In one of our flow classes recently I guided the yogis into a challenging transition. This transition was not dangerous in any way and I knew everyone present well enough to know that each of them was physically capable of what I was teaching, and were aware of a simpler transition available if they didn't want to try it.
Each of them followed my cues and transitioned to the pose. I didn't pay attention to whether they 'did it perfectly', that wasn't the purpose of the transition - the important thing in that moment was that each of them tried something that was difficult. They gave it their best and went for it, despite knowing that it might not have the outcome they'd hope for. The best part of the practice was that all of the yogis were smiling and were so happy and proud that they'd tried it.
I wondered why, on that day, everyone had gone for this transition when usually there is hesitation and the option to take the simpler transition is taken by most. One of them mentioned afterwards that I had given them no indication that the difficult transition was coming. We hadn't stopped for a breath to prepare, and I hadn't given extra cues or words of encouragement.
They had no time to doubt themselves.
There was no time to tell themselves stories about it being too difficult for them. They had no time to ponder on how they were afraid to do it. They didn't talk themselves into believing it was something they couldn't do. They weren't worried about perfect results.
In the ancient scripts of yoga, there are 9 obstacles (kleshas) in life, both on and off the mat. One of those obstacles is samshaya or doubt.
Doubt makes us get in our own way. We tell ourselves stories that we're not good enough so often that we start to believe them. These limiting beliefs stop us from attempting tasks and challenges. We worry about the results not being perfect so end up not taking action at all.
We can never succeed when we doubt ourselves. When it comes to achieving our goals, imperfect action is better than procrastination and inaction.
This week in the studio we'll bring our awareness to doubt and practice overcoming it with new stories of self confidence and belief. What we practice on our yoga mat is certain to help us off the mat to reach our personal, health, and professional goals.
See you in the studio!