This week I have had a lot of reflection. This is a long post, but feel I wanted to share.
By sharing, it is not 'telling or lecturing' but it's putting it out there in case someone else resonates and feel comfort in knowing they are not alone.
It was exactly a year ago that I completed my yoga teacher training and took my first class alongside my beautiful friend Angela.
I remember that whole mix of emotions that rolled around in my belly before the class started. Argh!! the fear! I was soooooo out of my comfort zone! Yet what I did notice was another feeling there, present that stood right up beside it, it was my sense of passion.
Looking back further, about four and half years ago, I participated in my first ever yoga class- I was bloody petrified!! It took me three attempts to finally get up those stairs to Hot Yoga in Wakefield st. If it wasn't for my friend Rachel and boss Jacqui, I'd never have done it.
I had just been through a very low point in life, it was dark, lonely and sad. I'm not special and this really isn't a sob story, but it is real and happens to a lot of us. Sometimes more than once. I can vouch for that. This time though, I had lost my ambition and confidence. I remember one day needing a pair of sunnies. I got to the shop and totally bottled it, as I was the only customer in there and couldn't face talking to the shop assistant.
I was scared to ask for help.
I knew I had to pull myself out of this and kept being told "Get out there and have a run, sign up to a gym, start a sport, join a team. Get those endorphins going, you'll be right."
You bloody kidding me?!?! I struggled to face the day let alone be surrounded by healthy go-getters.
Join a team?? I wasn't nicknamed un-co Jeffs throughout my childhood for nothing and having to laugh off being the last to be picked in P.E lessons. I stopped believing in my own ability from a young age.
Yoga appealed to me because I didn't have to join a team, I don't even have to partner up (apart from the odd workshop which still gives me heebies when I hear 'find a friend')
I could get on my mat and do my thing. No one even bloody noticed unco-Jeffs. I was surrounded by people of different age, gender, ability body type all focused on what they were doing. I was delighted to see them or the teacher wobble at times, get confused, or just about touch their knees instead of their toes.
All of a sudden I wasn't the only one.
After a few months I noticed small physical changes. This felt amazing. I wanted to practice more and more, plus if I kept it up, I was likely to look like Madonna... in another lifetime.
As my practice continued Maria (studio owner) asked me to think about teacher training...I laughed out loud.
Though after much thought, persuasion and effect of this new confidence that was growing, I thought, bugger it, this could be fun. I went in thinking there ain't a shit show I'd get up and teach after this, but I was interested to learn more about the practice and myself, as I started to feel a shift in my mindset.
I did the training which blew me away, a year on and a lot has happened.
I'd love to say I'm fearless but I'm human. Though I'm learning to look at things in a different way. It's not fear, it's nervous energy which comes back to remind me how much I care. Passion gave fear a kick up the arse and stepped in front. This year has been huge and I am constantly learning. I have remained out of my comfort zone which isn't exactly peaceful but it has guided me through different doors and feeds me this courage to say 'yep, I'll give it a go.'
I even bought sunnies!
Although I love to guide a good physical practice, to me personally, it is now a small part of my own practice.
The physical asana is wonderful and is full of benefits. I love it because it gives us an experience. We get to check in and see how the body feels. Just because I teach yoga, it doesn't mean I can much perfectly. I'm definitely not perfect in postures, or graceful... or look like Madonna yet... and you'll never see me in a bikini on Instagram. But I'm growing strength, flexibility and space from my heart.
The practice is different for everyone. Because we are different. Some days are different depending where we are in that place, at that time, in that moment. At times I love the physical, at times I love the restoration and at times I'm learning to love time with myself.
What my practice means to me now is very different to how it started out. It is now about acceptance. My time on my mat is an opportunity to meet myself. What ever that looks or feels like in that moment. It is teaching me to meet unco-Jeffs with love instead of criticim. Giving the real Jem space and time step forward. Stepping over fear, hand in hand with passion.
Accepting this is good enough.