As many of you know, I’m a huge BBF: Brene Brown Fan. I love her books, Ted Talks, and most recently her Netflix documentary, Brené Brown: the Call to Courage. She’s a born storyteller and as she humorously shares stories, you almost don’t realize how much learning, contemplation, and reflection you’re experiencing. In her documentary, she talks about what it means to dare greatly, or to be vulnerable.
Because I believe the world would be a better place if everyone watched Brene’s videos and read her books, I enthusiastically encouraged students to watch her as I began teaching class the other day. I even used the quote that inspired the title of her book Daring Greatly. While I could easily conjure up so many past examples of being vulnerable in my life, it seems ironic that I didn’t see my very next experience in vulnerability and shame as I was heading right into it.
Over spring break, I changed up my flow and it had some tricky transitions. I had already taught it successfully a few times, but this time I ad-libbed some new poses and I got lost. Getting lost in teaching happens—you lose your train of thought, miss a posture, confuse the left with the right, no big deal. But I was really lost, completely disoriented, and without traction. I was so far down the rabbit hole that I couldn’t get out. I was distracted by stories and thoughts in my head: “I’m not good enough to teach” and “I don’t belong here.” After class, a friend who gives very honest feedback told me the class wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, but I was a complete mess. I know it’s just a yoga class, but I still felt inadequate, embarrassed, and ashamed.
Any kind of teaching is generally considered a vulnerable experience. You put yourself out there—your knowledge, ability, values, and emotions. By nature, I’m an introvert. I’m fairly shy. Big parties overwhelm me. When I’m not teaching, I spend a lot of time alone.
Even though teaching yoga isn’t rocket science, time and care go into creating a playlist, theming a class, coming up with a sequence. You don’t really know until you’re in the middle of class if things will come together as you planned or fall apart. I was watching myself fail and it was a perfect reminder of Brene Brown’s lessons. I started my class with her wise words and stumbled into a rabbit hole. I was living her Netflix documentary in my 60-minute flow.
As we approach the two-year anniversary of Rakta Hot Yoga, I think back on all the times I felt vulnerable as I ventured through the process of starting a business in a small town. I’m so glad I chose to dare greatly. I’m so thankful to the Rakta community for all the love and support we have for each other. Brene Brown emphasizes the value of embracing the ordinary versus always chasing the extraordinary. After traumatic events, she says, it’s the small and ordinary things we don’t have anymore that we miss the most—the unremarkable moments that hide between the momentous occasions.
I feel privileged to be able to spend ordinary days with this community coming together on our mats. I do love the extraordinary gatherings (goat yoga, guest teachers, donation classes), but it’s the everyday classes and connecting with people that I love the most.
As we enter into a new year, I vow to continue to dare greatly. I vow to keep taking chances and trying new things. I vow to keep being vulnerable, and I invite you to do the same. Let’s not miss the ordinary for chasing the extraordinary. Let’s allow for vulnerability on our mats, through our flows, and in our lives.
In light and love,