When some people hear that I am a Yoga & Meditation teacher they assume a few things about my personality: I must be a chill, calm person; I must never lose my temper, and I must always be kind. Although I find these assumptions endearing they are just NOT true about me all the time.
I experience anxiety.
I do not have an anxiety disorder, but like all humans, I experience periods of anxiousness. On Saturday this past weekend I woke up feeling anxious without any good reason as to why. I felt jittery and out of control and I hadn’t even drank any coffee! After recognizing what I was feeling I used my toolbox of techniques to help relieve my mind of fictitious impending doom. It was a sunny day and the temperature was right around 40 degrees. The wind was chilly so practicing outside deterred me. I still wanted to enjoy the sun, so I set up my Restorative Yoga props in front of our sliding glass door. This area of the house gets direct sun and I wanted to be in it. I must have laid in Supported Bound Angle Pose (a restorative yoga pose) for 20 minutes. I laid there so long that our dog, Ophelia, came and curled up in my lap. When I was finished I was able to separate myself from my experience of anxiety. It no longer was a cloud over my head, but merely a cloud on the distant horizon of my now still mind.
I experience anger
Since I was a kid, I remember times when I would lose my temper. Whether it be a temper tantrum, an emotional meltdown, or a full-on blow up, I have witnessed my temper boil over. Along with these memories of anger comes the memory of the feeling that always seemed to come after: an empty, hollow feeling of shame. Losing my temper always leaves me feeling exhausted and worse off than when I started. I think this is because after allowing my emotion of anger to get the best of me and boil over, I boil over my energy and thus am left with an emptier pot. I see this energy as being wasted. Nothing was gained from blowing up and energy was certainly lost. My daily practice of Yoga & Meditation HELPS me to stay calm and aware of my emotions. When I feel my temper and when I feel it rise I use breathing techniques or chanting to help me get a grip over myself. These techniques help me to recognize that I am NOT my anger. My anger does not control me. I am master of my energy.
I can be rude.
I have a bumper sticker on my car that says “Practice Kindness”. This isn’t a sticker to remind drivers running up on my tail to slow down and be kind with their driving (although that is appreciated!). No, this sticker is a reminder to myself. I see it whenever I walk up onto my vehicle and I repeat it in my head. Kindness has been a hard thing for me to learn. Don’t misunderstand me, I am a genuinely kind person. I am empathetic and I know common courtesy, but sometimes I am a space cadet. Sometimes I am not present in what I am doing, and sometimes I don’t think about other people’s feelings. Kindness is an on going practice for me. I start by practicing kindness with myself. I speak kindly to myself, I repeat positive minded affirmations, and I forgive myself when I goof up. Practicing kindness with the world outside of myself is sometimes a challenge but a challenge that helps me to grow and to be a better version of myself.
I am human; thus, I am not perfect.
I have bad habits.
I make mistakes.
I am working on it.
All of these things I have mentioned, the “ugly” parts of myself, these are the stones that make up my yellow brick road TO yoga. A brick or two for my anxiety, a few for my ill-managed temper, and several more for all the times I have shown unkindness to others and myself. My saving grace is my ability to be aware of myself. I wanted to understand these parts of me better, I wanted to be able to control myself, understand my emotions, and most of all, I wanted to grow into a women living her best life.
You see, people’s assumptions of me as a yoga instructor doesn’t let them see me as an average human being. Simply, Yoga & Meditation is the toolbox I chose to find the answers about myself. It worked/ is working. I loved the process so much I wanted to be able to share the toolbox with others, and here we are.
I invite you to one of the classes I teach at NIP East in Mason City, Iowa held Tuesday and Thursdays from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM. Classes are $10 for members or $15 for non-members and a student rate of $7. Find out more details here.