This week I substituted a few yoga classes for my teacher, who has been teaching Iyengar yoga for years and has a loyal following of students very committed to their practice. Though I have practiced this style for a few years, I am not trained to teach Iyengar yoga.
I always get nervous trying to fill someone else's shoes, so I try to manage the student's expectations by essentially communicating that I don't intend to fill our teacher's shoes, but to stand in my own shoes beside hers.
What I failed to manage well was my own expectations. I woke up tired today and wasn't entirely in the mood to teach. So I spent some time preparing myself mentally, centering and visualising a wonderfully flowing class.
Partway through the 2 hour class, when the students were face down in child's pose, I let this thought pop into my head: "this isn't going as well as I had hoped." The vibe in the room didn't feel as I had envisioned it would. I kept going, modifying the plan a bit, but still not able to shake off the feeling of self doubt.
At the end of the class, several people came up to me to tell me what a great class it was. I was so surprised! Surprised that my experience as a teacher had been so different than theirs as students. And surprised that I had let myself be a victim of my own expectations.
And so I learned. Stop judging myself. Get out of my own drama. Visualise the perfect scenario but then let go, rather than forming it into an expectation. Just be and let be.
Yoga can hold up a mirror, and we can learn so much when we look into it with curiosity rather than judgement.
From where do you draw inspiration? One of my favorite things is to listen to podcasts or YouTube videos instead of radio while cooking, driving or doing laundry.
And @brenebrown is one of my fave people to listen to. She always has something interesting to say. Always on point. Tonight's cooking companion was Brené talking about dealing with criticism. So worth listening to! 💗
My Mom died 20 months ago today. She was my closest confidant, my cheerleader, my advisor – my ROCK.
Grief has dragged my heart through the depths of despair; I questioned if life will ever feel meaningful or whole again. I had phases where dark and heavy thoughts invaded my mind, making it difficult to feel any joy or enthusiasm for all the goodness in my life.
I was fully aware at the time that I would eventually flow through these states of negativity. I could see there was light at the end of the tunnel, but just didn’t know how to get there. I learned to let myself be guided rather than trying to forcefully forge a path.
And then just an intensely, I had breakthroughs that lifted me to new heights after each low, as if I were in a rainbow-coloured hot air balloon that kept rising up to the infinite possibilities in this life.
When I am in that beautiful balloon, I am full of motivation, energy and joy. I fully take advantage of that drive to move projects forward, to appreciate the everyday with my family and to tend to meaningful friendships. I refocus on health and put more soul into my yoga and meditation practice.
That is, until something shifts again and I find myself back in choppy waters.
This dance between extremes has become my new normal, and I am oddly okay with that. I am okay with crying, okay with feeling immense gratitude, okay with putting myself out there and okay with retreating.
Everyone is struggling with something, no matter how big or small, how old the scar or how new.
Imagine if instead of only sharing the shiniest parts of our lives, we could inspire and support others by being authentic, open and imperfect? Imagine if when we met people we changed our response to “how are you” from the standard “good/fine” to “things are shitty today”. Imagine if instead of receiving pity or unsolicited advice, we received words of empathy or just a heartwarming hug?
Today was a shitty day. But tomorrow is another chance to wake up and see the sunshine through fresh eyes.
It's okay to not be okay.
My mind has been on overdrive the past few days. Monkey mind as the Buddhists call it, jumping from one thought to another to another. Ever experience that?
When my mind is wavering like this and I start having food cravings and then find myself going to bed ridiculously late for no good reason, I know this is a sign that something is brewing deep inside.
Despite this awareness, it is rarely crystal clear what is going on within. It feels unsettling, irritating and completely draining. And I have learned that this is okay.
Resistance to what is only makes it harder in the long run.
If we want to feel the uplifting emotions like joy, hope and awe, we also need to accept the heavier emotions that complete the full range of normal human emotions.
In the past, there were phases where this foggy state lasted for weeks or months, especially during my Mom's illness and the first year after she died. More recently, it's often a matter of hours or days until the mind and ego are tamed.
Progress, not perfection.
I have realised that, given some space, these emotions flow through or become lighter, and often culminate in a heightened level of self awareness or emotional healing.
So for now I go through the motions of what needs to be done today, enjoying some moments while struggling through many more. And as much as I accept the now as it is, I also try to redirect those self destructive habits into practices that serve this process better. Meditation, juicing, earlier bedtime (tomorrow...it is midnight as I write this😄).
I trust that at any moment my perspective could shift, putting the monkey mind down for a nap. Until the next time when I get the chance to practice again.
Can you relate?
Michelle Borner, a mom on 23 missions, blogs about her Deep Thoughts on a wide range of topics from parenting to conscious living to lessons from brain cancer.
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