This past weekend I taught my Power Yoga class and began with 2 questions for my students to reflect on:
- What is something in your yoga practice that you have wanted to try or achieve, but you have been held back because of fear? (For example, fear of falling, fear of not being strong enough, fear of getting out of your comfort zone, fear of embarrassment…)
- What is something in your personal life that you have wanted to change but fear has held you back? (For example, changing jobs, saying no or yes more, apologizing to someone, fixing a bad habit…)
For myself, I also answered those same questions. In my yoga classes, one area that I struggle with the most as an instructor is sharing about myself and letting students get to know my “story.” I hold back and usually stick to “textbook teaching” of cueing poses and alignment. It is what I am comfortable doing. Although teaching makes me seem like an extrovert because I stand in the front of a room full of people, I am truly an introvert and in all other areas of my life, I prefer to be hidden in the back corner of a room, keeping all my thoughts swirling around in my own head, silent to others.
Well, this weekend I decided to face my fear…
At the end of class, I shared about my hair. My hair has been incredibly long since my teens, so around 25 years. My hair is my security blanket. I associate myself with Violet, from Pixar’s, “The Incredibles.” Violet is the daughter of a superhero family and she uses her hair to hide behind so she won’t stand out. In fact, her superpower is becoming invisible, which is exactly how I relate to my hair – a symbol of something to hide behind!
As some of you know from my previous posts about migraines and attempts to heal my migraines, I have been suffering from migraines all my life and I am desperate for any chance of relief. My latest theory is… maybe my 25 years of having long, THICK, hair, plus wearing them in high, heavy ponytails for most of that time during gymnastics, cheerleading, and now yoga/fitness classes, causes too much weight on my neck (my migraine pain seems to originate from my C1, where the base of my skull meets the top of the spine).
So in front of my students, (and facing my first challenge of sharing openly about myself…) I pulled out a pair of scissors (oh I wish I could have videotaped the giant gasps and “NOOO” cries in the room… haha!). My husband and daughter came into the room and helped me to cut off my braid. I went from shaking uncontrollably from nervousness and fear, to immediately feeling so refreshed and light! It is just hair… but cutting my braid symbolized so much more. I am facing my fears. I am embracing change. I am free!
I will be mailing my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths because someone out there with cancer needs my hair more than I do… sending all my love to everyone out there who has been or is fighting the biggest battle of their lives. Stay strong and know you are loved!
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt