I am imperfect, but I am perfectly me.March is my birthday month so I thought I would speak to the gift yoga has given me.
Pre 200 hour yoga teacher training, I was insecure about pretty much everything. Talking in front of a group of people scared the living $hitt out of me! Leading a group of people in anything was way out of my comfort zone. I had a false belief system that I was not good enough, especially compared to others. I took on this belief system as though it was the truth. No one specifically ever told me I wasn’t good enough, but unspoken words from childhood led me on this dangerous path of self-deprecation.
Asanas (postures), meditation, and self-inquiry are the perfect concoction for self-healing. Intertwined together they perform magic on the body, mind, and spirit. And they have helped me find my voice and access to self-confidence.
Asanas have not only made my body strong and flexible, they have given me the confidence to believe that anything is possible. The goal of the asana teaches us that even when the posture is hard—and when we want to give up—we can breathe through the resistance and find strength and ease. Asana teaches me day in and day out to face my fears, whether it’s balancing on my hands in crow or falling back into wheel. To trust in my gut and my body to do things I once would have deemed impossible.
Self-inquiry gave me the knowledge of a false truth. In the style of yoga I practice, we call it the ‘lie’. The lie that I am ‘not enough’. It seems so ridiculous when I now say it aloud. But for the majority of my life that I can recall, I truly believed this as true. That nothing I could do or say would ever be enough. As long as this story ran my life, it’s no wonder my self-confidence was nil. During my Level 1 training, through challenging self-inquiry exercises, I was able to unfold this lie. Baron had me stand in front of 150 people and I thought I was going to shit in my pants. The panic and anxiety was overwhelming—speaking about myself in front of a room of strangers about my very personal life. After what seemed like an hour of grueling questions, I was allowed to sit down and a huge sense of relief washed over me. I can’t explain exactly what happened that day. All I know is from that point on, things began to shift. I started to notice my lie all the time. Sometimes I could acknowledge it and let the emotions pass through me. Other times not so easily. Now, almost 7 years later, it still comes up here and there, but it is very weak and has much less power over me and my thoughts.
There is an old Cherokee story about a good wolf and a bad wolf. The good wolf represents kindness, love, and compassion; and the bad wolf symbolizes anger, fear, sorrow, regret, and greed. A young boy asks his grandfather which wolf wins in the battle. The grandfather simply answers “the one that you feed.” This story is a good reminder to each of us that what we believe—what thoughts we feed in our mind—are the ones that win. As I began to recognize my lie, I was able to stop feeding the lie, and it has grown weak.
Meditation is the third ingredient in my journey. It provides daily awareness of my thoughts for that moment of time. It helps me to be more aware of my own negative self talk, unnecessary negative thinking, useless worrying. It provides a place of grounding to keep me on the right path.
For me, the key to confidence is a continuous exploration of self-love and personal growth. Confidence has given me the power to create a life I am proud of. A life filled with joy, love, and compassion. And the tools to run a successful business, and to help others find their inner voice. This is the greatest gift yoga could have ever given me, as it is the gift that keeps giving every day.