Social psychologist Amy Cuddy spoke in a TED Talks back in June of 2012 on body language and its ability to shape who we are. Though I am no expert on the subject, I find myself looking at my body language as a professional and as a yoga teacher. So much (or so little) of our power conveys itself through the slightest arm motion or shoulder slump.
What is our body language communicating? How does the outside world perceive these actions? Do “power poses” really boost our confidence?
Check out Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talks and listen closely to the last few minutes, the part where she talks about a former student “faking it until she became it” by willing her physical poses to make it seem like she was everything she didn’t feel on the inside.
I found this talk timely. I recently began another yoga teacher certification, one that has me teaching every Saturday for the next five weeks. To say I was nervous is an understatement. Before the training began, our lead instructor sent us assignments to complete prior to the first class–one of those assignments encouraging us to watch Cuddy’s video.
So, I watched it and found myself completely moved by the very end of the talk. Not only was Cuddy extremely emotional during the last few minutes, but I, too, \ was choked up over her vulnerability and how she got up in front of hundreds of people to remind people the whole point of her talk: Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it until you become it–even when you think you’re not supposed to get there.
That was undoubtedly what I needed to hear. For months, I had been waiting for the next part of my yoga journey to start. I so badly wanted to teach, to share the gift of yoga with others. I also wanted to get serious about my writing and take a stab at re-branding myself as a yogipreneur/writer. I felt as if I had hit the ground running once January came around.
But within a week into my latest yoga teacher training, I somehow convinced myself that I wasn’t meant for the yoga teacher life. I mentally talked myself into believing I had made a terrible mistake, costing me money and time and sleep. I told myself I wasn’t the yoga teacher I thought I could be. I looked around at the other eleven faces signed up for the same training and my heart fell.
I am a better student than leader, I thought. I am not supposed to be here.
For two weeks, I moped around the house and when my mom asked me if I was excited to teach a class on Saturday, I gave her a lackluster “Sure.” As we both climbed into the car the day of my first yoga class, I had no choice but to tell her everything. I metaphorically spilled my guts, heart, and tears over the process of becoming what I didn’t think was meant for me anymore. It’s safe to say I have never enjoyed anything new from the start, but yoga–yoga was the one thing I spoke about with fervor.
And now, I was second-guessing the very thing that had brought me back to life, figuratively speaking. I was shrinking away and almost to the point where throwing in the towel looked like the only solution.
I walked into the at-capacity studio along with my fellow teachers in training staring at strangers who had come for a yoga class and after taking my seat in preparation to teach my portion of the hour-long class, my soul was ignited.
I regained consciousness as soon as the next yogi began to teach her part. In that moment, a quiet but powerful energy surged through my veins and I once again felt the connection to my mat I had felt after my very first yoga class. This was home. This was where I would plant more roots. This was my purpose.
I believe the mind to be a forceful entity. It is a mischievous creature with its many tricks and shape-shifting ways. It has the ability to overcome us, to paralyze us, to selfishly keep us in stagnation.
But it also meant for good–plowing through negative thoughts and getting us over the hurdles we often put in front of ourselves. It is now week four of five of my teacher training. I assumed I’d be just as nervous to teach now as I was on that first Saturday, but the reality is I know where my place is. There is still so much learning to be done and I doubt this training will be my last. I also doubt this will be the last time I truly believe I am not meant to be somewhere. But just for the sake of being in the moment, let me take my seat as the teacher, look out at all the strange new faces, and think, “This is where I belong.”
**Disclaimer: I apologize for the very lax writing approach I’ve taken these past several weeks. I think this post tells you a lot about where my head’s been. It has been incredibly difficult finding the words to put together a decent post or even write three lines of a poem. Thank you for your patience as I transition into yet another phase of my life. You are all dears.**