One of my favorite things to do on vacation (which I’m on right now in Asheville, North Carolina!) is to go to different yoga studios. I don’t care what style they teach or what type of class is being offered, if it fits my schedule, I’m there. Today I dropped in for a Power Flow class at Go Yoga in Downtown Asheville. I got there a little late and had to rush a bit but eventually found my groove.
Without fail my mind quickly starts to run the familiar scenario of me wanting to introduce myself to the instructor after class and let her know that I’m a visiting yoga teacher. I love connecting with people and learning from each other. However, once the class gets going, the doubts start to creep in. My internal dialogue quickly turns negative… ‘I wonder if my arms look big in this shirt?’ ‘I should sink lower in this pose to really show my strength, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t even mention that I teach?’ 'She looks so skinny and toned.'
And so on and so on. I have to remind myself that it’s not about me but about the practice and my personal time on the yoga mat. None of that is happening when I'm fantasizing what someone else may be thinking about me.
I wanted to write about this because I’m sure a lot of you experience similar feelings when in a yoga class. You pay attention to the person beside you who can touch their toes or get into a hard pose or maybe they're super fit and you don't feel like you belong. Of course, paying attention to someone else won’t help with your personal growth. It won’t help with your expansion of consciousness. It won’t even help you touch your toes.
We all have insecurities. We all have doubts. But learning to recognize the brain chatter helps to refocus your mind on what’s important. As the negative thoughts flooded my mind, I began to breathe deeper and pay attention to micro moves in my body. If we were folding forward, I tried to connect every single toe to the mat. If we were in child’s pose, I breathed through my lower back and relaxed my hands and shoulders. I brought the energy to my breath and let it release through my body.
Eventually during every yoga practice I get to that settled place of feeling comfortable in my body and mind. We all come in different shapes, sizes and flavors and that uniqueness is what makes us special. It’s natural to feel like you should fit into a certain mold to be worthy of a situation but it simply isn’t true. Next time you start to hear your internal dialogue nipping at your confidence, recognize it and keep it moving.