What I've learned over a decade of Yoga studio ownership.
Trust is a Tricky Thing
I don't always trust myself.
I love being up high and looking down. I like to climb mountains, ride the gondola, bungee jump, fly in planes, etc. On stable ground, I feel great. If I have to balance on the edge or jump down, I get scared. I have a fear of falling; of failure. For some reason, I keep climbing, though. I keep going even though I know I may eventually have to balance, jump, or fall off in failure.
This is the life of an entrepreneur. I keep trying, climbing, struggling, reaching, and growing. Sometimes I get to stand on top, feeling proud of my accomplishments, and look down upon where I was. Sometimes, I fail. In the moments when I am succeeding, I trust myself. I follow my gut and my dreams. When I fail, I doubt myself. I worry that I'm no good. I consider quitting. . .I never do, though.
It's All Yoga
I'm no Yoga master. I'm doing the best I can and learning as I go. I keep practicing. As I do, I keep learning more about myself. Then, I share what I have learned with those who share the practice. I do my best to articulate how the practices of Yoga help me as an individual, a teacher, and a business owner.
I remember when I first began developing strength and skill in Asana. It was very exciting because I was attending classes at the gym and my teachers seemed to like me. They were encouraging and supportive as I developed my skills. I recall practicing sirsasana. I would try it everywhere I could; at first with a wall and then on soft surfaces. Once I was able to access the posture I started performing it everywhere. I felt strong, balanced and trusting in my own body.
I could have stopped with sirsasana, but I didn't. I kept wanting to learn more, to be better. I continued to practice and develop new skills both physical and deeper. Over time, I have moved more and more inward in both study and practice. As I do so, I have learned more about myself and my interactions with the world. I have learned to be a better person and business owner.
Taking the Leap
Fear is a very strong force. It can freeze you in your tracks or force you into movement. I like to think that I am one of those people that is forced into movement. I used to allow this movement to propel me without paying attention to where I was headed. I was reactive and protective. My practice has given me the skills of observation, reflection and intentional action. Now, I realize when the movement begins and am able to choose in which direction do go.
During periods of transition, rather than becoming anxious, agitated or aggressive I try, instead to take pause and be more reflective, patient and informed. Sure, I am still afraid, sometimes don't trust myself and I know that I still stand the chance of failure. Now, instead of feeling out of control, at least I know that I am the one who chose to balance or jump down.
More Than Poses
Yoga provides us with so much more than physical prowess. The strength, balance and self awareness we develop through the practice can be generalized to every aspect of life. We can connect Vinyasa with the flow of events and learn to make better decisions. We can apply the practice of mindful focus when interacting with others and choosing to commit to something.
To practice Yoga is to change the way you feel, think and live. You may already have noticed the effects that the practice has. Beyond feeling physically healthy, you might also begin to experience your wellbeing expressing. Yoga gives us the tools to see, know and be. It applies to every aspect of life.
If you're ready to balance on the edge or take the jump. If you would like to learn to trust yourself. If you are finished being frozen by fear. Try Yoga. It might help you discover your Self. It might help you be a better person, partner, business owner, teacher, you name it.
I invite you to join me in the practice and to share how it has changed your perception of the world.
Although most of Sanskrit can seem like tongue twisters and silliness, as you learn what each word means and how it can be used, things become more interesting.
The Importance of Practice
Throughout my practice as a Yogini and then during my Yoga teacher training, my guru would talk about the balance between practice & effort (Abhyasa) and non-attachment and letting go (Vairagya). Being that my primary interest in Yoga was rooted in the physical benefits, I really didn't care if I was "letting go" of anything, I was more interested in that fancy headstand and holding Caturanga.
Be Willing to Let Go
As my practice deepened, and as I began teaching, I started to learn that if I didn't let go, then I got nothing. What I mean to say is, the more I held on to the practice and the more my focus was on having large classes and making lots of money, the fewer students I had and the more frustrated I grew.
When I opened Svadhyaya Yoga Studio, I had so many other things on my plate that all I could do when it came time to teach was allow my passion to flow outward to my students. I would have classes of 0, 1 or maybe 2 students. I got to know them well and their dedication to the practice was a reflection of mine.
Practice to Grow
Now, almost two years down the road, I continue to be driven by the practice and I try my best to let go of the results. It's very difficult, and it's sometimes a challenge to walk the line between what I want and what I need.
Abhyasa and Vairagya are so important because we have to constantly be practicing in order to grow. We have to always be letting go of the old growth so that we can become new. Just as the snake must shed it's skin, so must we be able to let go of the past and move foward.