Being a relatively new yoga instructor, I still get quite nervous when I’m teaching…especially at well-established studios. Last Saturday, I woke up in the middle of the night…panicking…in anticipation for a Sunday night class. In the past, this could keep me up for hours and cause considerable fatigue the next day. Thoughts of worst-case scenarios would takeover, and I felt a sense of helplessness as my mind would race. However, on this recent occasion I took a different approach. The first step was focusing on my breath. Gradually deepening my inhales and exhales allowed my body and mind to calm. Next, I visualized a yoga class in which I felt confident, relaxed, and present in the moment. Before I knew it, a smile emerged on my face and I drifted off into a restful oasis.
As President Roosevelt once stated, “The only thing to fear is fear itself”. Growing up in China, I was never familiarized with this expression, and my mindset had always been one of avoiding my fears. While strolling the lovely streets of San Francisco, Roosevelt’s statement was brought to my attention again while listening to a TED Radio Hour podcast, “Painfully Funny.” This podcast was centered on how humor can be harnessed to treat painful disabilities or painful memories, and how essential it is for the individual to embrace and face their situation.
Meditation is my way of facing uncomfortable situations. I always tell my students, breathing is your most powerful healing tool. With the steadiness of breath, meditate into where the nerves are and they will begin to dissolve. And remember, don’t take yourself (or your problems) too seriously.