I'm so excited that the studio has come to be!!
We're open. We have classes. Things are happening! It's AMAZING!
Seeing this become a reality is a dream come true. And I have to admit that it feels pretty amazing to be surrounded by others who are passionate about this space and what we're creating that is so different from what has been done before.
Life feels like it's full to bursting with great things. There's been a lot of fear about making this step - and yet I couldn't be more grateful that I made it. And I couldn't have done it without my wife, Peggy, who has been so supportive and so helpful with looking at the bigger picture from a business perspective and helping to set the studio up for success. Forging new territory the way that we are comes with a lot of challenges. We don't fit the existing mold so we're making a new one. And for someone like me who likes to color inside the lines, this is no easy task!
But I'm confident that we've created and are continuing to create truly honours the Body Positivity mission: to make yoga accessible to every body.
This last weekend was the kick-off workshop in the Introduction to Body Positivity Yoga series and I have to admit that it was such a wonderful feeling seeing so many brave women taking a chance on me and what I had to offer. It's not easy getting the nerve to go do something new, in a new space and many of the students who find me and the studio come with a lot of trepidation. What if they really can't do it? Will they feel out of place or will they "fit in"? Will it really be for them?
And the best feeling in the world is the huge smiles that spontaneously erupt on their faces when they realize yes... they ARE welcome. yes... they DO fit in. yes... this space IS for them.... and yes... they CAN do it!
That is what makes it possible to push through any of my own anxiety or fear, any of my concerns about not "fitting in" in the broader yoga community, any of my fears of failure. Every single one of those smiles make it all worth while and proves that I'm doing exactly what I should be doing.
Lately, I feel as though I've been talking about things like fear and courage an awful lot.
This isn't an accident. These themes are very present in my life right now.
When I walked away from the day job to pursue my Yoga Teaching dream, I had no idea how terrifying it would be. Well, actually, I take that back. I was terrified even then. The reality is that in a million (zillion?) years, I never would have thought that I would become an entrepeneur of any variety, let alone a Yoga teacher. And yet, that's what I decided to do. Talk about facing my fears head on! Since making the decision to see how far this dream can take me, though, I've had no regrets.
To be afraid, terrified even - but still know that what you're doing is exactly what you're supposed to be doing? That's heady stuff.
But something amazing keeps happening...
Just when I am most afraid or nervous or feeling the most like a big fraud, one of my students will say something to me that will completely blow me away. I had a moment like this during my last Sunday class. One of my students got into a pose that I'm sure she never thought she could or would. It made me want to cry (happy tears) to see the huge grin on her face. I know she surprised herself in the most awesome way! All I could think about was how inspiring the whole class had been - how great it had felt to lead these powerful, beautiful women in practice. It felt like such a gift. But after the class, she gave me the greatest gift of all. She told me that one of the things she loves the most is that just when things seem really hard, she just has to look at the big smile on my face and it doesn't feel so hard any more.
It wasn't the fact that she complimented me that blew me away. It was the simple truth of her words that brought home WHY doing this is so important to me, why I am so passionate about it.
I see my students the way I want to be seen. I see them for their power and their struggles and their beauty and their triumphs and even their sorrows. I see their vulnerability and their grief and I see their fear and all of it is reflected in my own life, my own journey and I like to think that the way I teach Yoga is the way I love to feel: like a big ol' genuine affectionate hug and a whisper in your ear "You can do it. I believe in you. You're amazing!"
I worry sometimes that my random squeals of delight and pride halfway through my class might put people off. That when I stop and clap my hands and excitedly say "LOOK AT YOU! This is AWESOME!" that maybe it's not quite the "yoga vibe" that people expect... But it's who I am.
And as the quote above so eloquently says... it is not my job to worry whether people like me or not. It is my job to be there for them. For you. For the people who are coming to me for whatever it is they get from the class. Whether it's physical, spiritual, emotional, more, or all of the above.
And no matter how scared I get. It is those moments that I absolutely live and breathe this Yoga for. The moments when I am reminded that somehow, in some small way, I can make a difference. I can make someone feel seen... heard... accepted.... even loved.
That is what makes it easy to face any fear that may come up, any insecurity. You. All of you. Thank you for being so freaking amazing.
See you on the mat!
So often, we go through this world hearing, seeing, and believing the messages other people or entities tell us about ourselves. Sometimes we get so lost in this fog of perception that we can’t see through it to what is real and true for ourselves.
I recently had the great privilege of working with a student who had never done Yoga before and wasn’t sure she could. But, she was willing to try anyway. Well, willing isn’t the right word exactly. She was actually EXCITED to try. That, alone, was pretty amazing if you ask me.
The entire practice we did together was beautiful and inspiring from the very first moment until the very last.
But, it wasn’t that she could do the Yoga that was inspiring and moving – I never had the slightest doubt that she could do it. Everyone can! The Yoga you do may look a little different from the Yoga I do which may look a little different than the Yoga my next door neighbor does – but it’s all Yoga and neither is better or worse or more or less real.
So it was not watching her flow easily into every pose that was so inspiring. What moved me almost to tears was how she gave herself over completely to the experience in a completely open-hearted way.
I’m not saying she wasn’t nervous or afraid or resistant or hesitant. She may have been some or all of those things. But if she was, she did not let any of those feelings get in the way of her having a complete experience.
That was what was so powerful about working with her.
So many times in my life, I have found myself hesitating or avoiding doing something that I know I would enjoy because I wasn’t sure I could. And each time I have pushed past that moment, I’ve been totally amazed by the results. But sometimes my fear or hesitancy or resistance interferes with my ability to reap the most possible benefit from these moments. When I try something the first time in a cautious, careful manner – I'm not quite fully committing to the entire experience. I'm robbing myself of some of the joy and wonder I might find in it.
Once again, in another way, I am taught that with the biggest risks, with the most vulnerability, with the greatest openness, we receive the greatest gifts, the biggest ah ha moments, the most sensational wows. These are the moments we can be truly amazed by ourselves.
That’s what’s available to you, if you can look past the fear and hesitancy, the self-judgment and doubt!
Here’s your challenge: Take some time this week, and find a way that you can do this… that you can open up more fully to a new experience. Give yourself the gift of being totally amazed by yourself. Don't forget to report back in the comments about what you did to totally wow yourself!