Last weekend I qualified as a yoga teacher!
After a wonderful, sometimes bumpy and emotional but ultimately transformative and deeply fulfilling, two years’ study and in-depth practice I’m now standing at the start of a new path; the one which will lead me to what I believe is my life’s purpose: to help others to help and heal themselves through the practice of yoga.
Yet I’m finding myself faltering in taking the first step along that path.
OK, I only qualified last weekend and I need to get my insurance sorted out first etc.
But I’m finding myself thinking of excuses why I “can’t” start teaching yet.
Here’s a snapshot:
… I need to finish learning to drive so I can get to locations to teach, if I can’t drive I can’t take extra equipment with me, oh and I really need to get my employment situation sorted out so I know which days I’ll be working and which days I’ll have free to teach yoga, plus I don’t really know that many people in Southampton yet so I should get out and meet people first so I can spread news about my class by word of mouth, and not forgetting I’ll need a website, a new email address, maybe a dedicated mobile number plus business cards and fliers…
The list goes on.
But deep down, I know these are just excuses. So why am I making them?
Because I’m scared.
Change is scary
I’m being totally honest here. It’s scary to be taking the first step down a path you have dreamed of, planned for, studied for, for years. What if I can’t find a location? What if nobody turns up at my class? What if people don’t like my style of teaching? What if I find I can’t teach after all?
It is scary to follow your dreams, to start to live the life you feel is authentic, to live to your highest potential. Many of us (myself included) can get comfortable in the life we don’t really want. We get used to complaining about it to ourselves and our friends and family, we get used to feeling unfulfilled and ultimately unhappy. We internalize this and it becomes part of our self-image.
So actually to be in a position where you can change your life – you are changing your life – can lead to feelings of fear and panic because it’s all new and it’s all change.
Say hello to the fear
So what’s the first step you can take to deal with this?
Acknowledge the fear with honesty and without judgment. It’s easy to get harsh with yourself and tell yourself you shouldn’t be feeling like this (hey, I’ve just qualified as a yoga teacher, shouldn’t I be all zen and serene?!). Be gentle with yourself. Be accepting.
Acknowledge the fears and then let them go and move forward. Connect with the positive experiences, feelings and thoughts you have.
When I stood on my mat to teach an hour’s class for my assessment last weekend, I felt at home. I was nervous beforehand, but as soon as I stood on the mat and started the class it felt the most natural thing in the world for me to be doing. And that’s what I felt when I helped out teaching some classes last year.
The choice is yours
So, it’s about choice. Which voice do I choose to follow? The fearful instinct which will hold me back and is based on what ifs and making excuses? Or the voice of my heart which tells me that I’m doing what I need to be doing and all will be well if I trust myself and trust that the right path will unfold before me.
Fear is natural. We all experience it. The trick is to keep going, acknowledge the fear but listen to the voice of your heart and act from a place of love and courage rather than fear and anxiety.
So what shall I do?
So what am I going to do next? I’ll gently acknowledge my fears and face them. And as for those excuses, well yes, there are practical things I need to get sorted but these are to help me to run successful yoga classes, not prevent me from starting in the first place!
I’ll get my insurance sorted out and find a location to start my first class. Just one for now. No excuses! And no self-judgment.
All I need is my mat, my lesson plan and my love of yoga. And a trust that people who need what I can offer will find me. The driving lessons, the finding a job, the meeting people, the website – they can follow.
And I’ve got a huge smile on my face now as a truth begins to settle into my body, mind and feelings.
My new reality has dawned: I am a yoga teacher. YES!