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November 10, 2019

Why we should never Ignore an Opportunity to Expand our Heart.

Recently, I had a “full circle” moment.

You know, that feeling when you make your way back around to something you began years before, when you were a different version of yourself?

I taught at the yoga studio in New York City where I did my yoga teacher training. On the train ride to the city, I glanced at something that read, “do one thing a day that scares you.” I understood.

I spent the day exploring in beautiful Central Park before heading to the yoga studio in Soho. I knew I was out of my comfort zone when I felt nervous walking into the studio.

As the large room with big windows slowly filled up, I felt old fears and doubts, a flashback to teacher training, and I wondered why the heck I had agreed to teach for a “rockstar” who teaches a super advanced class. I did not feel like a teacher with nearly eight years of experience; instead I felt like a frightened little girl.

The opening meditation was as much for me as it was for the students. I breathed through my nerves; I actually felt my fear. It has taken me many years to understand how to do this. It felt good. I knew I was in control.

The class went well (really well!), the students were gracious and unbelievably strong (in mind and body), and I actually had fun. Afterward, I felt in my whole body that I had conquered my fears.

For most of my life, and especially when I was young, I struggled with debilitating fears of speaking in front of people, even to a small group of people. I was fearful of being seen and heard and, mostly, of messing up, so I withdrew and made myself invisible. Teaching yoga, for this reason, has been, let’s say, a journey for me.

At my home studio where I teach weekly classes, I sometime pause, looking around at the 30-plus students filling the room (this used to feel like an auditorium to me) in awe and wonder. I am doing it. I am here. And, not only am I here, but even more astounding is that I feel connected to these students and so grateful to them. This feeling of connection is what has healed my heart over the past decade.

I genuinely understand now that “the only way out is through.” If we don’t challenge ourselves by moving out of comfort (a.k.a. stagnation) and feel our fear and doubt (and do it anyway), we will feel frustrated and angry and not understand why. I am, in some ways, so attached to comfort and, yet, I know comfort also makes me feel stuck and unhappy. The feeling of growth is truly priceless; I can’t even put it into words except that it feels expansive in my heart.

If there’s something you are thinking of doing but feel scared, I am here to say, you can do it!

Take it from a fellow scaredy-cat: the only way out is through.

 

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author: Nicole Alexander

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Editor: Catherine Monkman