March 20, 2015

Challenging our Old Limits.

yoga limits

I recently celebrated my two-year anniversary at my yoga studio, Sacred Sounds Yoga.

A dear friend and yoga teacher, that I worked with privately after my surgery, suggested I check it out. I did and I was immediately hooked.

Okay, that’s a lie. I hated it at first.

I took a Yin Yoga class and couldn’t bear to stay in any one position for several minutes. It was excruciating and I was all up in my head.

Lesson learned, I decided to pay closer attention to the descriptions of the classes on the website and try out a different class. Candlelight yoga, after a long workday sounded great. I instantly connected with the teacher, loved the vibe of the class and felt fantastic.

I remained in the back left corner of the classroom and watched all the students practicing, all of whom seemed to be much better than I was. I was a bit fixated on the fact that they could do crow, side plank, headstands and tree pose. There was a sense of defeat knowing that the best that I could do was to go into child’s pose or I’d stare at them with extreme jealousy.

I got myself into the routine of practicing at the studio—and over the course of time I found lots of familiar faces between staff, teachers and students. I loved the vibe and had no interest in leaving and exploring elsewhere.

After several months, I moved up to the front row. No matter how many people were in the class, I would always situate myself left of center while facing the teacher and alter.

I decided it was time to stop judging myself, focusing on where everyone else was at and be okay with where I was on the given day, in the present moment.

If I couldn’t do a pose, I couldn’t do a pose.

There was nobody there to tell me I was doing something wrong. What I value about this studio and its teachers, is how we’re reminded to choose our own adventure. I take vinyasa style classes yet I hate doing chaturanga and it hurts my back. I realized it didn’t matter because my body and I were happy to stay in down dog or go into child’s pose when necessary.

“Personal growth is not a matter of learning new information but of unlearning old limits.”

~ Alan Cohen

While several friends of mine have been using their “class passes” recently, I’ve been a little curious about exploring some other studios. I talked about going to one studio near my apartment for a good six months and even looked at specific classes I’d go to.

Still, I never took the plunge. I was comfortable at my studio and with my teachers.

One of my favorite teachers, whose class I went to twice a week, was away for a month and it completely threw off my schedule.

I was absolutely rejecting change and refused to go to the substitute’s class or a different class at another time.

I was afraid of the unknown. I was uncomfortable with an unfamiliar teacher who didn’t know my story, who didn’t know me and who might have had an approach that was not my style. I have a bond with my teachers and was rejecting opening myself up to trying a new one.

I had chosen to refrain from going to classes because my teacher wasn’t there and because I wasn’t willing to try someone new.

One Saturday, I woke up after a tough week of fighting myself to be more productive and realized I needed yoga.

My body was asking for it and I needed to give it what it deserved. I went into the studio, asked the front desk staff how the substitute was and they noted that they hadn’t taken her class yet. I did all that I could to be open-minded because my body (and my mind) were jonesing for a class.

Let me tell you. I found a new teacher I love.

I loved her vibe, her class, the music and how I felt—phenomenal. Once we wrapped, I went to chat with her and expressed how cynical I had been prior to the class.

Her response to me was, “You’ve missed my classes the past two weeks.” and I thought, what a silly judgment I had made. I chose not to give her a chance and just wanted my regular teacher back.

My friends lovingly mock me for walking 20 blocks to go to a yoga class when there are at least five studios within four blocks from me, but I don’t plan on leaving this studio anytime soon. It’s become a second home to me, with amazing people that have created a sacred space for me to practice.

I am a big believer that when I find something I love and are passionate about, I should hold onto it—a teacher or class, an article of clothing or a book.

But sometimes getting out of our comfort zone can help us grow and release old limitations that we have held onto.


*Relephant read:

It’s Time to Step Into the Fire.


Author: Harper Spero 

Apprentice Editor:Renee Jahnke/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Image: courtesy of the author

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Carl Mar 21, 2015 5:16pm

If nothing else trying the occasional new class or studio will give you new perspective on what you love.
Then sometimes you get lucky like you did with that class.

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Harper Spero

Harper Spero is a certified professional coach (CPC) and graduate of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) who has spent the past ten years leveraging brands through marketing, public relations, event production, and digital media. Her previous clients have included corporate heavyweights such as Johnson & Johnson, Disney and Ann Taylor as well as leading nonprofits such as the David Lynch Foundation, Headstrong Project and Bent on Learning, among others. Since 2010 Harper has worked with small business owners and individuals with a focus on communications. Today she uses her own journey in health and well-being to inspire, motivate and drive people in the direction of their dreams through one-on-one lifestyle management coaching. Catch up with Harper on her website, facebook, Twitter and Instagram.