During the course of my career as a therapist, I've found myself continually frustrated because I want more for my clients. I want them to experience a whole (mind, body, spirit) experience; achieving this is few and far between with traditional talk therapy. Talk therapy is an imperative part of the process, but it has inherent limitations. This is something I feel not only with my clients but in my own experiences.
Yoga has been in my vocabulary for the duration of my life. My almost 100 year old grandfather practiced it every morning. My father taught me breathing techniques when I was a child. I've tried it sporadically over the years and knew a few colleagues who utilized it in their therapy practices, but I never did more than dip my foot in. I felt afraid for so many reasons.
My age was one of them. I'm 38 and am a pretty well established therapist. I went through years of schooling and spent a lot of money to get to where I am today. I struggled with feeling too old and too invested to start something new.
I'm not a yogi. In my mind I had to be a yogi to start yoga. Doesn't make sense, right? Well to my perfectionist brain it made perfect sense; you have to be the best at yoga to start yoga.
I don't look like those girls on Instagram. You know which girls I'm talking about, the ones with the perfectly proportioned bodies doing those incredible poses (which you secretly attempt at home and then need your husband's assistance to dismantle yourself from). I never paid much attention to my body growing up, but now that I'm getting older and have given birth to two children, I'm more focused on the changes. I'm working on aging gracefully and fully accepting my flaws, but social media and the human tendency to compare makes it incredibly hard to do so.
The most important part of my hesitation was that I wasn't clear on my intention. I've learned over the years that your intention always has to be clear or at the very least come from a pure place. When your ego has an intention you can guarantee it's going to steer you wrong. I wasn't sure if I was trying to prove something to myself, or if I truly believed in the power of yoga. I look back now and know that the origin of my intention wasn't ego based, but the aforementioned fears were holding me back.
It wasn't until I found my yoga tribe, this year, that I was able to find my fearlessness. I use the word fearlessness because that's what it really took for me to dive in. I saw so many young people around me not hesitating once about what they were pursuing, not using age as a limitation, not worrying about the way their bodies looked, not attempting to be the perfect Yogi. I wish someone would have given me the following suggestions when I first started my Yoga journey:
1. Be fearless- don't let fear burn you... let it burn a fire in you.
2. Be a racehorse- I was watching "The Defiant Ones" on HBO the other night and Jimmy Iovine said that racehorses are blind folded so they don't see what's happening around them, they just go. So just go!! Don't think about how you will look compared to your neighbor or what the person in front of you is doing. Just go! Live!
3. What's your end goal? -trick question! There is no end goal. Go for the experience and dwell in it, breathe, and enjoy your Yoga journey, or whatever new endeavor your heart desires, every step of the way!