Monday was a normal day. I was scheduled to teach a class at 3:30pm in the afternoon. Before that I was going to have coffee with an old friend and then hang out with my husband, as the end of summer is only two weeks away.
“When do you leave for work today, babe?” my husband asked after lunch.
“I leave at three and I’ll be home around six,” I replied, not noticing my mistake.
Coming home from walking the dog, I slipped into my leggings and sports bra, took off my eyeliner and then started to walk into my home practice room to squeeze in a few moments of practice for myself before I headed out to teach. On the way into the room my eyes caught the clock that hung in the hallway. It read 2:48. And it hit me. I had to be at the studio at three, not leave for the studio at three. How had I mixed it up like that?
“Holy cow!” (not really, it was not as nice as that, but my mom reads these posts yogis) I exclaimed.
“What’s up?” my husband hollered upstairs.
“I’m supposed be at the studio in twelve minutes! Somehow I mixed it up.”
“I’m filling your water bottle,” he yelled back, “What else can I do?”
“Nothing,” I said as I flew down the stairs, grabbed my water bottle, slung my bag over my shoulder, and headed to the garage. “Gotta go – love you!”
Starting the car, my eye caught my phone, as it claimed it was going to take me sixteen minutes to get to the studio. This was not good. I hate being late.
Starting off, I was stopped at the first light, knowing I had about eight other stop lights to get through before I hit the studio.
“You can do this,” I thought. “You are going to make it on time.”
As I headed through the light, I turned off the radio and sat in silence. Music would not help me get there faster.
“Don’t dwell on what’s happening. Think about what you want to happen,” I told myself.
Reflexively, like the crazy yogi I am, I started saying out loud to myself, “The Universe always works in my favor,” over and over again. Each word calmed my mind and I could feel my shoulders relax.
As I headed toward the next light I let out a sigh of relief at it’s awesome green color. I sailed through and went up the hill, still chanting my little chant, smiling at my new age nuttiness.
I sailed through the next two lights, and then the next two, and unbelievably all the lights, never having to stop at a single one. I pulled into the parking lot at 3:01pm.
I didn’t speed to get there or curse out the other drivers as I drove aggressively down the road. I simply trusted that the Universe would take care of it and that there was no need to freak out.
It’s kind of a silly story, I know. But our thoughts have so much to do with what is reflected back to us in this world. It’s the real practice we show up for when we show up to the yoga studio to practice.
You thought it was about postures, right? Or getting your head to your knee? Or standing in the splits without a care in the world? In some ways it is, but in many ways, it is about more than that. It’s about changing your mind about what you think is possible for you.
Most of us tend to underestimate ourselves. If you think you can’t do a posture, or you believe that something within a posture will never happen for you, you’re right. You are getting in your own way. You are delaying the miracle.
I often urge my students to choose a higher thought when they are practicing. I can see when they start to doubt themselves or lean into a negative thought. It’s on their face. It’s in the pace of their breath. It’s in their body, expressed through the posture at hand. At this point, it’s time to choose a different thought.
“I can do this.”
“I am stronger than I think.”
“I approve of myself.”
“I am proud of what I am accomplishing today.”
“I release all doubts and fears.”
Any of these are good, positive thoughts or affirmations to cultivate a good, positive practice and even, over time, a good, positive life. Maybe you have one that works for you. Maybe you think I am a little nuts, or that I should just take my happy, yogi, new age life elsewhere. That’s okay.
It took years for me to find the light inside me in the hot room, as I gazed at myself in the mirrors. But once you find the light, you are not going to want to go back to that negative voice you carry within you that says you are not good enough, or strong enough. You will know the truth at last. Everything you ever wanted was inside you this whole time. You already are enough. You always were and you always will be.
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