I don’t know about you, but my mind can be a very scary place if I allow it.
Case in point: what happened to me last week.
As many of you know, I teach yoga and I absolutely love it. I write a brand new “flow” or class every two weeks, meaning my classes during that timeframe stay pretty much the same. This is very typical for yoga teachers (at least at my studio).
No matter how long you’ve been teaching, introducing a new flow is always nerve-wracking and almost never goes as well as you would hope the first time you teach it. Sometimes it’s the first time I’ve ever taught a specific pose or transition. There are usually major adjustments to be made based on timing and as I teach, I’m able to observe the room and see if what I planned makes sense as students move through the poses.
It’s like the first draft of a blog post or a book. After doing it once, I make adjustments and by the end of the two weeks after I’ve taught the flow several times, it’s a well-oiled machine.
Last week, it was time to introduce a new flow. Class started off great- the introduction of my theme went over well. The warmup was perfectly fine and sun salutations were strong. As I headed into the first real sequence of class, things started to go downhill.
Instead of trusting my memory or my instincts to adapt if my memory didn’t serve me, I relied heavily on my notes and demonstrating and ended up confusing myself. I skipped a whole side (not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things; this is a common mistake teachers make that can be easily fixed) but as soon as I realized that it happened, I began unraveling and my mind spiraled into a dark place.
“Ugh, you skipped a side! Way to go. These students are going to think you suck.”
Then, the voice in my head got a little meaner.
“You know, you really aren’t that great at teaching yoga. Why did you think you could do this again?”
Then, I started beating myself up for things not even yoga related!
“Actually, you’re just a disaster, in general. Quitting your job to run your own business? Seriously? You’re never going to be able to make that work long-term.”
Then, it got even more personal.
“Oh, and good luck finding a boyfriend. Pretty sure you’re undateable.”
WAIT, WHAT???!!!??? Where did all of *that* come from?
And on and on the (incredibly mean) dialogue went in my head. All while I was still teaching a room full of students. Needless to say, I may have been physically present in the room, but mentally, I was stuck in my own head, way down the rabbit hole.
I felt crappy.
I felt sorry for myself on my drive home.
I wallowed in my own self-pity for a little while.
But here’s what I realized the next day, after I allowed some time to pass and finally pulled myself out of my own head:
One mistake does not define me.
One class does not define my yoga teaching.
One day, or week or month in my business does not define my future success.
One date does not define my future capacity to find love.
One ANYTHING does not define me.
Or you, for that matter.
It’s time to get out of our own heads. Because, if you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get completely lost in a fake, made-up world where you tell yourself lies. Where you aren’t the kindest, most compassionate version of yourself. Where one mistake is magnified and appears to be 100x bigger than it really is.
Talk to a friend or loved one about your struggle. Take a bath. Drink a glass of wine. Read a book. Go to bed early. Watch an episode of trashy TV.
Do something to pull you out of your head and back into the present moment.
Recognize your feelings. And then watch them pass you by as you say “Yeah, I see you there, but I’m good. We don’t need to keep dwelling on this. BYE!”
Keep moving forward. Slowly climb out of your head, out of the rabbit hole…and back into the real world.
PS- I taught that same class on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and it went super well! I received such positive feedback from my students. Whew! Again, one small mistake does not define you 🙂
Have you ever gotten lost in your own head? I’d love to hear your story! How did you pull yourself out of it?
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