When I decided to take yoga teacher training I wasn't sure that I would feel comfortable teaching or leading classes. In particular when I started training I came up against a lot of mental barriers and limitations that brought up feelings of inadequacy and judgement. I felt I wasn't flexible enough, thin enough, or strong enough.
I recall clearly the day that this changed. As part of our training we demo'd poses for the class to view how the pose looked in different bodies. We were all encouraged to model the pose. In an attempt to encourage bravery in myself, I stepped up for a pose that I found very challenging. I knew that I had limitations in this pose due to anatomy, tension, and trust in my strength. I stood up, allowed modifications, and allowed a room of people to look at me, in my imperfection, challenge and difficulty. Initially I found my mind bringing up stories of judgement, then I realized they weren't looking at me... the real me... they were looking at the body I inhabit. I realized that they weren't seeing my belly that I thought limited my range of motion, they were noticing the tightness in my hamstring. They weren't seeing my flaws, they were seeing the ways that I could use props or adapt the asana to feel deeper into my body. It was liberating.
Since teaching, I have noticed that I am more proud of this body that is full of strength, vulnerability, tightness and openness. I am a paradox of complexities, and I love my body so much more for it. Standing in front of a room of students, in showing up for them, I am also showing up for myself. I am showing up for the teen girl who struggled with being thin enough. I am showing up for the adult that didn't feel beautiful because the magazines, movies, and media didn't reflect her type of beauty. I am embracing more and more the ways I am unique, the ways my body can move and express itself.
I hope to bring this awareness to my classes in ways that support the challenges my students face. I hope that in embracing my own bits of 'work in progress' that I am able to show up for them in ways that are encouraging and supportive. This is why I lead. To be able to say 'you are amazing, enough, beautiful and everything, just as you are'.
May we all feel peace, support, and love for ourselves and all.