Friday, July 9, 2010

My Yoga -- Doubting Your Doubts

I began my Yoga Teacher Training this summer and am completely enjoying learning more about myself and my yoga practice. As I go through my training, I wanted to share my thoughts and insights along the way.

In reading my yoga materials this week, I found some very interesting and pertinent information about the negative messages inside your/my head. In my life coaching practice, I refer to this as the "Saboteur."

I'm working with a client right now who is discovering just how much of her life is influenced by her Saboteur.

When I asked her to personify her Saboteur, she said that he looked like Jabba the Hut from the Star Wars movie.  She even sent me a video clip of Princess Leia killing Jabba the Hut. My client said she related to doing this to her own Saboteur and felt SO much power! You can check out this scene here (less than a minute in length).

Wouldn't you love to do that kind of damage to the voice in your head that keeps you stuck??

In reading the book, Journey Into Power, by Baron Baptiste, he covers the Seven Most Common Mental Mistakes in Yoga Practice and How to Avoid Them (pages 61-70).  I could probably add the words (and in life) right after the words, "in Yoga Practice..."

He says:
Believing your doubts is one of the most insidious mind tricks that your ego can play on you. Doubts are not real; they are just illusions created to keep ourselves from taking risks because we are so afraid of failing. Your yoga practice will reveal the real limits that you confront in your body, but it may astound you to discover that many of the limitations you perceive as physical are actually mental. When you believe that you can't, you can't."
And later he continues:
As the saying goes, fight for your limitations and the prize is that you get to keep them. We have the capacity to move beyond where we are right now. All we need to do is have faith.
Many times I've found myself in a pose...that we have been holding for a LONG time. My shoulders can be burning, my legs are tired and my mind is saying, "Give up!" Then the instructor will say, gently, "Doubt your doubts. Your body is stronger than your mind thinks it is..." and it is true.

Then s/he adds, "When you think you need to give up, take just one more breath before you release the pose." I breathe just one more time, shoulders and legs still burning and tired, and find that I CAN do it. Sometimes I get two breaths in before we change poses. I DID IT!

Knowing that true growth happens when you push past your "limits," is fascinating. Experiencing it in my practice and in my life is exhilarating!

I have definitely applied this as a yoga student and plan to use it as I move into a teaching role. These are the most important lessons for me as either a student or a teacher. Things that happen ON the mat also apply OFF the mat.  And so, it's not only yoga, but life lessons.

Where in your life are you "burning and tired?" What messages is your Saboteur telling you? Are you believing these messages and acting on them? If so, maybe it's time to create your own death scene for your Saboteur.

Try doubting your doubts...and see what growth happens.

If you'd like more information on the Saboteur and get a sense for how destructive s/he can be, you can also check out an article that I wrote  for my weekly column that used to be published in The Free Press, but is now published in The Daily Sentinel.


1 comment:

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Ahhh, The Saboteur. She doesn't come around as much as she used to, but I still see her once in awhile.

Mine isn't Jabba-ish, though. She's beautiful and smart-looking, someone to whom it's easy to give up my own power.

But once I label her, she vanishes, for she is just a construct. Not smarter than I am.

I fell backward in yoga class yesterday. Only for an instant did I chide myself and feel embarrassed. I chose instead to congratulate myself for pushing the limit and going further than I ever have.

Great reminders in this post, Sheri!