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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Flying outside of my comfort zone, again

Leio McLaren
Last year I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher certification. During the process I said that I wanted to bring yoga to those who did not have access to it. I thought I would be teaching in a homeless shelter. I kept saying over and over and over about how that is what I was going to do. Then I wrote a research paper on the whiteness of yoga and the wheels started turning. I kept saying that I needed to teach yoga in a public space. Women of color kept asking me where I was teaching. The owner of a local studio asked me to teach at her place. I said I would. and yet, I have not. I have plenty of reasons or excuses disguised as reasons. One of them being afraid.

And then I agreed to teach yoga to elementary school kids again. The program now has 80 children. That is right 80. And surprise surprise , this year an adult component was added. So I now teach adults. Yikes! Everything that I was running away from just hit me smack in the face. I have to teach adults. Teaching adults is much scarier than teaching kids. The kids will do any pose and giggle in between. Most are not afraid of flipping their dogs or moving into wheel (with the proper warm-ups, of course). Adults understand how things feel within their bodies. They have expectations of feeling great after a class. I know. I am one of them. I am an adult.
So, now none of my excuses disguised as reasons matter at this point. I have taught two adult classes. I did not die. I did freak out a bit when I moved a class too quickly through the sequence and had to add poses. I also slowed the end of the class down. I did not even sweat. Well, not so that anyone could see it. I felt it.

Now I am in week two. I am still a bit anxious, but I know what I am doing (for the most part). I am able to read a room and make modifications. The freak outs are fewer. I did it. I moved beyond the things real and/or imaginary that were holding me back from teaching. From making yoga accessible to people who might not ever try it or walk into a yoga studio for a variety of reasons. In my small corner of this world yoga is not so white. It is fun, funky, liberating, and beautiful. And for that I am proud. I am completely out of my comfort zone. and I will do it twice a week for seven weeks and who knows what happens after that. 

I also accomplished what I set out to do. I am teaching. Not in a studio, but out in the community where impact is still being made. Teaching in a homeless shelter is still on my radar. Just right now I am being called to be somewhere else.
 The best piece of advice someone has ever given me was 'do it scared.' And no matter if you're scared, just go ahead and do it anyway because you might as well do it scared, so it will get done and you will feel so much better if you step out of your comfort zone.
~Sherri Shepherd

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