Recently, we have become more mindful of the impact of negative thoughts on self-esteem, as well as the feelings of Imposter Syndrome in our professional life.
But what I hadn’t appreciated was how commonplace these feelings seem to be. What made this apparent to me was an impromptu new moon ceremony held during the residential element of my yoga teacher training course.
We all gathered before sunset and quietly wrote down our negative thoughts and energies that we wished to bid farewell to, as well as the positive affirmations that we would welcome the new moon in with. Our negative thoughts were shared—if we wished—and burned one by one while the positive affirmations were celebrated and kept.
My perception of my fellow students, having spent a lot of time together over the past six months, was that they were all strong, courageous and confident individuals. Yet surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of us were all bidding farewell to and letting go of self-doubt, low esteem, and fears of failure or not being “enough.”
During a yoga philosophy session one of our wonderful YTT teachers, Chris Thompson, shared with us the analogy of the guard dog and the wise owl—used to simplify mindfulness. Our guard dog will always instinctively bark to try to protect us by triggering our defensive barriers, negative emotions, and fight or flight responses; whereas the owl represents the calming rationale, impulse control, and emotional intelligence—the pause before we react.
This analogy resonated well with us as we were trying to become more consciously aware of our emotions and reactions and the consequences of these on ourselves and others. Collectively, we had all made the positive steps to embark on our yoga training and deepen our knowledge, but were also forced to look inward and to recognise that we needed to take control of our guard dog.
When the bark of the guard dog tries to grind you down,
Stand firm and tall, rising up from the crown.
When there’s no visible trodden track,
Trust that the universe has your back.
Have courage, stay strong,
You’re enough, you belong.
Breathe and believe.
Author: Nikki Knight
Image: Taia Butler
Editor: Taia Butler
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Warren / Cat Monkman