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Vulnerability Archives - Rakta Hot Yoga

Impermanence

By Mindfulness, Values, Vulnerability, Wellness, Yoga No Comments

Impermanence is the state of lasting for only a limited period of time. A very dear friend of mine is moving away from this valley in just two weeks. She is relocating to Pennsylvania which seems awfully far away. As I think back on the many fun times we’ve had together, I realize I never expected this past spring would have been the last time we rode horses through pastures of baby calves. I never thought we would have already played our last game of pickleball or taken our last Snow Bowl bowling lesson together. We all know change is a constant and certain part of life. In yoga, we practice presence on and off our mat. We understand tomorrow isn’t promised to us, but even with that knowledge, do we really embrace life and those around us?

Another friend of mine from Denver is getting ready to square off with stage three breast cancer. Surgery and chemotherapy are in her future. She is one determined and strong woman, and I have been inspired by her for years. I fully believe she will crush cancer, but I know she has a fight ahead and her life of leading yoga and fitness classes and owning a gym will abruptly change for a bit. How often do we think about our practice of yoga as a gift instead of just something we schedule at 8:30am between our morning routine and the start of our work day?

When I lived in Denver, I was a tired mom of two young and energetic kids. I could easily create a pity party of the never ending needs and demands of raising children. Driving my route for daily errands, I would occasionally (and seemingly when I needed it the most) drive past the house of an older woman going through chemotherapy. Her elderly, frail husband would help her with her walker as she slowly made her way from the house to the car. Thinking about what she faced each day initiated the immediate attitude reset I needed. Awareness about her situation heightened my gratitude for my own health and lifestyle. I wasn’t in and out of a hospital or doctor’s office; I was running in the park with a stroller and playing in the sunshine with my kids.

We take so many things for granted. The place we call home, our beautiful Yampa Valley, is one that so many people from all over the country want to see and visit. We regularly experience gorgeous weather and we can enjoy long trails that take us away on hikes, bikes, or skis. We share our lives and land with wild animals that seem exotic to city dwellers. And, we can easily connect with each another through the wonderful small businesses around town including gyms and yoga studios.

We take so much for granted until one day life instantly changes. Maybe you get sick or injured and your routine is interrupted. Maybe you need to tend to a family member or friend who faces sobering challenges. Suddenly that typical yoga class or regular walk up Spring Creek with your dog sounds so lovely. You wish you could be in the routine you took for granted. As we have learned this year, things can change in a moment. Again and again. My wish is that we all approach our time, our activities, and our loved ones with real-time authentic presence and gratitude.

In light and love,

Sandy

Brene Brown, Netflix, and my Rabbit Hole

By Brene Brown, Values, Vulnerability, Wellness No Comments

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,

Sandy