crappy feelings while making space for something else to happen?

I was driving in my car to my next class, and I remember thinking, “I don’t know if I can do this.  I want to go home.  I want to sleep.  I want to hide until tomorrow.”  When I arrived, I sat in the parking lot for a long time, and I breathed and noticed.  What is really here?  I had this huge internal battle going about all of the reasons I shouldn’t be there, and I had to stop to ask, “What is truly going on?”

What I noticed is that when I was fully engaged in my thinking, my pains were worse and my reasons to flee seemed very legitimate.  When I was fully engaged in my body in the present moment,  my pain, fear, depression lessened.  Those feelings didn’t magically go away.  A space appeared.  I realized that I could do it.  I taught four classes that day, and before each one I simply breathed and checked in with myself and asked, “What is truly here?”  In my thinking mind there was always doubt, fear, and resistance.  It was strong and immediate, but when I sat and waited to sense what was happening within my body a well of strength appeared.  I was a body born to move, share, and be open.

I’ve spent my life being knocked around by whatever my thoughts told me: “You can’t do that.  This isn’t for you. You can’t handle it.”  Our thoughts serve a purpose, and I’m not saying we should ignore all of them.  I just noticed that I was in a place where my mind was constantly informing me that everything was a danger, and it wasn’t true.  When I took the time to sit and notice, these scary thoughts moved aside long enough for me to see my true self.

I am resilient.  I have enough.  I am supposed to be here.  I always have a choice.  I am powerful.  I can do this.