This weekend was a yoga training weekend. (We are about half way through the actual class meetings. I'm nowhere near completing my hours though.) I look forward to these weekends so much. Getting together with fellow yogi's. Chanting. Om-ing. Doing the hardest asana practice I've done since last time we met. Learning. Learning. Learning. So much learning.
This weekend we studied upward facing backbends. With the biggie being Urdhva Dhanurasana or Upward Facing Bow. I used to do this pose all the time as a kid. When I was soft and playful and really open. Before I knew yoga even existed. It was nothing. And I guess I haven't done it in a long time. Because when we were getting closer to this pose, I started to get really fearful. And I did not expect it. This emotion totally took me by surprise.
We practiced first with props. Bending over chairs. Bolsters. Blocks. Really supported. We even did an assisted one with straps that was really cool. But I was the last to go because I was so nervous. When it came to doing the pose on our own - no props, I was smacking up against my fear big time. It was right up in my face, and I felt like I was going to burst into tears at any moment. I had that tightness in my throat that you get when you are holding back emotion. And tightness in the throat and Upward Bow do not mix. Bow is all about opening… the heart… the throat… the whole front body. It's a very expansive pose and is supposed to build confidence and energy to the point that you feel like you're flying.
And here I was feeling tight and nervous and, well, stupid because I was feeling all those other things.
Needless to say, I couldn't push up into the pose. My arms didn't have it in them. But really, I know it was because I was holding onto my fear and sadness. I couldn't let it go.
I was really disappointed and it darkened the remainder of the day. I clammed up and didn't contribute anything in the class discussion. I took notes silently. I didn't volunteer to be the guinea pig like I normally would've. I just felt sad and like I was a failure. I even came home that night and cried over something completely trivial.
The sadness about the whole situation is gone now. But I've been noticing my fear has stuck around. I am seeing lots of things I'm afraid of when it comes yoga that I have been hesitant to admit or give too much thought to. For instance: I don't know how I will ever be able to get in front of a class and teach this stuff. I'm so afraid I'll be a terrible teacher. I'm afraid of speaking in public and being in front of people. I'm afraid I won't find my own voice.
I'm afraid that because other people have so much more knowledge and experience than me and are further along on their yogic path, that it's pointless for me to talk about or try to articulate my own understandings. I'm afraid that I'll never feel my wholeness and know myself well enough to be a clear channel for my potential students. I'm afraid this is just a pipe dream.
See? So much fear. How do I get ahold of this and start to bring light to it? I don't know. Keep practicing?
Did I have this much fear as I was starting illustration? *note to self: I know you will one day bust through all this. And when you do, I want you to come back to this post and acknowledge how far you've come. Acknowledge your work. And honor how you conquered your fear.