Do you remember that feeling of being self-conscious that you had in high school?
For me it was especially present during 9th grade swim class. Oh! I remember feeling like I'd rather stick a fork in my eye than to put on a bathing suite in front of my peers! I had a flash back of that feeling today during yoga class.
The theme for this morning's class was the Vishuddi Chakra (the throat). I knew that the dreaded Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) would be part of the practice. Shoulderstand increases the blood supply to the throat, head and brain and it opens us up to new ideas. All great reasons to practice this asana, I know, but I hate it. There, I admit it, I hate shoulderstand! My body just isn't made for shoulderstand.
Today we used the wall to gently move into shoulderstand which I do prefer but I couldn't help feeling self-conscious about the fact that I just can't do this asana.
How can I call myself a yoga teacher when I can't even do Shoulderstand?!
Here's where we can apply some yoga "tool" from our tool box for life. Remember that we're practicing contentment this week. Samtosha. So I was content to keep my feet against the wall as I practice lifting my buttocks and hips off the floor, keeping my hands at my lower back. Still getting the benefits of inversion without the stress and discomfort of the full pose.
This chakra is about communication, self-expression, and creativity. Today's practice got me thinking about how much my self-consciousness has blocked the way of self-expression, creativity and most especially communication. How often have you held back for fear of how others would react?
I believe it's important to acknowledge what we're feeling, in this case, self-consciousness, but it's equally important not to let the feeling keep us from moving forward. Move into your heart for moment and if it feels right in your heart - take the leap and express yourself today. Write, draw, paint, SING! Oh, by the way, kirtan (devotional chanting) is an excellent way to remove any blockages from the Vishuddi chakra. OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!
I'd love to hear your stories of how you expressed yourself today. Feel free to post your comments.
While you are expressing your self, remember Ahimsa (non-harming) Speak your truth but only if it isn't harmful to someone else!