Have you ever been on stage? Have you ever had that rush of live performance? Of people watching, waiting, hanging on your every word? The applause after a show?
How about – have you ever landed the best presentation at work you’ve ever done? Ever nailed a job interview totally and completely, and knew it, before you were even offered the job?
Well, have you ever flirted with a guy or a girl and thought – now THAT went well? Have you ever consoled a friend, given them brilliant advice and turned their day around? Have you ever made a child smile, giggle, taught them something new – inspired them?
Maybe this – have you ever sang full blast to your favourite tunes in the car and walked through the rest of the day with a spring in your step? Have you ever come out of a yoga class thinking – WOOP I CAN DO THIS! Have you ever had that moment of joy – that unrivalled moment of ‘yes-ness’ that makes you feel like a rockstar?
If it’s from none of the above, you will have had that feeling, and hopefully many times in your life.
You may, or may not believe it, but I am a worrier – anxious, nervous – a born worrier. I worry about booking the taxi early enough to get to Gatwick airport, I worry about the last five minutes of traffic getting to South Terminal even though I know I have given myself so much time it would be impossible to be late. I worry that my liquids won’t pass security even though I know they are less than 50 ml. I worry about getting on the right plane when I fly alone, I worry that even though my boarding pass has been checked I’ve accidentally got on the wrong one. I worry that when I get to Dublin I won’t find the bus terminal that I have found before to get to my sister’s house. I worry when I get there that the presents I have bought for my niece’s birthday aren’t good enough. I worry that I am a rubbish Auntie for not being more prepared and only buying her present at the airport, I worry that at the age of eight she will even notice that, or the fact that I haven’t got her a card… two weeks ago she told me I was the funniest person she has ever met, and I worry that I am not funny enough… I worry about not being good enough on so many levels it is untrue.
But through yoga I have discovered two things:
Firstly within my own practice, I have learned more about my own self worth, I have proved to myself that the things I thought I would never do – like arm balances, or headstands or super flexible leg poses – I can do, or if not I am on the way of getting there. I have learned more about my self worth, I have learned that to get to the place you want to be it takes practice – let’s take the splits for example – I think one day I will do it. If I really focused on it, I would probably be able to do it soon, and if I never do it, it’s because I didn’t dedicate more of my practice to it – it’s not because I am not good enough – it’s because I chose not to pour all my effort into it. I have learned that the same way we practice getting into that yoga pose, we can practice telling ourselves that we are enough. And I have also learned that a simple yoga pose can help to shake off the worry sometimes, and make me feel strong and confident when I need to – popping up into headstand or taking a fierce warrior – the pose can bring me a sudden rush of energy that makes me feel like a rockstar – gives me that buzz of stage energy, that confidence, that worth.
But secondly, and more importantly, from finding yoga, I have found a life purpose (I prefer to call it that than my ‘job’) that enables me to hopefully help others discover their own self worth. Yoga has turned me into someone who ‘shares’ someone who pours their heartfelt feelings out onto social media, bears her soul to the world, and hopefully in doing so raises a little more awareness around the mind and what we all go through on a daily basis. So many problems around mental health come from silence, a lack of communication, struggling with things on our own, closing off and shutting down. All of which I am guilty of. And sometimes, knowing what others go through, can help us put our own thoughts and feelings into perspective – especially when so much of what we see on social media is just the icing on the cake. And would you really compare how good a cake is, just based on the icing alone? What about the sponge? The filling? The ingredients themselves? The flavour? So why compare your whole self, based on someone else’s icing?
You don’t. Or at least you shouldn’t.
So here’s what’s underneath my icing:
Over the last few years I have been through some emotional stuff, some of which I am still going through. It won’t be the worst anyone has ever been through, and it certainly won’t be the worst I am going through, but the effects are there, I have struggled, and I still do. I have good days and bad days. Yesterday, before teaching yoga I was crying in my bathroom at 8.45am. By 9.30am I was teaching to a full room, with a face full of smiles and an arsenal of daft jokes – that wasn’t a front, I am happy when I teach, I found an hour of happiness, went back home, did some jobs, met a friend for lunch and cried again, got back home, did more jobs then went back to teach and found my happiness again, before getting into bed very sad and waking up this morning feeling, well a bit worse – but soon my plane will land and I’ll see my niece and nephews and I’ll forget the sadness for a bit, and find some time for me.
I don’t share this for sympathy, or for your worry, I share this so that you all know, we all have our own stuff from time to time, and no matter how big or small it is, it affects us in the same way – but something that is worth remembering is that happiness is a choice.
We choose to be happy.
And on those darker days we need to save ourselves some time to make our own happiness. We have to be selfish, we have to think of ourselves, we have to put ourselves first. That doesn’t mean that we can’t spread our happiness by doing nice things for others, it just means that we have to check in on our selves before anyone else – otherwise we will have nothing left for ourselves at the end of it.
So for me, I like to think of it as finding your rockstar moment: buying a new pair of shades, or blasting out some music, rocking out an arm balance or the Apana Mudra, dancing like no one is watching, grabbing your partner in a passionate embrace, racing your child down the street while you scream and shout with joy – grabbing your moment with both of your hands and shaking it around until you are wild with glee.
Life is too short to stay stuck, life is too precious to spend it sad, and happiness is too good to miss.
Choose to be happy, and run at it with all your heart.
Spoken from the heart, to your heart, by Emily, your yoga teacher… or as I prefer to call it – your Educational Rockstar*.
*F*ck it, it sounds cooler than teacher, and that makes me happy.