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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Sep 5, 2008


Tomorrow morning the new group of Anusara Immersion students meet. We are having a short orientation meeting followed by a practice. There is very little preparation I need to do for tomorrow as the main focus is to have these students lay heir eyes on one another - all at one time and all in the same place. It is a great group of people - really wonderful. I honestly believe the year ahead will be as wonderful as any Immersion group has ever been.

So all day long I've been wondering, "WHY am I so anxious?" I've had a nervous stomach and I've been doing nervous eating - I keep wandering to the kitchen looking for something to eat. I'm pretty full by now!

It doesn't seem to help that I've taught Immersions so many times now, or that I am what you might call "permanently over-prepared." (I have been in the Yoga world "a long time." Any preparation I do can easily become an exercise in "too much". The thing I have to be the most careful about when I teach is "Too Much Information.") And yet, here I sit, thinking & feeling, "Oh no! I am not prepared!"

Knowing and liking all the new students doesn't save me from anxiety either. I've got the jitters. Anything could happen! I am not in charge ultimately. I feel like I'm stepping off a cliff into the unknown - because I am. It's this way every single time. Something will arise from the group , the kula, that is not mine to manage or control. Never mind that what arises often enlivens and delights me.

My absolutely predictable worry at the beginning of these Immersions and really at all sorts of times all the way through them, is that I am not prepared enough! I should have my notes organized differently! I should have done this! I should have done that! And every time I come up to this threshold, this new beginning with a new group of students, I experience - in tandem with anxiety - an obstinate refusal to spend more time preparing. This doesn't help my anxiety, let me tell you! What would help the anxiety is to prepare and prepare some more. Maybe even to go to an office store and buy a brand new set of supplies to organize the material. There have been times when I've followed that strategy. My anxiety gets nicely dulled - wrapped in a cotton bunting of perfectly organized notes full of brilliant material. When I do this, the results are always bad. I end up not teaching from my heart and not connecting well with the hearts of my students because my head is just too primed and can hardly wait to show off it's stuff!

I've come to see my "should do more prep" impulse as very similar to my nervous eating - a way to get around having to be feel my anxiety as I face into the unknown.

[Just back from another trip to the kitchen where I ate some delicious hummus and crackers. While there, I told Eli, my 19 year old son, about my nervous condition. He could relate. He told me that some of his friends go into an interview with an entire list of questions. He can't do that. He feels he has to wait and see, and then respond to the situation that presents itself. And this make him anxious.]

So - How about this - I'll stop worrying about prepping and switch to worrying about whether I'll feel bloated tomorrow after all this grazing.

And, bloated or not, I'll stay connected to Heart - my own and the students'. And to the One Heart from which Yoga arises - the Source of all this love and study.

1 comment:

  1. Another great post!

    For many years I was really involved in Holotropic Breathwork, which is a very cathartic, intense sort of trasnpersonal psychology work done with loud evocative music and so on. The guy who developed the method of work on self is a genius named Stanislav Grof. (The basic thing is that you do heavy breathing to loud music-not dissimiliar from Rebirthing but not the same either-) and all kinds of inner expereinces arise.

    ANYHOO-- I tell all of that because one of my mentors in the work once told me that Grof told her that there is not one time ever that he does not go to the stereo to turn on the muusic when he doesn't think-"This time, nothing will happen for these people."

    Phrased in the positive- Every time he goes to the stereo he thinks, "This time this will not work." Even though he has faciliated the work for over 30 years.

    So I think about that when I ever I am nervous or dealing with self-doubt, etc. so that I do not compound my nervousness by getting freaked out that it is arising. I just try to get to know "what happens for me" prior to presenting.

    Kind of like you saying you know not to over prepare now. Very cool.