Here we go! Last day of school is tomorrow. Teachers stopped giving out homework two weeks ago. Our pool that we belong to opened on Memorial Day and the kids get in the water even though its 50 degrees. Where am I going with this? Well, every year around this time, I fight the slowness until I raise my white flag and surrender to the season. That said, that has not always been a good thing. I become more lenient as a parent by letting my kids eat more popsicles, and ice cream. They stay up later, and get a little lazy at times. Our schedules change in the summer and our routines have an "Eff it" attitude. Every year, I say, NO! This summer is going to be different, and then its not. So this year, I am putting an end to all of that and allowing myself to surrender to what is.
Yoga teaches us to surrender. It teaches us that these moments of slow-ness instead of busy-ness are
alright to have. It allows us to appreciate time moving a slower pace. I for one used to be the person that would get a little scared every time I knew summer was around the corner. Because I knew what this meant for my work, my family, the change in our every day life. I used to look at that with fear. My mind becoming busy with "what if's" and so on. Now, I embrace it. I surrender to the season. I enjoy my kids, because they are only kids once. Ice cream for breakfast? Sure why not?! YOLO right?
Recently, my husband and I talked about if we were to move where would we move to? (Don’t worry mom if you are reading this, we aren’t moving) We started going over different cities. I am a beach person, and my husband is a mountain guy. There leaves about 5 cities/states that we agree on where we could live. Then, we started getting into a more serious conversation about it and what that would mean for our family? Would our kids be ok? Could we move away from our families? Would we be satisfied if we did move? Lots of questions! But what I said, is that no matter where we moved it wouldn’t matter because we would be together and happiness isn’t determined upon where you live but how you live in the place you reside.
See, it isn’t about moving at all. It’s the ability to let go of fear if you did move, it’s about letting go of judgment and trusting the process. Sounds hippy dippy right? I know it probably is-but I wouldn’t be saying it, if I didn’t believe it. When I was 19 years old, I decided I was going to pack up everything I had, put it on a plane, ship it to California and move there. Was I scared? A little. But I was young, and fearless, and didn’t care how it was going to turn out because I know I would be ok. I did move to California. I stayed for 5 years until I moved again. Yoga teaches us to be with our natural state of oneness. It allows us to be exactly as we are in the moment we are in, so if you take away the other stuff; job, house, money, etc. Then what are you left with you can be content with-even if that is a lot or a little.
If you are worried about how things are going to turn out, or if things are uncertain in your life, always come back to your breath. Breathe in the air that will clear your mind and find the place that will open your heart. Because your heart will lead you to that happy place of gratitude and compassion. And we all know “Home is where the heart is”.
I begin to write this while I am angry. Because what better way to get your feelings out- than on paper and try for some clarity on where the anger is coming?
It seems that since I have had children my biggest struggle has been finding balance in my roles-mother-wife-business owner-friend. I am one of those women that want to do it all. This gets me in trouble more then I would like. I over commit, I stress myself out, and then I wonder how I got there? Knowing I did this to myself.
My husband and I are constantly checking in with our calendars and trying to make our lives run as smoothly as we can. But sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes we feel like rock stars because of how well we are doing. So, where did the anger come from in the first place? I can now see that it comes from a place that is not my true self but from fear. Fear that I am not doing enough, or that I am failing in one way or another.
I’ve realized there isn’t a right or wrong way to do this. For me, I know I need to give myself more time to the roles of my life. But, I also know I will fall short in at least one of them every day. So how do we find the balance? I say YES a lot. I mean a lot. I need to say NO more. A lot of the struggle for me is saying yes to everything. If I don’t I feel guilty and then there’s this cycle. You know the one. Make space for yourself, this is when I truly find balance. Things are hectic in my mind and in my life when I don’t put myself first which for me is my yoga practice. So the best advice I can give- be willing to forgive yourself when you fall short, give yourself space to fail, tell yourself its ok. Take time for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it and lastly, go to bed early and try again tomorrow.
When I decided to become a yoga teacher, I underestimated how difficult it would be to run my own yoga business. I teach a variety of group classes, private lessons, lead retreats, and teach workshops to try and earn a good enough living to help support my family, but after 5 years- I am a tad tired. That isn’t to say teaching full time can’t be done. I know of a lot people who do it and are successful, but if you ask them if it is easy, they will tell you no.
My joy of teaching is compromised with how much driving I do to get to a studio to teach a class or to a client’s home to teach a private lesson. My own yoga practice was my inspiration to become a teacher and it suffers because of how much I teach, and hours spent building my business. I’ve realized that balancing it all has been the most difficult, and what needs to change. This is not to say I want to stop teaching, because I do love it, and will continue to do it, and when I see the progress someone makes in their practice it brings me true happiness but I also know that I need to reevaluate.
A few months ago, I was co-leading a women’s retreat, and we practiced a writing exercise of asking tough questions but answering them with the first thing that came to mind. One of the questions was “Do you have any regrets in your life?” For me; I regretted not finishing college. Self-doubt is a bitch. When I dropped out of college, I told myself I wasn’t a good student or I just wasn’t smart enough. Until today.
When I went through my YTT I cried after my first training weekend and experienced the same self-doubt when I went to college. I feared I would fail, and I wasn’t good enough to be a yoga teacher. The difference between the two were that I was a bit older, and I understood that fear is an illusion that held me back from the dreams I wanted to create for myself. So, I kept going & I became a certified yoga teacher. I can say this illusion of fear is my driving factor to believe in myself more and to work a little bit harder and to finally go back to college. I follow my heart on most days which is driven by love, so why would I give up on that now?
Yoga teaches us to embrace each moment and stay present but it also teaches us to take action in our lives. I encourage all of you to do the same. If you’re feeling unsatisfied in your career or your life, ask yourself questions and reevaluate. C. Joy Bell C. says- “Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it."
Tiffany (RYT 200®) is a student and teacher of yoga living in Baltimore, Maryland.
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