Lately, I’ve been observing how I react to things that happen, especially in times of stress. A few weekends ago, for the first time (as far as I know), I received negative feedback about a yoga class I taught back in January. A couple of movement teachers came to one of my classes and relayed to a main teacher at the studio that my class felt chaotic and like I was unsure of what I was doing next. Could this be worse? Absolutely, but at the time it hit me hard and I was incredibly frustrated. My Inner Critic had a field day and for a good hour dug into every insecurity and doubt I’ve ever felt about being a teacher–primarily, the one that tries to convince me over and over again that I’m not good enough.
I’m sure you’ve felt something similar. Something sets you off, and you begin to spiral. How do you stop? It’s in these moments that it is important to remember the other person in the situation. For me, it’s the teachers who weren’t the happiest with my class. I’ve recently accepted that when teaching, I have to understand that I’m not going to be everyone’s teacher. Some people are not going to like me, my style, or what I have to say. That is OKAY–more than that, this is NORMAL. When a teacher teachers other teachers, this can be intensified, simply because everyone has their own way of doing things and many will at times think about how they would do it differently. This is also OKAY and NORMAL. With this situation I’m in, it’s not necessarily a case of wrong or right (because I’m sure there are lots of things I can work on). It’s a case of opinion and their opinions are valid in that they provide me with a challenge.
What I’m trying to get at through my usual long-windedness–perspective. Everyone you meet is going through something that you may or may not know about, something that you may or may not understand. I’m accepting the criticism as useful, but I’m not going to let it define me. I’m a new teacher still, and I’m currently unable to teach as much as I would like (those pesky day jobs, am I right?). A couple of weeks ago I was intensely stressed as I kept this criticism in the back of my mind while preparing to teach two classes the weekend after I received it. Once I released the criticism and told myself that it will be what it will be, the whole situation seemed clearer and less intense. Perspective. it is, and should be, constantly shifting. As I prepare to “audition” at this same studio later this week, I’m trying to keep this in mind.
When your next challenge arises, I encourage you to observe how you react. Try to change your perspective and observe if that changes your attitude toward the challenge. Maybe changing the way you see things is in itself a challenge. Good. What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi shodhana)
When you’re in a moment of stress or tension, practicing alternate nostril breathing is a great way to take a beat, tune in to the moment and focus on your breath. To practice:
- Make a peace sign with your index and middle finger
- Rest those two fingers on your forehead in the space between your eyebrows
- Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Hold and close your left nostril with your ring finger.
- Release your thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril, close with your thumb, hold, exhale through the left nostril
- This is a complete cycle. Repeat this 4-7 times, or for as long as feels right to you.
Have a great week darlings and namaste.