The end of last year felt like the end of an era to me. My dance instructor of 6 years retired from teaching, and when the new year rolled around, I didn’t know what to do with myself for awhile! My yoga practice was a little limited due to a wrist injury, and my home away from home (dance studio) was no longer the same. I finally made the decision to make the most of this opportunity that was given to me, and try various dance studios and teachers, and search for someone who could take me to the next level in my dancing.
Dance is my love and life, and I always get excited when I’m about to step onto the dance floor. But one lesson I had recently completely floored me. I felt patronised, I was laughed at and I felt extremely disappointed afterwards. The teacher was totally different to what I was used to. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like I didn’t belong. All these fears I had never once felt before on a dance floor.
I drove home in a cloud of anger and confusion. At first I directed my distress at the teacher, but then I became more angry at myself for beating myself up and doubting myself!! So what did I do? I took myself off to a yoga class.
I arrived early and sat on my mat and closed my eyes. I started focussing on my breath. My cloud of worry and frustration and anger started to clear as I brought my attention back into my own body and breath. As the class started I felt stress and tension release from my body and I really melted into the moment. By the end of savasana, I really didn’t want to get up!
As I drove home, I realised something. I love yoga because there is no judgement. It’s not a competition. It’s not about being the most flexible or standing on your head. It’s about becoming at peace with yourself. It’s about the union of mind and body, and learning to accept and love yourself in the moment. And it’s about what goes on inside the body regardless of what happens in the external world.
This was a lesson I needed to apply to my dancing.
I started to remember that no-one can MAKE you feel anything. Your emotions are your decision, and are under your control not someone else’s. I remembered that everything that happens is just an experience, and that only I can place emotions and meaning onto it. And I needed to let go of the judgement and doubt and fears and just be in my body, in the moment. Believe in myself and stand up for what I know to be true.
The next time I walked back into that dance studio it was a totally knew experience and I loved it. I felt more present, I felt more confident and I really enjoyed the lesson. I feel grateful for having been given the opportunity to remember those things. There are lessons to be learnt from every experience if we are open enough to become aware of them.