Let Go of Outdated Labels

This morning I woke up early to get ready to teach a 9am live Zoom yoga class from my living room. I always build time into my morning routine for a leisurely cup of hot tea and small breakfast. I like to ease my way into the day without feeling rushed. Even though I knew I shouldn’t, I peeked at Facebook. Trying to resist the urge to get on social media first thing in the morning makes me want to do it even more, so I did it anyway. There it was served just to me, a memory from five years ago today, reminding me to let go of outdated labels.

Teacher Training Graduation Day

5 years ago

On this very day, sitting in this very same living room in Madeira Beach (even though I still lived in Michigan at the time) I registered and paid for yoga teacher training.

Sandy and I had come to Madeira Beach for a sabbatical after three of my family members passed away in quick succession. One of the three was my mom whom I had to remove from life support. I was destroyed and Michigan winter can be merciless so we followed the sun and found ourselves in Madeira Beach.

Before our arrival in the sun, I had a full dislike for yoga. One day, in desperation I decided to give yoga one more try and signed up for a beach yoga class with Madeira Beach Yoga. Since my mom’s death, despite my very best efforts to heal,  I was still shattered.  I was a broken vessel that felt empty, jagged and incomplete. I was willing to try anything, including yoga to try and ease the paralyzing sadness that had encased me.

Yoga hater

Until this point I had labeled myself a yoga hater because I had tried it a couple of times

Yoga is Not Really for Me.

and left class feeling less than, left out, and agitated. Yoga opens space to quiet your mind and be with your thoughts.  And, the thought of being left alone in the painful rooms of my own mind sounded terrifying to me. No thanks. But here we were in Madeira Beach and I really was desperate to feel something other than pain. I’m sure you know where this is going.  I signed up for my first ever beach yoga class with Madeira Beach yoga.  I was terrified to go but I did it anyway because there was no way it could be any worse than how I was currently feeling.

It broke me open. The vulnerability of it, the serenity of it, the opportunity of it all. The sun shining, the waves crashing and me there on my beach towel, moving my body in fun, new and challenging ways. I was positively gobsmacked by the immense healing of it all. Does everyone know how healing this is and I just missed the memo? My impression had erroneously been that yoga was only for thin, incredibly fit women. I had no idea that yoga could be welcoming to everyone and available to anyone. I didn’t know that it could be healing and connecting and could be a launchpad to so much more than your head could even imagine.

Healing Can Happen

Let go of outdated labels, including hating yoga

It made me feel more and it allowed me to feel less. Oh boy, I need more of this. I had been carrying this belief about myself, a label that yoga wasn’t for me and I can’t believe how wrong I was. In the very least I had changed and I was now ready to allow that label to fall away.

For the rest of our time here, I practiced yoga with Madeira Beach Yoga. It inspired me so profoundly that before we left Florida to return to Michigan,  I researched and registered for yoga teacher training. It was a huge commitment of finances and time but I knew it was my next step.

Yoga had shown up for me at exactly the right moment when I needed it the most. It felt imperative for me to share that with others. I wanted to reach out to others who were yoga timid too, those who felt too afraid to try, because yoga is so much more than I had thought.

Yoga teacher training

That day was five years ago today. I sat on the same couch that I am sitting on now and registered for yoga teacher training. I now get to co-own the yoga studio that changed my life forever. Yoga is the reason we moved to Madeira Beach. It is the reason I feel so at home in my body and skin for the first time in my life. Yoga is the reason I feel so connected to a community that I absolutely adore. How different would my life have been, had I not taken that crazy chance five years ago? I could never have known the incredible opportunities that would await me.

First Week Teaching for MBY

Despite naysayers (yup there were quite a few) I did it anyway and I can honestly say I have never, ever loved doing anything more. Sharing yoga with anyone and everyone interested in learning has been my greatest honor and privilege. I would have missed it all had I been stuck in my own story, my outdated label, that I didn’t like yoga or that yoga was not for me.

Rewrite your story

I challenge you to let go of your preconceived notions of yourself and rewrite any part of your story that is no longer serving you. We all hold opinions and thoughts about ourselves that become outdated or are no longer true.

For ages I referred to myself as really shy. “I’m very shy, I’m just really shy. ” If you’ve met me even once you know I’m totally not shy at all,  so I have dropped that unnecessary label and just allowed myself to be as outgoing as I feel like being. I was also terrified to be on camera and shared that label anytime it came up. Sandy had been suggesting for years that we video yoga classes so we could share them more widely and just the thought of it brought up a visceral panic that rose inside of my chest like a tidal wave. Nope, not me. I would remind her, “I’m not good on camera, I’m not comfortable on camera.”

Be flexible and flowing with yourself

Now, all we do is teach yoga on camera. Had I not been faced with the opportunity (challenge) to start teaching on camera I would never have known how much I really enjoy it. As it turns out, I’m not really shy or camera shy at all. Those were outdated labels that I still carried around about myself. I don’t even know where they originated but it doesn’t much matter. Allow yourself to be flexible and flowing even in your thought about yourself and your abilities. I’m more interested in being my most awesome self than I am in caring about where my limitations came from. You are always changing and growing and adapting. The next time you hear yourself leaning on an outdated label or thought about yourself, I encourage you to ask yourself if maintaining that thought still serves you. If it doesn’t, let it go.

I think you will be surprised by all of the extraordinary ways your life and experiences can open up when you are willing to let go of your outdated beliefs about yourself. I support you.

~Sherry


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