I’m Noticing a Theme…
There is a word in Sanskrit, the language of yoga, abhinivesa that means fear. Fear seems to be a theme for me the last couple of days and is a huge area that trips me up on staying present, practicing equanimity, and finding the state of union in mind, body, breath and spirit that I strive for with yoga. It is one of the main things that pushes me instantly into react mode rather than observe and make calm decisions based on information. In other words, I lost my cool and moved into meltdown territory. What can I say? I’m a spiritual being having a human experience and was definitely acting very human!
It was very interesting this morning that two lessons came to me about fear from two of the most wonderful teachers I know. First, I watched a short video on-line of Erich Schiffman. He was beginning to speak to a large group and was saying how scary it was. This is a man who has been practicing yoga for 43 years and teaching for many of those years. Next, my personal teacher Jeanne Heileman sent her newsletter talking about how she put off taking a certification test* for 3 years because she was afraid that she wouldn’t pass. She finally chose to take the exam and it took her 24 days of serious work and effort to complete it.
Then they both said the exact same thing, which was what I needed to hear, that once they moved into the fear it provided them an amazing opportunity to learn and that it was valuable because without it they would have missed the learning. Erich said he learned how to be clear about his message. Jeanne said she learned where her weak areas were, which was a blessing because then she could improve them.
My fear tends to be very over reactionary. A few days ago it came to my attention that valid emails to Yoga Flirt were not coming through. Some were going to spam, some coming from our contact forms on-line weren’t going anywhere, they were just lost somewhere out in technology land. I had no idea this was happening and -even worse to me- no idea how long it has been happening. A week? A month? Since we went on-line??
My instant fear kicked in – dissatisfied or frustrated students means the end of Yoga Flirt. Very scary to me as I am so passionate about the experience for women and knowing how beneficial what we offer is. The thought that it wouldn’t survive because I did something wrong or made a mistake pretty much freaks me out. Even just writing about it right now I can feel my heart rate going up and the fear wanting to creep in.
So when I discovered the email problem I immediately began the sky is falling routine rather than stepping back to methodically find out what was happening. Thankfully, Happy Hubby is very good at staying calm when I go into meltdown mode. He suggested sending an email to everyone mentioning the problem and Sonja was awesome at doing some test emails to see what was and wasn’t coming through.
I still feel a little residual yuckiness that this problem may have left some students or potential students unhappy with Yoga Flirt and caused them to no longer want to participate. But I am also applying the lessons of my teachers and looking at what I can learn from the fear. One, I’m learning to notice what triggers me into meltdown mode so that when those things come up I can choose to act rather than react. Two, I’m working on trusting that the right things happen for the right reason. The situation with the email is not the end of Yoga Flirt, but rather an opportunity for us to improve how we communicate with our students.
I find myself in agreement with my teachers. Fear is a good thing. Fear can be very valuable when we bravely look at it, move into it and most importantly, learn the lessons it has to offer.
Practice suggestions for when you are feeling fear from Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater: “Smile” (I think that one is easy and it really works!) “Say out loud to yourself or a trusted friend, ‘I am feeling afraid.’ Your willingness to admit that you are afraid can greatly lessen fear’s grip on you.”
*Yes, all certified yoga instructors have to take an exam, depending on the level of training they may have taken multiple exams. And yes, the exams are tough!
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