Week 1 - Letting Go of Expectations
Around the beginning of college, I fell in love with Yoga. Not only was It the ultimate physical practice (I was able to get strength, flexibility, and even cardio all in one), it was also enlightening mentally and introduced me to an amazing community. I’ve been practicing on and off ever since, but in more recent years I decided that I wanted to take it more seriously. I wanted to deepen my knowledge and share it with others.
This week started the beginning of that journey. I am enrolled in a RYT200 training course and decided to share some of my experiences and thoughts along the way. I’d love for you to share as well with your own Yoga journey, or any thoughts or questions you have.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Week 1 – Letting Go of Expectation
Holy moly exhaustion! It’s been a long time since I have felt like this – full body, mind and spirit exhaustion – in the most amazing way possible. It’s that kind of exhaustion that is almost energizing. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes when you push yourself beyond what you think is possible, or beyond expectations, you find this rebirth, and I’m loving living in that place.
It’s only the first week, so I am reminding myself to be patient, but I am excited by the fact that this immersion is only encouraging and exciting me to go deeper and taste more. I already knew I loved yoga – but dang, I think that love is already deepening.
This first week has been a reminder to let go of expectations – of what I can do, what I should be able or not able to do, what training is going to "look like", what my peers will be like, etc. As a dancer, you get good at working with your strengths and knowing your niche. You also often get wrapped up in “type” casting and can even begin to limit yourself based on how others see you. One of the things I love about yoga, is that everyone and every day is a blank slate. This is definitely something that is easy to forget, but remembering to release expectations (and to be more companionate with yourself) can change your practice – and your attitude overall.
An example of this during training this week was when we were learning the opening chant for Ashtanga Yoga. Our instructor started by telling a humorous anecdote about how she use to hate chanting and during her training would always have to “use the restroom” whenever chanting came up. As she told this story, I was thinking, “Yep… that’s me… so where’s the restroom?!” To top that off this instructor actually has the most amazing chanting/singing voice, and we have a very small class of three – so talk about intimidation. Nevertheless I just dove in – and the most insane thing happened… stuff came out of my vocal cords… and loudly... and roughly sounded like Sanskrit. It was an awesome experience, and it wasn’t until we were done learning the chant that I took a minute to acknowledge what had happened. During the chant I was able to stay in the moment and release expectations. It definitely was not coming out perfect, but it was coming out with purpose, and the way I knew this is that my mind and body felt more connected... and I was exhausted!
I had totally set myself up to think that it was going to take me weeks to build up to this and build the courage to really be audible with my chanting, but just the little bit of freedom and release of expectation that I gave myself was enough to allow myself to be more than I "thought" I was. Letting go of expectations and truly opening yourself up is definitely not easy – but it is worth it!
Until next time, Namaste!