Monday, March 25, 2013

Face your fears

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about finding your voice. This week, I am writing about facing your fears. Last week Penni, our beloved SweatBox teacher, took her first ever 6:00am class. I had the honor of teaching it. Penni has been practicing Bikram Yoga for more than 15 years and she's never braved an early morning class. When she peeked her head in the studio door at 5:45am, I was shocked, but not as shocked as she was.

Penni, despite her prolific, long-term yoga practice, has always been afraid to practice at 6:00am. After Penni practiced her inaugural 6:00am, she reported feeling great! She was surprised, she said, by how much she enjoyed her class and plans to take another very soon. The day after Penni took my 6:00am class, I took her 9:30am class. She talked in class about how proud she was of herself for breaking the mold, practicing at 6:00am, facing her fears, about how we all need to do the things we are afraid to do. Great words Penni.

Last week I was reading an article in the New Yorker about sleep. The writer talked about how people are Larks or Owls. Larks are people who rise early, are perky right off the bat, perform at their best earlier in the day. Owls, on the other hand perform better later in the day and into the night. They take time to get warmed up and often don't reach their optimal activity level until mid-day. I'm a Lark, 100 percent. I write better in the morning, clean better in the morning, cook better, teach yoga better, practice yoga better. All of it.

Watching Penni face her fears made me think about all the ways I am stuck. For example, I would always choose to practice at 6:00am over 7:00pm. By 7:00pm, I'm usually winding down, craving my sheets and heavy comforter, even in the summer. I worry I won't have enough energy to practice well so late in the day. I'm happy for Penni that she's got a brand new practice time, that she's learned about the new and different strengths she possesses. And I've learned from her.

I've watched a lot of people this 30-Day Challenge push their Lark and Owl edges. Owls are crawling in to the 6:00am to get days 14 and 16 done and Larks are yawning through the 8:45pm to squeeze in day 23. Practically speaking, they are getting their yoga class in, but if you look at the bigger picture, they are getting out of the familiar, facing their fears. Great work everybody. I hope to see you soon at the 7:00pm class.

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