Musing 2– The Tricky Balance of Staying True to Yourself Whilst Keeping an Open Mind (or ‘The Dangers of Being an Over-Empathiser’)
So, here’s the second instalment of my gripping yoga musings (ahem)… As already stated, I had a brilliant week at my yoga course last week. But it was an interesting week too, partly because, since I had booked onto the course, the trainer’s approach to yoga had diverged from mine significantly, exacerbated by the fact mine had also gone off on a bit of a new tangent on my travels. So, whilst I had been exploring the more subtle aspects such as meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques), the trainer had been moving towards removing all spiritualism from his practice and teaching or, as he said, ‘taking the om out of yoga’. Instead, the focus was on the mechanics of the physical practice.
It was a good reminder that yoga means something different to everyone, and that’s a GOOD thing. We’re all on a path, and yoga might be a part of that, but there has to be open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance of other paths. The most important thing is staying true to yourself; tuning into your own convictions and beliefs, and trusting them. Sometimes that can be difficult, especially if you’re an overly empathetic person such as myself.
My world is often a confusing one, as I hold so many other people’s stories and opinions in my head, clamouring for attention. In the past my own story has sometimes been drowned out, and eventually has gone hoarse from shouting and become stubbornly mute. It has only been over the last year or so that I’ve picked up on my own story again. It had become so quiet that it almost felt like an irritant; I didn’t trust it, didn’t listen to it, brushed it away. Then I wondered why I felt so frustrated.
I finally realised that, even with all the empathy in the world, the only way I could ever hope to be sorted enough to help others was by helping myself first, starting with getting my own story in order. So this year (named ‘the selfish year’ – I think everyone should have one of these) I’ve really been tuning into what I need and want in my life; what makes me tick and brings me happiness. Funnily enough, it was during the teacher training course, whilst hearing strong opinions that differed from mine, that I was gratified to realise how much headway I had made with this, as my own story still rang loud and clear in my head. And in fact, being open to other approaches and ideas during the week felt like a really good mental work-out, as I was constantly forced to re-evaluate and crystallise my own thoughts, and test the robustness of my own story’s plot and the ‘motivation’ (said with thespy nasality) of its central character, i.e. me.
So, in conclusion, as with everything, there’s a balance (classic conclusion of the over-empathiser, but I genuinely do believe that the solution to most ‘debates’ lies somewhere in the middle-ground and that you can almost always incorporate useful elements of oppositional arguments into your own take on things). It’s important to remain open-minded and accepting of other beliefs and constantly use these to re-evaluate your own beliefs, and shift them if needs be. Beliefs should be malleable not fixed. But, it’s also important not to go too far – to truly listen to your own story, deep down inside of you (this can be REALLY hard!) and trust yourself to let that story unfold. We’re aways learning (every day’s a school day an’all that), and the story could and should develop in response to that, but the central theme should remain your personal contentment and authenticity – to ensure that you are being the real you, and not a pretend version of yourself. Then you know that you’re on your true path, and you can smile smugly and give friendly waves to everyone on all the other paths around you.
Blimey, where did that all come from? Welcome to ‘self-help’ with beckymayhem! But, these thoughts are floating through my head, so I guess I just want to share what I’ve learnt about myself. Please feel free to ignore/mock me – it’s all part of my own unfolding story… 🙂
Musing 3– Cutting The Yoga Apron Strings (or ‘Dropping The Strap’)
My final thoughts following the teacher training course have been focused on pondering my previous lack of confidence to call myself a yoga teacher, despite the fact I’ve been teaching part-time for four years now!
I guess this is actually all part of the same things discussed in Musing 2 – i.e. I didn’t have the self-belief before to know that this was what I truly wanted. Three yoga teacher training courses later, and I’ve finally got the hint that, yes, it is what I want!
I also think that my academic background, whereby succes was always measured by the grade on a piece of paper, means that I’ve always had a neediness for external validation, in this case through certified training. But this takes the focus away from ‘feeling’ what’s right inside. Cheesy I know, but I’m finally realising that it’s more important to know yourself and have faith in yourself than to look outwards for approval. It’s feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
So finally, I have the conviction to know it feels right for me, and I am ready to go out and pronounce to the world that, ‘Hello, I’m Becky. I’m a yoga teacher (and an ecologist – that’s still very important to me too – and a wannabe writer – there I’ve said it!)’. I feel great when I teach. I love my practice and I want to share what I’ve learnt with others. I love the fact people end the class feeling better than when they entered the room, and knowing that I have helped with that process.
So, in essence, musing 3 is really just building up to that: a pronouncement to the world that I am now happy to call myself a yoga teacher!
Anyway, no doubt I’ll be back to random ramblings and general observations on life in my next post, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my over-active and irritatingly nocturnal brain… 🙂