This past week I taught a yoga class. Even though I teach yoga all the time in private practice, this was the first time in a long time I stood in front of a group of students to teach. It was at the wonderful Ganga Flow Yoga studio where I am going to start teaching regularly so it was an introduction of sorts: me to the students, the students to me. Let me tell you something, I was NERVOUS! Crazy nervous. It reminded me of something I wrote several years ago about fear. I thought I’d to share it again since, clearly, it still applies. 🙂
Is it possible to be thankful for fear? I mean the kind of fear that gives you a nervous belly. The fear that makes you question why the heck you ever said yes to the thing that has you fretful. Like a first date or a new job or taking that solo trip to Europe.
That kind of fear is a funny thing. I often stand in front of groups of people to teach or sing or dance. For some, this is a huge fear. But given the choice between speaking in front of a hundred people and, say, throwing a dinner party, I would take the public speaking gig every time. No question.
Many of you throw dinner parties on a regular basis and might be thinking I am bit crazy right now. But that’s fear for you.
The key here is desire. I am afraid to host a dinner party but it doesn’t bother me because there is no real desire in my soul to do so. I am content to look upon all the great hosts of the World with awe and wonder!
On the other hand, I really want to share yoga and dance and music with people. I am putting myself “out there” and I get nervous for sure, but my desire outweighs my fear. At least in theory…
One Saturday morning a few years ago I had agreed to sub for a yoga class. Substituting is always nerve wracking but this class was really filling up and my butterflies were in full gear. Just as class was about to begin a woman walked in, escorted by someone else and using a cane. I realized that she was blind.
My very first thought was: why did I ever agree to sub this class? Fear gripped me. And I felt ashamed. I was sure that every other yoga teacher in the World would welcome this opportunity and here I was thinking: I absolutely cannot do this. Why did I ever want to teach yoga in the first place? Who do I think I am? Why did she have to come to this class? Can I fake a stomachache and bolt?
It’s amazing how many thoughts can fly through your head in two seconds and when you are fearful, those thoughts aren’t pretty. I took a breath. I realized I had no choice but to do my best.
For the next hour I was hyper aware of how I used my words. My vision became panoramic. My desire to honor everyone in the class slowly began to trump my fear.
The woman was amazing, an inspiration. She was game and capable. She laughed when she got turned around and we all laughed with her. Her presence elevated the experience for everyone.
I walked out of there elated and grateful. Fear could have sabotaged me but instead it forced me to summon my courage. I was so happy that I had agreed to sub that class!!
We get nervous because we care, because it matters to us. If we give in to fear we miss out on tremendous experiences. Think about what makes you nervous and why. If there is something that you really want but fear, see if you can be afraid but take a step towards it anyway. Your senses will heighten. You will feel alive. You may well end up grateful for the fear. It showed you your courage, after all.