And So It Begins

{Photo Credit :: Making Stuff and Doing Things}

As I mentioned earlier, for the next five months I will be spending every other weekend immersed in a yoga teacher training program. Today marks the completion of weekend number one.

I embarked on this adventure scared, trepidatious, unsure of what to expect, excited for whatever was to come, and somehow confident that this particular adventure was exactly the path I needed to take right now. With weekend number one complete, I already feel less fear (sorta … more on that below) and an even stronger sense of confidence in myself and my ability to rise to this challenge. Already I feel changed and we have barely left the starting gate. (Pretty cool feeling!)

Oh yeah, that fear thing…

Today at the start of practice we did an exercise that involved finding our own voice and speaking our truth. It was designed to get us to verbalize our inner voice, something which I find to be extremely uncomfortable. In fact, it was the first thing we did during teacher training that really pushed my buttons.

When our illustrious leader announced what we would be doing, my immediate reaction was:

GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE.

Seriously, I thought about leaving. I made it through two days, I rationalized, that’s not bad … right? Then I got angry at my teacher: “how dare she make us do something so uncomfortable?”, I thought. Then I got upset at myself: “how can someone who is so outspoken on behalf of others become mute every time she is asked to speak for herself?” Then I fantasized some more about leaving, just running away from the room, the program, yoga, myself, all of it.

Then a strange thing happened … I started speaking. Not loudly, not clearly, and I certainly wasn’t saying anything profound, but I was speaking. Just like that, doing something that terrified me. We continued the exercise for what felt like ages (probably more like 5 minutes). Speaking didn’t get any easier and I didn’t progress from the barely audible whisper that I started with, but I kept doing it anyway.

Baby Steps

When I had a moment to reflect, after the intensity of this experience had dissipated a bit, a few thoughts came to mind:

  • I signed up for teacher training because I wanted growth, but growth doesn’t come from doing what is comfortable; growth — whether emotional growth or growth in a physical pose — comes from meeting our edge, becoming used to how that edge feels, then slowly finding a little more space to move towards a new deeper edge.
  • Fear morphs, changes shape, and melts away as we sit with it. Sometimes just by giving yourself a bit of time to pause and feel whatever it is you need to feel (anger, frustration, fight/flight, sadness, etc.), you might find that a new deeper edge becomes accessible.
  • The story I tell myself about “not having a voice” is not exactly 100% true. It wasn’t a loud voice and it wasn’t a comfortable experience, but I did manage to speak on behalf of myself. Maybe it’s time to start reexamining that old story.

And, just like that, teacher training has officially begun.

20 comments

  1. Hello, I am a first time visitor to your blog, I found you via Domesticali. This post really resonated with me, I started yoga last September but stopped going because I felt bad that I wasn’t good enough, the stuff I was being asked to do made me feel uncomfortable and my courage failed me. So, I will try to find another class, one for absolute beginners, not just people who go to a beginners class but can stand on their heads unaided for 5 minutes (why do people do that?!) I will not get more flexible sitting on my backside staring at a computer… Thank you.

    1. I’m so glad you found my blog and that it inspired you to give yoga another try. I have found the practice to be so transformational both on and off the mat! I hope you’re able to find a studio or place to practice in your area where you feel comfortable starting right where you are and seeing what happens. xo

  2. Hi! I just started following your blog (I found it on “Freshly Pressed”) and I’m glad I did! I’ve been feeling the fear myself lately and I’m searching for the strength to venture into the unknown. The part about your reflections was a great reminder for me about how to handle what I’ve been feeling lately. We have in common the fact that we will be/are making big changes in life path… In May, I’ll be off to massage school to become a massage therapist! Anyway, I’ve enjoyed your blog so far and look forward to future posts. If you’d like, stop over and check out mine… http://leavingrome.wordpress.com/
    Ciao!

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I can imagine that massage therapy school brings up a lot of similar feelings/stories as yoga teacher training… I look forward to reading about your experiences once your program begins! xo

  3. Chinese Proverb: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Keep it up!!

    1. Great reminder, thanks! :)

  4. Rebekah…you are so very beautiful. This morning I did my yin practice that usually starts my day and I added the speaking. The usual sensations were arising and then deep in my pit, I felt the fear start to bubble out because I had to go to a repeat mammogram today and I hadn’t taken even one friggin’ moment to let in how afraid I was, how much terror I had about how my life might change in a New York minute, how sad I was that I hadn’t given myself the simple gift of time to feel all this and the appointment was in an hour. The good news was that I got the all clear but the better news was that I felt the fear and didn’t die from it. In fact, I felt more alive than ever. Fear is just excitement without the breath…let’s go there together!

    1. Bella, I am SO glad to be on this journey with you. (And so glad that you got the all clear this morning.) And actually hearing your strong voice yesterday was a huge help to me … I probably would not have even whispered had you not helped in that way, so thank you. xoxo

  5. Hi Bekah,
    I just found your blog on Freshly Pressed and WOW – I LOVE IT! :) Keep it up = you have much to say and it’s so beautiful. Looking forward to following along. I too, need to “do it scared”. This is the year of many things, including living courageously. High five sista! :)

    1. High five sista is right! Thanks for checking out my blog and for your super sweet comment. Both are so so appreciated. This morning I actually had a chance to check out your blog and was really enjoying reading, so I had to follow! :)

  6. I liked this; I signed up for teacher training because I wanted growth, but growth doesn’t come from doing what is comfortable; growth — whether emotional growth or growth in a physical pose — comes from meeting our edge, becoming used to how that edge feels, then slowly finding a little more space to move towards a new deeper edge.

  7. Gina Langbehn · · Reply

    Hi Bekah!

    First of all, you are probably one of the best written bloggers I have ever come across (BTW….that takes a lot to write your heart felt words on a website displayed to all. I am for sure “doing it scared”). You do it confidently.
    Second, it is an honor and a pleasure being in this program with you and sharing this experience, but you are really raising the bar sister!! You are awesome and I am inspired to create my blog…fingers crossed! :)
    Gina

    1. Gina, I am so glad you are inspired to work on your blog – that’s what it’s all about really, sharing, connecting, being part of this crazy/scary/fun adventure together!!! I’m so excited to read what you (and everyone else) have to say…

      And yes, it is so extremely freaking scary to put this stuff out there for the world to see, but I think this quote perfectly sums up what gave me the courage: https://bekahoutsidethebox.com/2012/12/25/change. (I spent so long not talking about or dealing with the “real” stuff, that I nearly lost touch with myself completely… I’m sure we’ll get in to some of those gory details by next month! ;))

      Plus, that courage didn’t come overnight… Michelle had to endure months of “should I / shouldn’t I” emails about whether to go public with the blog or not (seriously, I don’t know how she manages to be so patient) and the night I posted the link on Facebook for the first time I nearly had a heart attack – SOO scary.

      So, really all I’m trying to say is to be super gentle on yourself, start somewhere, and know that people like me are extremely interested in hearing/reading YOUR voice… the more raw :) and authentic the better. It’s gonna be great, I already know it. xoxoxo

      1. Gina Langbehn · · Reply

        And so it begins….

  8. Bekah, I love the way you write, it is a pleasure to read your words, they are smooth like silk and so very true, I can totally relate to your message. I am glad I found your blog, I needed inspiration and here you are! Namaste

    1. Jess, wow, thank you so much for saying this. It means so much to me to know that my blog, my struggles, my sharing, has positively impacted even one other person. I have been so inspired by reading other people’s blogs (my all time favorite: http://lovewastingtime.com) that it feels really great to now be actively participating in the conversation. Namaste

      1. Thank you for recommending that blog, I had a look, so inspirational, just like yours! Namaste ♥

  9. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing yourself so openly. This is something I definitely struggle with as well. Enjoy the teacher training! I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet words!

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