Today’s post is a note to self.
Lately I have been digging deep and experiencing some self-realization.
This has mainly happened in my yoga practice.
You see, yoga isn’t about the workout, or the shapes you make.
It isn’t about being flexible, or hitting the crow or the handstand.
While all of those things can be fun, and feel good … there is a point where you experience so much more.
It may happen the first time you step on your mat, or it may take years.
Yoga is about self-realization.
What you learn on your yoga mat is invaluable, if you chose to listen.
My story actually has to do with handstands.
If you follow me on Instagram, I had been talking about “how you show up on your mat is how you show up in life.”
Kristin did a post about this a little while back … and she is always inspiring me to feel my feelings. Actually, I have to say that expressing my feelings is one of my life’s greatest struggles. That struggle comes out of fear. Fear of judgment, fear of feeling, fear of crying, fear of vulnerability.
In my yoga practice, it is no secret that I love handstands. They make my body feel good and they make me feel strong.
When I am upside own I am not judging myself, or worrying about life. I am just present.
For the last several years I have been flowing in the warm-up in my power yoga classes at Sol in the front row. I used that wall to get up, to feel what that was like, to build strength, and to build confidence.
While that wall helped me to get to a certain point in my practice, it also blocked me from moving forward. I started to rely on it.
I’ve done handstands on the beach (after a lot of bloopers), in my yard, and so on. However, in a class, without the wall, the task is terrifying!
Kristin (whose handstand workshops are what helped shape my practice) told me it was time to go back row.
“Shit, no.” Was my initial thought. It felt too good to get up in the front, the back would feel like starting all over again!
The fear of crashing into the person next to me.
The fear of frustration.
The fear of not being strong enough.
So much fear.
I told myself that if class wasn’t packed, I would make myself do it.
The last couple of weeks I have had more of an epiphany in my practice that I can remember in all the years on my mat.
Again, I know I can DO a handstand. My yoga practice isn’t about that … it is about getting away from that wall.
In the back row I barely would get up. That mental block was no joke.
I know what muscles to engage, I am going through all the cues in my mind … but my head was completely in the way.
Then it happened … I was able to for a moment, let it all go. And I hit the handstand without the wall.
Guess what? I have been pulling this shit my entire life off of my mat.
Staying in my comfort zone.
But I have also had moments of courage (and innocence) that helped me to reach unbelievable goals. Then, once I woke up that fear and self-doubt took over and I either gave up or self-sabotaged my success.
It’s taken 36 years to realize this, and realization is the first step to me living a life of freedom.
Today I wanted to talk my internal struggles, and five things I am working on to conquer the fears in my life.
The issue with fear is that many people cling to them, because it becomes a part of who they are. I am extremely guilty of this, I must admit. This is something I will continue to work on.
1.Identify Your Fears
Be completely honest with yourself about what they are. Then be sure not to hide from them.
Write your fears down in a journal, then become an observer of them. What is happening with these fears? What are you afraid of, really?
Off the top of my head, here are a few that often hold me back in life:
- that others will judge me
- that others will criticize me
- that I will fail
- that I will realize I was never good enough
2. Practice Courage
“Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible.” – Aristotle
I will say that I have allowed my past failures to become lessons of experience. With that, it gives me courage to keep pushing forward in all aspects of my life. I just need a gentle reminder every now and then to have that courage to get out of my comfort zone … away from that wall in life.
3. Be Vulnerable
Brené Brown said: “We are afraid of letting people see who we really are and potentially exposing ourselves, so we avoid the one thing that can make us more courageous: vulnerability. Courage and vulnerability are closely aligned.”
Be unapologetically you. There are many things about me that people aren’t going to like. There are many things about me that people may not relate to. There are things I do that people won’t agree with.
Should I chameleon to fit in with the crowd, or be myself?
Unapologetically be yourself, and surround yourself with people who love you for who you are.
Putting myself out there .. raw and real … this is scary for me. It seems silly but even doing a story on Instagram or posting a selfie makes me kind of nauseated.
I told myself several months ago that if I started blogging again, I was going all in. I was putting myself out there. I want to connect with my community and share tips and knowledge regardless of my insecurities. I allowed fear to cripple me, and I allowed judgment to stop me from succeeding. When I decided to stop blogging years ago, there were many reasons, but one big one was that I couldn’t handle to criticism. I could get 85 amazing comments and 1 mean one, and that 1 would ruin my entire week. I am not saying that I am over that mindset, but I am older and wiser now and more prepared.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck has been my official self-help book!
4. Practice Gratitude
A daily gratitude practice has helped me in so many ways.
10-15-20 years ago I had a negative outlook in general. I felt the world owed me something, and I often felt sorry for myself.
What a terrible way to live.
Today, it is so much easier to relax. When negative things happen I find myself looking on the bright side or finding the blessing in the moment rather than thinking it is the end of the world and feeling sorry for myself. Having children helped me a lot, personally … now it is so easy to find gratitude. Waking up to my kids is like Christmas morning, every single day.
Sometimes we need to lose our shit first, and that’s great. It’s okay to not always be okay. Once you get past that stop dwelling, and find something to be grateful for. It really is a game changer.
5. Yoga + Meditation
Yoga has changed my life.
No, it really has.
Looking back, I feel like I was kind of asshole before I practiced yoga.
I was reactive, judgmental (mostly of myself), close-minded about many things, mentally + physically tense, and the list goes on.
Yoga has helped me to find my calm, my center.
Yoga has helped me to gain a whole new perspective of myself and of life.
Yoga has helped me to finally figure out who I am … because I went through most of my life being angry and lost.
Yoga has helped me to break through fears, it has helped me to find courage, and it has helped me to love myself more.
I feel my very best when I am practicing both yoga and meditation regularly.
If getting on your mat isn’t for you, I highly recommend finding a meditation app on your phone like headspace and challenging yourself to practice every day for a week (try it in the morning, roughly at the same time). See if you notice a difference, then keep on going!
What fears have held you back in life? How are you working on conquering them?
Have a fabulous weekend!
Be sure to catch up on The Bitchin’ Yogis Podcast on iTunes … I get REALLY vulnerable as we talk about our experiences with the supernatural in episode 6.