Think of your favourite yoga teacher.
What qualities come to mind?
Inspirational? Happy? Powerful? Compassionate? Present? Joyful? Peaceful?
I’m going to take a wild guess and say none of you thought: Sad.
A sad yoga teacher? No thank you!
I’ve been feeling frustrated in my teaching lately. I’ve been struggling through my classes. Being with my students has been hard for me these past few weeks. Speaking English (my first and only language) has felt like a process, and a difficult one at that. I convinced myself that something was missing. There had to be something I could do to create a shift in my teaching.
But none of these things were creating the shift that I was seeking.
Then I picked up Baron’s new book, Being of Power, and saw this:
“The breakthroughs happen when [you] shift from asking what [you] need to do to the question of what [you] need to give up.”
In reading this, I realized that instead of adding, I needed to subtract. I needed to get empty.
At this moment in my life, I’m sad. It’s hard for me to admit that. I just experienced a huge loss in my life. My Nana, who was more like my best friend and a huge part of my life, passed away. She lived a long and wonderful 85-years and I am lucky that I had so much time to get to know her. I realize that it is a blessing that she is no longer suffering.
But somehow, that doesn’t fill the void I feel in my day and the hole I have in my heart from not having her here. But at the moment, that sadness isn’t going away. So instead of trying so hard to DO something about it, the work is really in looking at what I need to give up. I don’t want to run and hide from teaching. I know this will not be the last time I am faced with loss – it’s something that unites us all and a pain that we simply cannot avoid.
So how do I move forward from here?
Practice #4: Give it up to get empty.
Baron says, “a big brick we carry around is expectation. In any circumstance where we feel frustration, this is usually at play. Expectations rob us of a sense of peace in the present moment, because they keep us in the divide between what is actually happening now and what we believe should be taking place.”
I definitely have expectations of who I should be as a yoga teacher.
I should be able to look at the positive side of everything and appreciate the time I had with Nana.
I should feel grateful that she is no longer suffering.
I should be with my students and leave the sadness at home.
My life this past month has been a constant battle between who I am in the moment and who I think I should be.
On Monday night, after listening to Baron’s Online Event, I asked myself what do I need to give up?
The answer came to me right away. I needed to give up the expectation that I shouldn’t be sad. I needed to give up the belief that I’m somehow wrong for feeling the way I do. I needed to let my students see the real me, not the happy and enlightened yoga teacher that I’m trying to be.
And in doing this, the frustration lifted. I taught four classes yesterday and felt present with my students.
Is the sadness gone? No. That will take time.
Will the expectations creep back into my life? They very likely will.
But now I have my practice: Give it Up to Get Empty!