A safe space to be you is a gift

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Yesterday I was determined to make it to a yoga class. I felt like being on a slalom course, dodging all the distractions and things that kept popping up to get in the way of my intent. As I was walking into the yoga room I realized my sunglasses  were on my head. Determined to optimize my precious time on the mat, I choose to not back up and store my shades, instead I rolled out my mat and prepared for class.

A voice inside said "folks probably think you are ridiculous". A lady next to me asked "did you really not know your sunglasses were on your head?" The voice inside me exclaimed  "see!" then another voice declared "I will NOT be shamed". I replied to the lady "oh I know my shades are on my head" with a tone as if I planned it all along!  "...and I've never taken a yoga class with sunglasses on before, I'm going to give it a go!". Wading through the "you're stupid, you're ridiculous, you're not good enough" chatter, I took a look at myself in the mirror and said to myself "hey you look cool", I smiled and chose to focus on feeling cool, rewarding myself for doing something new and feeling a tad courageous for choosing to stick with the plan despite what others may think.

My yoga teacher entered, I immediately felt the familiar nervous contraction in the pit of my belly. I often felt this growing up at school.. with the thoughts "am I going to get in trouble?, oh no! now I'm busted! oh shit! is my teacher going to call me out? will she shame me in front of the whole class? force me to conform? make me be normal..." To my delight I saw a soft turning of the corners of the mouth of my teacher as we began class, nothing was mentioned and I wasn't called out. I loved relaxing into feeling accepted, safe and comfortable. I delighted in being able to play, be different and express my uniqueness. AND the shades helped me with my sensitivity to light! I have a feeling this is not the last time I'll be wearing sunglasses to class, perhaps I'll start a trend!

My class experience became something most extraordinary. I came home excited to share the news with my husband Joe and have him snap a photo of me in my joy! ;-)  I'm reminded, as a teacher, of the importance of creating a safe environment for my students.  A haven where everybody can express their individuality, and feel connected with others, all at the same time! I'm again super impressed with my yoga teacher and studio owner, Annie, who inspires me in new and different ways every time I attend her class. This is another reminder of how, to be the best teacher, I must continue to seek opportunities to be the student, to crave learning, find new experiences and be prepared to take risks. 

I'm teaching 10am Nia class at Soma Ranch in the morning (Saturday). It's a great day to be you and a Nia class is a great place to be you. Come dance! bring a friend and wear sunglasses if you like ;-)