On Yoga, Fear and the Stories We Tell
There is a teaching in yoga that the pose you avoid is the one you need the most.
For me, on the mat, this this was restorative practice. Self care.
In life, this was telling my story. Owning my truth.
There is a quote from Brene Brown that sums up my situation perfectly: “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
For many years I pursued a high intensity, power yoga practice because I thought that if I wasn’t sweating, I was wasting my time. As it turns out, the burn was just me hustling for my own worthiness. I might have been “in shape” physically but inside I was a mess. The same was true in my personal life. In hustling for my own worthiness, I made a pretty big mess of things. I caused a lot of pain and suffering to those around me that I loved and to myself. The loss was big.
It wasn’t until much later, living in a different place, that I began to experience Yoga with the capital 'Y'. Persistent wrist pain demanded that I adopt a more restorative practice. This shift--making time to restore--was not in my comfort zone. But I started to notice that after a restorative class, I would FEEL better, on the inside. Calmer, connected, whole.
The path hasn't been easy--lots of self-reflection and inner work--but gradually, my life is starting to feel more whole again, too. Which leads me to the "telling my story" part. I was an English major in college. I love to read. I write. A lot. I’ve worked as a wine writer and editor for many years. I have written thousands and thousands of words about wine (and quite a bit about yoga, too), along with the complexities of humanity and history surrounding it. I love language and truly enjoy the act of writing. But. I can't. Write. About. Myself. There were times I would try, and blank. Nothing. An impenetrable wall of silence. Fear. This year, I decided to take what I’ve learned from yoga--and from the countless inspirational leaders and teachers who all advise basically the the same thing in different ways--and confront this fear head on. The first step was attending a memoir writing workshop with Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl happened to be headlining the Mammoth Yoga Festival in June and was teaching a workshop titled,"The Stories We Tell". Along with millions of others, I am a huge Cheryl Strayed fan. I decided to give this workshop with Cheryl to myself for my birthday.
As expected, Cheryl goes deep. I cried. A lot. Didn’t write much of substance, but it was a start.
“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
(Brene Brown, again.) The second step is writing this post. The third step is organizing and hosting a memoir writing and wine tasting workshop, coming up on September 7th, with two of my oldest friends, Lauren Miller and Britta Tracy. Lauren is a published author and screenwriter. Britta is a career adviser at UCLA biz school. Together, we recently launched a workshop series called O U T L E T, a passion project devoted to creativity and connection. This is our inaugural workshop, born out of a shared love of writing and belief in writing as a tool for self exploration. We hope to produce more events in the future.
We are have different stories to tell and it is our intention to create a safe and supportive space for you tell your story, too. If this resonates with you, it would be a pleasure if you would join us.
Here is a link for more information:
Sat Sept 7 (Los Angeles)
Chiara "The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.” -Cheryl Strayed