Dropping my Self Doubt Drawers: how to be a yoga instructor, sort of

Embracing my life as a yoga instructor felt like stepping naked into a bustling room of judgemental model citizens you want desperately to impress. When I dropped the “I’m teaching yoga while I apply for jobs” or “I have yoga to fall back on, I guess” lines, it felt like dropping my drawers and shouting out “here I am, condescending world!”

Fear of what “they” would think; the harsh judgements I assumed my (ex)boyfriend, teachers, and family would make; my own insecurities – these things kept me inside a box, walled in from what I’m really made to do. Truthfully, I was my own biggest critic and every excuse was more to convince myself than others.

Deciding to finally shred Self Doubt and toss it out my obscenely overpriced 8th floor window onto the Amazon headquarters and South Lake Union houseboats below, I was certain, would induce a flailing plummet into the black abyss of mediocrity and a hand-me-down existence.

This wasn’t true. It wasn’t false either. I did not soar into yoga-lebrity fame or miraculously attract gobs of wealthy clients with my yoga genius. But I did find freedom from the uncomfortably tight, prickly hold of self-degrading excuses, half-lies and a half-lived life. And guess what? “They” didn’t really give two shakes after all.

Daily still, shreds of that Self Doubt chase me around Queen Anne into grocery store encounters, acquaintance introductions and perceived judgements from suburbanite second cousins.

Luckily, every breath in every class brings me back. It “zooms me out,” as productiondreams.com blogger Teresa writes. It reminds me that I f-ing love this stuff and I never get sick of it. So “here I am, condescending world,” and if my naked lifestyle offends I suggest you zoom out too.

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And then just like that, Self Doubt and I decided to head to Seattle to pursue a more “typical” career, a more “stable” career. We moved into a beautiful apartment on Capitol Hill, went to work every day with really great people and started to build a life in Washington-a corporate life, a 9-5 life, a what Beyonce calls the “Working 9-5 just to stay alive” life. Self Doubt was having a great time while I was so far from my true self that I felt like someone had taken my dreams, put them in a blender and pushed “frappe”. My life was one big dream crushing smoothie.

Self Doubt and I also met a really handsome, smart, ambitious man, the kind of man that is the perfect distraction from the dream crushing smoothie that is now tragically dripping all over your silk dress. See the thing about being in a relationship with Self Doubt is that you are constantly trying to find a way to validate so you can break up with it. I need a job that fulfills me so I can leave Self Doubt, I need to be financially well off so I can leave Self Doubt, I need someone to love me so I can leave Self Doubt. The truth is, you find out later, way after you needed to find out, that you can leave Self Doubt at any time.

You show up. You breathe. You put one foot in front of the other, and some days you trip and you fall but you keep coming back to the motto “It’s time to Zoom Out”. And you proudly say “I am a storyteller and that is a beautiful thing”, and you walk your own damn dog and your life is yours again, because a change in your perspective can change your life.

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