Ever hear a yoga teacher say, “Who would you be without the labels and roles you play in life?” Maybe you say it to yourself. Seems to make sense. As if dumping everything that you are will bring you peace or connect you to who you were truly meant to be.
To really get to that peace, that stillness of the mind, the yogas citta vrtti nirodhah, we need to stop resisting and pushing against who we were born to be. Embrace all of ourselves.
I was called too-sensitive all the time in my younger years. That I needed to stop being so sensitive, like it was a bad thing to be. As I entered adulthood I was already sure that who I was, highly-sensitive, in essence, was bad. And I did my best to turn it off. I packed my tender heart up in a big fat snow parka so that I wouldn’t feel so deeply. This is mostly the place I was in when I began teaching yoga. With a deep protective layer around my heart.
The problem is I was covering up and protecting my truth and what I held so dear. All of the healing and wonderful gifts that nine years of yoga had given me. I was so accustomed to protecting that I was unable to fully give my students the aspects of yoga that I loved so much. There was no way I would chant OM, talk about chakras, allow myself to feel people’s energy. Nothing but the poses. I was afraid of being labeled a crazy yoga lady. I didn’t even feel comfortable filling in the “occupation” blank with the words “Yoga Instructor.”
Nine years have passed since those first teaching days and it is only recently that I see that being a highly-sensitive crazy-yoga-lady is a gift. I can feel people’s energy for sure, positive, negative, somewhere in between. Sometimes I can see people’s auras and get imagery around their energy. I can feel the vibrations of their thoughts. Not everyone gets that or believes it, but in learning more about these gifts I’ve learned these are good things and actually really cool.
I’m loving embracing my labels. I’m calmer and more at peace internally. I am a way better yoga teacher now than I was even a couple of years ago. I arrive at each class knowing that I can use my sensitivity, my love for all things crazy-yoga, and wisdom to address or mindfully choose not to address the energy I’m getting from a student or a room full of students. I am more confident during and more fulfilled after class.