The Year of Taking Chances

In early January of this year, I found myself lying on the floor at Yoga Tree Valencia.  We were winding down from what had been a tough practice.  I felt as though Pete had been pushing, pushing, pushing on my inversions and arm balances. If I was in forearm balance at the wall, he asked for my arms to be flat instead of clasped. There were not so subtle hints about handstand splits at the wall. In truth, he was offering these options to me - he was not actually pushing that hard. But my head came back again and again to my fear - of falling, of embarrassing myself, of failing when I tried to get into the tougher poses. 

Plus - my head said - you might hurt yourself.

I had moved beyond my natural edge and I felt raw and tired. Lying there on the wood floor in spinal twist, Pete came over to adjust my hips slightly.

He paused.  I took a breath.

Maybe - he said quietly - 2012 can be the year of taking chances.

It was not a big conversation about fear. It was a simple, kind suggestion.  It was good teaching.

And I took that to heart.

I started showing up to class with a different attitude. And, for the most part, I have kept to my word.

I still have tough, emotional practices where fear wins the day. 

But I have taken more chances this year - on the mat and in my life.

Not the least of which was walking into Yoga Teacher Training this past weekend. 

For the next 6 months, I will be learning how to teach the practice that I love so much.

And I was terrified walking into that room.

What if everyone else has a super-advanced practice? What if I simply can't remember my right from my left? What if I absolutely can't learn how to cue the poses? What if teaching yoga ruins how much I love it?

I thought about all of these fears as I crossed over the bridge at 5am into Berkeley on Saturday.

I walked through the door anyways.

And I never looked back. Here were nineteen different people - and every single one of us had a fear. Over the course of the two days, I managed to remember everyone's names, taught a basic meditation and some basic moves, and I walked away feeling confident that I could learn to teach.

The greatest gift a teacher can give is to believe in a student.

The greatest chance I have taken this year - is the chance that I have taken on myself.

That is where I want to teach from.

And this is the learning. The practice. The yoga.