Just call me Ms. Emotional Wackadoo

This weekend I am attending a Yin yoga workshop – about 22 hours of yoga over three days. So far this has been a pretty intense experience (for several reasons), and it has left me thinking back a bit to my 200-hr yoga teacher training (a SUPER intense three weeks of constant yoga).

Even before I began the three weeks (actually, even before I had signed up for the training), I was reading about what to expect/what I could hope to learn/etc., and there were some things I didn’t take too seriously. These were the statements about what a transformative experience this training would be for most people; it could also be an extremely emotional time for many trainees. As the training began, each teacher had a similar statement to share – that we may “uncover” many feelings and emotions we didn’t realize were hiding in our bodies. It is not that I didn’t believe these statements, or doubt that some people would find the experience very emotional, but I didn’t think I would be one of those people. Maybe I did think some people were exaggerating the effects of the experience, or that those people were just emotional wackadoos.

Hello, I’m Ms. Emotional Wackadoo. Nice to meet you.

Yes, you all saw this coming, I’m sure. It totally was a transformative, intense, emotional experience for me. Not for just those other people, but me. So either I’ve joined the emotional wackadoos, or yoga really does change your life. I choose to believe the latter and begin each semester at NC State University telling my students yoga can (and will) change your life if you let it.

This leads me to today and the latest way yoga is changing my life. I again found myself not totally buying into the fact that I might “uncover” things this weekend as our teacher was reminding us of that fact. I think this just further plays into my life as an analytical mind – rather than a feeling heart. I’m working on it, though, and experiences like today help me.

Heather Tiddens (our teacher) was explaining why you are not striving for a particular shape in a Yin yoga pose; you are not even striving to “get” anywhere (deeper, full version of a pose, etc.). *More on Yin yoga in another post. Basically, if you approach a pose, your practice, and your life that way – always trying to just get to a certain point – “you will never be good enough.”

You will never be good enough. Those words might as well have been a baseball thrown directly into my chest. I instantly felt the emotions bubbling up inside of me so fast I wasn’t even sure what they were – sadness, desperation, anger, … knowing?

So, naturally, I tried to rationalize this statement (in order to prove it was not true). Let’s look at this in a simple way: hanumanasana (also know as the ever popular front split). If I am working on my split, wouldn’t I be happy (and good enough) once I am all the way down in the split? Ok, with hips square, legs straight and arms extended overhead? Any forner gymnasts reading? Remember over-splits? (Once you have a full split, you put your front foot up on a block or mat, then split so you are going past the “straight line split” as your pelvis reaches the floor.) Ok, so we can always work farther. Hmm, maybe hanumanasana was a bad example.

How about work? I wanted to teach dance at a university and run my own dance company. Done and done! Oh, now I want to be promoted at the university and I want the dance company to do more shows, better shows, tour, be famous, … I’m starting to get it. I think Heather was right.

I will never be good enough.

Wait… that’s what she said, right? She said it right to me. I will never be good enough. No? Then why am I taking this so hard? Did I just feel like she said it to me? I thought on this the whole drive home this evening, and it finally hit me. That baseball wasn’t thrown by Heather or anyone else at my chest; I am constantly throwing it at myself. I am the one telling myself I will never be good enough.

I’m sure I’m not the only one. Are you constantly telling yourself you are not good enough? Are you thinking that if you can just get this, or this, or this, then you will be happy (and good enough)? Give yourself permission to stop. Find a way to experience your life and experience right where you are at this moment. This doesn’t mean you stop growing or changing, but it means you let go of the constant striving in favor of constant living. Constantly experience exactly where you are.

Live your life in the moment. You are good enough wherever you are right now.

I am good enough right now. Crying, smiling, laughing. I’ve found my emotions are just a way to let me realize there is something I need to be paying attention to. Today I needed a rude awakening that I’ve been too hard on myself, and all that toughness was making me sad, angry, stressed out… a regular emotional wackadoo.

But that is ok. Right now emotional wackadoo is good enough. I am good enough. (And so are you.)

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