Lying on my back in shavasana (corpse pose) during my first night of Yoga Teacher Training at Waynesville Yoga Center, the instructor asked us to think of an image and set an intention for this new journey.
As I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in, I could see The Fool tarot card clearly in mind. I’d pulled it from my deck just a couple of days earlier. The card depicts a person usually standing on the edge of a cliff with a small sack over their shoulder. They appear carefree and ready to embark on a journey without a clear picture of where they are going.
The Fool symbolizes a new journey, new beginnings, following one’s heart and taking a leap of faith. I smiled on my yoga mat. How beautiful, I thought, and so appropriate that The Fool will be my guide on my journey this year. I know I have a lot I can learn from The Fool — not only how to step out in faith to try something new (even when you don’t feel ready), but to be able to embark on the journey with an open heart and mind and leaving behind any fear, anxiety and expectation.
We all know that is easier said than done because we all carry so much fear about the unknown. As I spoke to other participants in the YTT class with me, I quickly realized I was not the only one who had massive anxiety about starting this program. Imposter Syndrome can quickly set in after committing to something outside of our comfort zone.
Shitty thoughts swirl around the brain:
I have no idea what I’ve signed up for!
I don’t have enough experience!
There’s no way anyone would take a yoga class from me!
I can’t even do lotus pose, how can I expect to be a teacher?
I’m not flexible! I’m not thin like other instructors!
So many ways our brains try to talk us out of the things we want to do, but it’s important to know that our brains are wired to try to protect us from the unknown. It’s also important to know we can override that negativity by reassuring our brains that this new journey is not a threat. Give it a pep talk if you need to:
“Look, I know your job is to protect me, but I got this!”
“We can do hard things!”
“We can try things we’ve never done before - it doesn’t mean our life is in danger.”
“It doesn’t matter if other people think my goal is ridiculous!”
“No offense, brain, but I’m going to let my heart and my intuition take the wheel on this one.”
The Fool is our reminder that life is just one big experiment, meant to offer us new experiences and adventures. A reminder that without life’s sorrows, we wouldn’t recognize the joys. Without failures, victories wouldn’t taste as sweet. Without struggle, we wouldn’t know gratitude. The Fool invites us to embrace the natural flow of life, with all of its mysteries.
As our class of 10 realized that we all held similar anxieties and insecurities, it was easier to settle into the first weekend session and accept that none of us knew what the next 10 months would have in store for us — and that’s OK. Accepting that we all signed up for this program for a reason allowed us to be in the present moment and just get curious about the journey.
I’ve already learned so much in the first weekend from our amazing instructors and my classmates. Everytime one of them is brave enough to show up as their authentic and imperfect selves, it makes it easier for me to show up as I am, knowing that is always enough. With the beginner anxiety subsiding, I am looking forward to a year of growth and adventure.
Whether you are on your own journey of growth — internally or externally — I hope you can begin looking for the beauty amid the mess and find the strength to keep going even when you don’t know the way.