March 4, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking.

I taught a yoga class for the first time in almost a year yesterday.

I’ve been teaching yoga for about five years, but ever since my most recent move my regular teaching and private sessions have been non-existent.

There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is that my family is now too far away to watch my small daughter while I’m away (and, quite frankly, one of the reasons I built a career around a flexible—no pun intended—job is so that I could be home with my little girl). I’m on several area sub lists, but even those opportunities often don’t coincide with when I have help.

Still, despite my years of teaching, I’m participating in a yoga teacher training and one of our requirements is co-teaching a class at the studio. Initially I was overjoyed. Then I started to over think it, like I do everything else.

I practiced more for this class than I have for any other class in my career thus far, including workshops. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always gone to class with a plan, but part of my adoration of vinyasa yoga is the ability to go with the flow (again, no pun intended).

I’m an anal type-A personality, and my mat (and my teaching time) is the time to tune in with my intuitive side; to tune into the energy of the students and of the room; to create a session that goes with this energy rather than against it, even if that means going against an original class plan.

As a teacher, this happens frequently. You walk in with something in mind (possibly a super cool power pose you’re freaking out to show your regular gang), and then everyone’s overly subdued and low key when you arrive—and you have several newbies who have never practiced yoga before. You change up your flow routine, and class rocks anyways.

However, after a year left hanging out in the pen waiting for the gate to open, I began to feel so excited that my nerves kicked in. I doubted not only my ability to teach, but sadly my desire to teach. Wow, what a dark place to be in as someone who thought for years that I’ve been one of those lucky people who lives my passion through work.

Then it hit me—I was giving my confidence and my positive outlook away.

At first I was angry with myself.

I realized, though, that staying angry and upset only served to fuel this terribly negative fire, when what I needed was to totally transform my view—and I needed to get back in touch with my optimism. Thankfully the time leading up to this actual class date allowed me the opportunity to put these realizations into practice.

My twin sister (and former, regular yoga student) came in from out of town for the class. I turned my thoughts around by looking at this upcoming weekend as my long-awaited chance to visit with her instead of looking at it as my nerve-racking date of teaching for the first time in a year. (My co-teacher was even more anxious because it would be her first time teaching live ever.)

The morning of class, I wouldn’t let anything negative into my brain—or out of my mouth.

My sister tried to talk to me about an upsetting dream she’d had overnight, and I said, “No! Stop! I can’t listen to anything bad before I teach.”

I didn’t check my email in the hours leading right up to our start time either.

I got to the studio and saw my visibly cheerful, but scared, co-teacher, and I wouldn’t let her say anything negative or nerve-related either—and you know what, my positive thinking worked.

Sure, we both put a lot of time into coordinating a kick-asana yoga routine (pun intended). Yeah, we have personalities that gel (I’m so glad I partnered with someone that I really want to become friends with). Alright, she worked her butt off practicing her queuing skills since it was her first time teaching a real class. Yet neither of us missed a beat or messed up one pose—and I still believe there’s something deeper than even hard work or luck.

It’s the power of your positive mind—your positive thoughts; your positive words. They all add up. They all matter.

Every word we speak or think adds something to the world around us—or takes something valuable away. So if you want to live in a bright, sunny place filled with love then stop thinking and verbalizing hate.

Stand up for your beliefs, and stand up for your right and your ability to make a change in our world—one word, one thought at a time.

Like elephant yoga on facebook.

Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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