I was teaching yoga on Monday night, I had decided to teach a Chakra yoga class. Throughout class, all of the poses we did were to balance out the 2nd Chakra, which is also called Svadisthana, and means sweetness. There had been a mix up in the schedule, and the teacher I trade off teaching Monday nights with, was listed as the teacher instead of myself. A lot more people than usual showed up for class which lead me a bit into self-doubt. I started wondering “wow is this how many people usually show up for the other teacher’s class, and so few people show up for mine?” Then I thought it could be because the weather has started to change and less people attend yoga when it’s beautiful outside in the summer. Whichever reason it was, I had a full class and quite a few of the students I haven’t had in class very often. I decided to stick with my plan for teaching 2nd chakra.
I know a couple of the yoga participants that showed up don’t like my classes, they are the kind of people that always need something to complain about. They had stopped attending my class, which honestly, I didn’t mind much, I hadn’t been missing their negative energy. However, I decided to let all those thoughts go and just teach the best class that I could teach.
Something very interesting about teaching chakra yoga classes is, whichever chakra we are working on, at the end of the class, after that chakra is balanced, I can easily see the yoga students exhibiting the characteristics of that chakra.
So, after the “sweetness” chakra class was over, ALL of the students were incredibly sweet. They each came up to thank me for class and tell me how wonderful it was. Some of them thanked me multiple times. Even the couple that usually dislikes my class and complains the entire time said they really enjoyed class, and that it was an excellent session. Even I was floored when they gave me that compliment.
Here’s what this situation made me realize… When I taught a yoga class focusing on bringing out sweetness in people, everyone was sweet, even those that usually complain. If it’s possible to bring out sweetness in those types of people… what else could be accomplished?
What If Everyone Focused A Little More On Sweetness, and A Little Less On Self Doubt?
When I decided to push through my self-doubt about why this class was so well attended and focus instead on delivering the best class I could, I not only showed those people that I could teach a great class, I also improved each person’s day. What a win, right?
Here’s something I learned in yoga teacher training that helped me a lot, that could also possibly help you… When you are nervous, or are doubting yourself or your abilities, you’re focusing on you. And that nervousness and/or doubt isn’t serving anyone (including you!), so instead turn your focus to others. It helps to take away your nerves and your doubt. And it helps you to better serve them. Win – win, everyone feels better!
How much of your day do you focus on being sweet? Probably not much right? Maybe when you’re interacting with your pets or with your children, or your partner. That’s probably natural though, you’re maybe not focusing on it. But what would happen if you did focus on sweetness?
How great does it feel when you smile at a stranger and they smile back at you? I smiled a woman when I was walking in to teach yoga on Monday and she gave me a huge smile back, and we just held eye contact and kept smiling. It was a great moment.
What about giving someone a compliment? Or taking the time to truly thank them for something? Doesn’t that just make you feel warm inside? Wouldn’t you like to feel that way more often? Also, even if you are naturally sweet to your significant other and your kids and your pets, I bet you could deepen that feeling or increase your level of caring or understanding.
Imagine if everyone did this, wouldn’t that be a neat effect?
A Challenge For You
Here’s a little challenge for you to take it to the next level, and it’s TOUGH! Can you be sweet and kind (truly, not sarcastically) to someone that is being crabby or rude to you? Guys, this is something I aspire to, intellectually, I can totally understand how this would work SO well! But in the moment, I find that my emotions take over and get in the way.
Often when someone is being mean or rude, it’s tied to their underlying insecurity or fear. In a backwards way they are looking for validity that THEY ARE ENOUGH, and that THEY ARE LOVED. This may sound odd, but think about a time when you were angry or mean.
Picture that scenario in your head and think about what caused you to feel that way. Now think about whomever caused those angry feelings or sad feelings or frustrated feelings. In the middle of the argument, if they had sincerely walked up to you and hugged you and told you “I love you, you are enough.” “Everything is going to be ok.” Would that have completely changed how you were feeling? (I realize if this scenario was with a stranger, this example doesn’t work as well, I’m thinking more of an argument with a family member, or significant other, or friend). Even if the argument was with a stranger though, do you think that they’re maybe acting out because of a situation they’re going through at home or at work where they are wondering those same things?
If you think deeply about that argument and what was making you angry or sad, was the source of that feeling wondering if you were enough or if you were loved? At the very base level?
If someone showed you love and kindness and sweetness while you were feeling that, would it have completely changed how you felt? I know it would change how I felt, in an INSTANT.
That’s my challenge to you, if you can do that successfully, CONGRATS! Truly, that is something I am working on. I would love to be the master of that skill.
Something That Will Help With Inviting More Sweetness Into Your Life
The year I was doing my super strict diet, and was eating incredibly healthy, when lent came around I couldn’t think of what to give up for those six weeks at first. Usually I would give up something like sugar or alcohol, but I was already giving those things up. What could I give up for those six weeks?
Then I had an idea, I would give up complaining for lent. Sounds a bit odd maybe, but I had a feeling it would make me feel great! It’s an interesting thing to do, suddenly when someone asks about your day, you search for the good things that happened instead of the problems. And if you do think of a problem, you have to think of a way to talk about how it taught you something or helped you grow. Interesting, right? It changes the way your brain gathers information. It’s quite transformative. If you want to invite more sweetness into your life, try giving up complaining. This is something I think I’m going to start up again.
Our brains are wired to look for problems and to focus on the negative, but that doesn’t mean we can’t re-wire them. It takes daily practice, but it sure does make life sweeter! Think about how you’d feel about your day if you couldn’t complain; thinking through your day, what new things would you notice and appreciate? The warmth of your coffee in the morning? Snuggling with your significant other at night? Your dog running to greet you at the door, even if you’ve only been gone for 5 minutes? The sunrise when you need to be up early? The feel of the sun on your skin or the wind in your hair?
It Always Comes Back To Gratitude
I know I sound like a broken record if you’ve been reading my other blog posts, but really, I think most things come back to gratitude. When you take time to focus on what you’re grateful for, life does feel sweeter. Gratitude is something that builds on itself, the more you pay attention to it, the more things you feel grateful for and you begin to practice gratitude with much less effort.
I am a total night owl, but since I’ve been practicing gratitude, now every morning when I wake up, without even thinking about it, I say to myself something like the following. “Wow, I’m so grateful for this morning, I’m grateful for my family and for my boyfriend and for my life.” “I’m grateful for this day, etc.” This all happens with me hardly thinking about it. I just open my eyes and those are the first thoughts in my head.
When I used to wake up in the morning I would think something like “I’m so tired, or it’s too early or I didn’t get enough sleep last night.” I’m sure you can see how focusing on gratitude has really changed the feeling of my mornings. That’s just one example of what focusing on gratitude can do for you. Try it out!
In conclusion, life is better if we take time to focus on being sweet to those around us (and ourselves!) and focus on gratitude. Spend less time focusing on self-doubt and complaining. I challenge you to notice the sweetness in your life this week, to be extra kind to others, and to take time to practice gratitude!
Wishing you all peace and love as you go through the rest of your week!