This particular Saturday morning did not go as planned. With each of my three kids going in different directions starting at 6:45am, and my husband away for the weekend, I needed to be on my game. Instead, I overslept- waking up 15 minutes before we we're suppose to be at the football field. I felt like "Hurricane Tara" arriving at the school as I was speeding in, slamming doors, hustling over to where we were supposes to be and clearly creating a wake in my path. When I saw my son’s coach he said “It's okay, just breath". As a yoga studio owner, that felt a little embarrassing to hear from a football coach. At the same time, a friend nearby jokingly said to me, “Ya, isn't that what you tell your yoga students? You are not a great advertisement for your yoga studio right now". They were both right. I immediately felt guilty and a bit bummed at myself for that showdown. The good news is that it gave me some insight.
When we are living authentically, we have nothing to defend. Sure, we all develop expectations and judgments of people, the roles they play and how we would like them to act around us. I know that I like the grocery store bagger to know how to bag groceries. I want my kids teachers to be respectful, enthusiastic, and care about their students. I want my car mechanic to not unnecessarily charge me an arm and leg to fix my car. But the funny thing is that if I were to see any of them outside of the grocery store, school, or auto body shop, aside from breaking the law, I don’t expect much from them. And herein lies what makes teaching yoga and owning a yoga studio so amazing. We’ve created a built in mechanism to stay committed to our journey and the process we are teaching. It’s so natural that my yoga students and my community may expect me to be mindful, peaceful, relaxed and not stressed out when they see me outside of the studio. I expect the same thing for myself. They may even expect me to be a vegetarian, not drink beer or coffee, and drive a Prius with a Namaste bumper sticker on the back. And I have no problem with any of those expectations. Their expectations are their business. I may not meet any of them or I may not meet them 100% of the time. I don’t need to apologize, defend myself or beat myself up about it. My practice is waking up and catching myself when I am not living true to my word.
You don’t have to be a yoga teacher to stay committed to being yourself. Being yourself takes little to no work at all. Can you see areas or situations in your life that feel heavy or forced? Where are you applying a lot of effort to hide or try to show a made up version of yourself? Getting to the football field the other morning felt pretty stressful. I was worried I was letting people down (my son especially) but also when I take a hard look, I was afraid of looking bad. After all of that, being late the other morning did not really create any problems for anyone. But it did give me an opportunity to catch myself trying too hard, hiding behind my self-imposed stress and taking myself way to seriously.
I can now think back to that morning and smile at “Hurricane Tara”. If it were not for her, I wouldn’t feel as peaceful and connected as I do right now.