Monday, June 20, 2011

Fear and Loathing in ... Yoga?

While I am physically capable of balancing in inversions like Handstand and Pincha Mayurasana in the middle of the room, you will most always find me inverting about six inches away from a wall. Why? Let me be frank: I'm terrified of falling over.

Fears of falling are very common in the yoga community. But you know what? That's not very interesting to me any more. It's the deeper fears that have been bubbling up for me that are really interesting.

Here are a few other things that are scaring the living daylights out of me right now.

1. Losing my way. I'm scared that I won't have the dedication or commitment or attention span to do this for the rest of my life. It sounds cliche, but before I started practicing yoga I was a different person... and I don't want to be that person again. I know how life can change nearly over night, and I hope that nothing ever changes that takes me away from my practice.

2. Injury. The practice of yoga has made me more mindful of the little creaks and tweaks in my body. But I'm pretty scared that I'll be injured in some way that inhibits my yoga practice. (See number 1.)

3. Finding a Teacher. I'm jealous of people who say "guruji" because I don't have one. To be honest, I don't know if I even want one. But how do I know if I want something I've never really experienced? I study with every teacher I can, and I know I can learn something from every one of them.. but I am scared I'm missing out by not having ONE teacher.

4. Being a Teacher. It's hard to admit this here (since I really REALLY do want to teach again some day) ... but .. I'm scared of leading others. I'm scared that I don't know enough and that someone who knows more than me will call my bluff. After a couple of bad yoga teaching auditions recently, I have less confidence in my teaching abilities than ever. Yoga has helped me build confidence better than anything else I've ever done in my life, but when it comes to teaching... I'm just not there yet. 

5. Not Being Good Enough. When people find out that I'm a yoga enthusiast, they often assume I'm a vegan who gets up at 4 am everyday to meditate... I might aspire to this some day, but I have a LOOOONNG way to go. I might never get there, but I have to keep reminding myself that yoga isn't about some end result, it's a process.. and a big part of the process is having compassion and understanding for everyone--especially yourself. When you're used to being hard on yourself, that can be pretty scary, too.

Be honest. What REALLY scares you about this practice?