Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stronger, on the Inside...

Is there something you know you can do- not necessarily as a pro- but at some level, you know what you are doing?- Like maybe you can sing, rock climb, dance, paint or even practice yoga asana (poses)- but when it comes time to take it to the next level, have you been you dismayed at the next level NOT being everything you thought it might be?

Challenge is a great thing... getting out of your comfort zone can be a blast- but what if while accepting a challenge, or mingling on the outer limits of your 'comfort zone'- you stumble, fall and make a fool of yourself.... Or worse yet, jump into a flaming hoop of fire, only to realize you are giving it your all, but it appears like nothing is happening at all?

Do you know what I mean? Like, you know you love dancing. You have danced for years at night clubs, and in front of your friends etc. Finally for the first time in your life- you gather the courage to dance in the middle of a circle of people on a dance floor, and your moves and grooves just aint flyin'.. or you end up not being able to feel the music.

Or maybe after dancing your whole life, wether professionally or at the clubs, you attend a Zumba class for the very first time, you feel cocky, as if your gonna get these moves down easily- but you can hardly repeat any movements the teacher is demonstrating...

Or maybe you've been a runner for years and decide to run in a marathon- expecting to maybe hit the finish line with some kind of a decent time, but end up finishing last.

This leads to a story I want to tell you. Remember the post entitled Fear is Exactly Where I Need to Be? In it I share about a new yoga teacher coming into my life and how scared I am to be her student because I know she will kick my ass. Well as it turns out, my new teacher is amazing and I feel totally safe and expansive in her presence. Don't get me wrong, she still kicks my ass! Yoga students can tell a difference in the classes I share, and so can I. My personal practice is moving into a new level of 'experience' and wisdom- ahhh. The tricky thing is; after practicing yoga asana for over twenty years, and upon attending a Handstand workshop with my new beloved teacher, I felt miserably humbled.

Okay, lets check the ego at the door.. For sure. That said- I thought I would have fun, learn new ways to approach the 'handstand pose' with my new teacher- and maybe even kick up into some Handstands. I was super excited to be in her presence and do some dynamic yoga stuff... But NO. No Handstand for me. We learned anatomical awareness- which is important. And a bunch of 'drills' to prep us for handstand. What I learned, or had a very hard time learning, took me completely out of my comfort zone. I could not understand what was presented- the information was so new to my brain and body, it was like listening to a foreign language. I had no idea how to process it, never mind understand it. I got frustrated at not being able to do half of the drills. With fifty or so students participating, I glance around and see other yogis (not even yoga teacher yogis) taking off- into ascension, their legs lifting elegantly and silently up to the sky, while my feet remain firmly grounded to the Earth. They did not grunt or breathe heavily, while I remain bent forward , breaking a sweat and making no 'movement' at all! In a  frustrated moment- I actually found myself looking at the clock, wanting to leave. I felt embarrassed and hoped no one knew I was a yoga teacher.

Ughhhh.... My ego is blunted due to expectations of body and mind. As a yoga teacher of over twenty years, I assume to be able to do at least some of the stuff being taught, and while I'm at it- show my new teacher how talented I am (ego). But instead my butt is left in the dust, feeling heavy, with no levitation activation!

Driving home I am super aware of all the feelings going on inside. In the past I would have cried my way home on the highway, beating my self up for not doing better. During the final relaxation/savasana portion of the workshop, I even had a vision of just that. But instead, there is a lack of falling tears, accompanied by a lack of self loathing and misery. The disappointing thing for my ego was that I know how to kick up into handstand in at least three ways, but my teacher was not showing us how 'kick up'. She taught us a very different approach to 'lifting off' into a zero gravity zone, one that my booty had never been challenged by before. While I underwent an ego adjustment at the workshop for sure, and I was not the happiest camper afterwards- I definitely felt a different energy consume me. It was not the usual depression or self hate. It was a new sensation I could not identify at first.

After a good nights sleep, I awoke with aching muscles I never knew I had. This was a sign that I had indeed pushed myself into new territory. Though it looked like I was not even 'trying' at the workshop, a new mapping of muscle and mind was taking place. I realized how hard I was on myself and my body. I placed so many expectations upon myself, that when nothing happened the way I presumed it would, my ego came crashing down. It's a good thing. We all need some gravity to keep us in check. besides, if everything was a breeze, and easy 'to get'- there would be no challenge, no growth.

All in all, There is a humbling awareness that has permeated my being, allowing me to rest in the innocence of always being a student, even while being a teacher. The new sensation I could not identify was a new founded inner strength I never felt before. All of the positive affirmations, practices of self love and acceptance have actually taken root as reality- inside of my body and mind- AND emotional responses and reactions! This is huge... Indeed, I am stronger now than ever before. In the past I would have been crushed at not being able to do any of the physical drills of the workshop. I would have cried myself to sleep and beat my body up about it with negative thoughts. Not anymore. I sucked it up, and instead gave myself a pat on the back for trying something new and applauded my body for going WAY out into a very uncomfortable zone, where gravity appears to be even heavier ( to me, for now..) than here on Earth.

So if you dare to jump into the middle ring of dancers at the club and don't exactly perform a Beyonce sequence, or go to Zumba and fumble your way through, or run a marathon and get to finish line last- the most important thing is you are LIVING, ALIVE and challenging yourself in new ways. After all- you have taken the first step to a new world.. One where you will find things out about yourself you never knew.. like just how strong you are..

Yes, emotionally and mentally I am stronger on the inside.. even if my body has yet to catch up with my emotional and mental strength.. I am stronger on the inside now. You are stronger now too. Self acceptance is a gift of the highest order.. use it lovingly and generously...<3

Tuesday May

I am not a certified nutritionist, doctor or therapist. 
Please consult your healthcare professional before participating in any
 lifestyle changes you may feel are questionable to your health. 
I am not responsible for any action you resume, You are- Make it pleasurable.
© Tuesday May Thomas 2013

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