Self-Doubt, the enemy of Yoga
So I have a confession to make. I am a platinum card-holding, frequent flyer, visit so much I have my own parking spot, member of the “I don’t believe in myself” club. There are so many times I doubt myself. I doubt whether I should be teaching yoga. If I should own my own studio. Am I being too traditionalist and freaking people out or is Guruji rolling over in his grave that I would have the gall to water down his method. Am I doing enough for my students or do I do too much? Should I give students more asana because I think they’re getting bored or should I wait until they’ve proven their dedication and maturity? I feel like I’m trying to maintain this impossible balance and it is exhausting AF y’all. But here’s the thing; I know the answers to all the questions. It’s my fear of how others will perceive me that paralyze me. But why? I practiced the primary series for almost a full year before I could extend my leg completely straight in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. Every day, I would come home and tell my husband my legs were too long for my arms and I would never be able to do this pose. My teacher encouraged me to keep trying, and because we do the same poses every day, I had to! One day, I said “here we go again, 5 breaths with Christince’s knee knocking into her arm.” But guess what guys, my leg went straight as an arrow! I practiced the primary series for 2 years before I was able to jump through. Again, the lower half of my body is extremely long. Imagine if you will, a baby giraffe having just been born, fumbling around trying to walk. That’s how I felt trying to navigate my legs through my arms. Then one day, it happened! I could jump through! I practiced primary series for 4 years before I even attempted or knew that I needed to drop back from Samasthiti into Urdhva Dhanurasana. I am so afraid of heights, and again, do you know how tall I am? I’m supposed to drop my head back from this high, to that low? Are you KIDDING me!!!!!! But guess what? My teacher said do it, so I did. I DID. Time and time again, Ashtanga yoga has taught me that I have the power inside me. I am capable of things my mind couldn’t even comprehend as being possible. These aren’t miracles, my body didn’t morph into some Olympic gold medal gymnast. All of these things happened because I kept trying, I showed up onto my mat, and I listened to my teacher instead of listening to my self-doubt.
So why in the world do I limit myself? Why do I doubt? Every single day, I train for these moments. I no longer allow myself to be paralyzed by the fear of perception. I hope that as a teacher and a guide, I am able to instill even a fraction of the confidence and self-empowerment I myself have experienced. Today I chose to try. My teacher knows I can, I know I can. I believe in me and I believe in you, too!