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You Are Ready Now

“If not now, when?”

This is a question that has stayed with me ever since my 200-hour teacher training back in 2013. When I was applying for the training I remember experiencing constant flashes of doubt and fear. I had only been practicing yoga for a few years and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to become a teacher. I mean, my handstand was almost nonexistent, and I have never in my life considered myself to be flexible, and standing in front of a classroom full of people expecting me to tell them what to do?? Yeah, right. Teacher? Me? No Way.

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But my teacher, she told me something different. With a smile she asked me the question: “If not now, when?” I’m sure I had a look of confusion, and shock, painted across my face, but then she said the words, “Caitlin, you are ready now.”

It’s easy for us to come up with excuses for why we aren’t ready now… It’s even easier to sit back and wait until we think the timing is juuuust right… Basically, it’s easy to stay confined within the walls of our perfectly constructed comfort zone.

But easy is not what makes us grow.

The harsh reality is: we may never think we are ready. And if we stay trapped in that mindset, waiting until the perfectly ripe moment, life will surely pass us by. Fast. The chances will have expired and we will have to live with regret, thinking about all the things that could have been if we were just willing to go for it.

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You are ready now. You are ready for whatever it is that you have been putting off: a new job, a yoga teacher training, traveling to a new country, meeting new people, or stepping into a whole new way of being. Drop the limiting beliefs and transform the feelings of self doubt into compassion, curiosity and motivation to experience something new.

Give it a go, and let yourself be open to what’s possible. Sure, new things can be scary, challenging, and even awkward, but it’s the scary, the challenges, the awkwardness that will eventually lead us to growth. Because when we allow ourselves to stay with those feelings and learn to not run away from them, they lose their ferocity and they become a little less intimidating.

And we realize that deep down inside, we knew we were ready all along.

 

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Cait Lawson is a 26-year-old yogi, surfer and entrepreneur currently living in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Her goal as a yoga/SUP yoga/surf instructor is to empower others to drop their doubts, to discover their own strength, to let their true light shine.

Connect:

http://www.sunburntandsalty.com/

Trust Your Process

After a pretty sleepy December we’ve finally started to see some solid surf strolling through this little corner of Rincon, Puerto Rico. Tres Palmas woke up, and from the 413 just above the cow fields people stopped their cars and whipped out their iPhones to take witness of the beautiful, blue mountains of water rolling across the sea (and I only say this because I did it, too). It was simply majestic and something that this surf town hasn’t seen in a little while.

Over the past year I’ve noticed an urge to get out into some bigger waves. As my surfing armbalanceworkshopis improving and my confidence getting stronger I’ve felt a desire to start pushing my limits, mindfully that is… but surfing bigger, heavier waves is something I thought I’d never want to do. And now it’s actually starting to feel more like a reality. It’s kind of a personal thing, I guess. Because surfing has been and always will be for fun. But I’m ready for it, I think, and sometimes it feels good to really see some growth and transformation, ya know?

Anyways, I got out there a couple of times. I managed to catch a few smaller waves, and I took a few on the head as well. I experienced fear, elation, frustration, and anxiety. I was humbled. And I didn’t even paddle out on the “big day,” because I was flat out scared shitless. And you know what I did? I beat myself up for it. Thoughts like, “You should have been out there. You’re such a wimp. You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough,” started pouring through my mind. I was super harsh towards myself. And I caught myself getting sucked into the vortex of negative energy and limiting beliefs.

I wasn’t practicing the one thing that I always preach – and that was compassion.

Just as I’ve learned compassion towards myself on my yoga mat, I must apply that same compassion towards myself in every other area of my life – surfing, work, teaching, relationships, – and just as I couldn’t expect myself to nail Crow Pose during my first-ever yoga class, I can’t expect myself to be an expert in bigger, heavier surf within just a few sessions.

Compassion reminds us that we must place our trust in the process and allow our journey to unfold exactly as it should. Not how we think it should. Because really, in yogaseq2 or surfing or life, what is the final destination? Well in life I guess it’s death, but there is really no prize for being the first one there. So as long as you’re kicking there is always an opportunity to expand – to go bigger or deeper or further. There is always room for growth.

But there’s no finish line. So why rush?

This awareness of a need to prove myself, or prove my self-worth, through big wave surfing, seems to shine a light on where I am trying to prove myself in other areas of my life. I want to be the best surfer that I can be. I want to be the best yogi I can be. I want to be the best yoga teacher. I want to be successful and well-liked and always going 110%, full-throttle every single day. But that’s not always the case, because life is life. It has its ups and downs, flat spells and mackin’ swells that come through and rattle you, shake you up a little bit… So whether it’s my surfing, my teaching, my personal yoga practice, or my relationships with others I’ve committed to returning to the practice of trusting MY process: slowing down, doing the work that I need to do, letting go of the rest, and just enjoying the journey that I’m on.

When we trust the process, our process, we know that we are on our right path. Enjoy the place you are at, because it’s exactly where you need to be. Trust that growth and transformation is happening, especially during the times that you don’t see it. Because it’s there. It’s happening. And when we let go of our story as to how the end result show be, that’s when we usually end up surprising ourselves. Trust YOUR Process!

 

 

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Caitlin Lawson: Professional Surf Bum. Yogi. Teacher. Student. Ambassador of Love. Usually a little sunburnt, always salty, and currently living in Rincon, Puerto Rico. I love this island. The ocean keeps me grounded and I can never turn down a good adventure.

 

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Lessons from a Teacher & Student

 

I’ve loved yoga since I was 13, when my dad let me borrow his yoga postures handbook from the 70’s. I fell more deeply in love with the practice over the past couple of years and when I came to the realization that I wanted to teach yoga, I me-yogafeared change. I was scared of how my personal yoga practice might change as a student when I started teaching it. I thought I might fall out of love with yoga, because I was doing it for a living. Not so!

I am blessed to be both a teacher and student of yoga and life! Being on both sides of the table means I develop awareness about my body, mind and soul and see how yoga is embodied and understood in others–which is truly inspiring. So, I thought I’d share the lessons I’ve learned from playing both roles.

We’re All the Same

Don’t get your lulu’s in a knot just yet. I recognize that we are all unique (see below), but I also recognize how similar we are. On a basic, universal level we are all one. I’ll experience struggle on my mat in a certain pose and then see the same struggle in the face of a student in the same pose when I teach. It is only by seeing ourselves in others that we are able to truly connect, be present and empower others. As far as I’m concerned, we all sweat, loathe certain poses, celebrate others AND we all crave inner peace. Because I’m able to recognize our sameness as human beings, I have access to more compassion for people and a deeper kind of self-love.

We’re All Unique

As human beings, we’re all made from the same cloth, but each of us is also marked by uniqueness. I can say a cue or give direction when I’m teaching and see it resonate differently with every single person in the class. For example, if Idancers say ‘engage your core,’ one student might hug their lower belly in towards their spine, another might draw the front of their ribs together, while another might tuck their tailbone under to straighten their spine. We all interpret information differently and experience yoga in different ways. As both a teacher and student, individuality reminds me of the power of yoga to heal and transform anybody and any BODY!

Living Means Growing

As a yoga teacher and student I am always learning and growing. I’m learning from my students and they are learning from me. As a student, I learn from my teachers and they, hopefully, learn from me, and then the cycle repeats itself. Whether I’m practicing yoga or teaching it I’m constantly learning about the body, mind and soul and the importance of feeding each aspect. My yoga journey so far has taught me that it all comes back to self-love. When we show ourselves love and compassion the path towards growth and enlightenment doesn’t seem as impossible and intimidating, because we know we deserve it, need it and can handle anything that comes our way! Not to mention, when we love ourselves deeply we can love those around use deeply, too.

Namaste.

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Eryl McCaffrey is a Yoga Teacher from Toronto, Ontario. She’s also a Freelance Writer, who’s passionate about health and wellness. Eryl believes in the power of love to heal and advance the world. Blog: twofeetheartbeat.wordpress.com

How Hawaii Cracked Me Open

I’m writing this face down on a massage table while getting tattooed in Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii.

I’m leaving Sunday afternoon to head back home to Philadelphia. I’ve been on the big island for almost three and a half months, staying at an eco resort on the Puna side.

I came here in April, just two weeks after announcing to my first “big girl” job that I had decided to leave the company. Before this, my best friend Chelsea and I spent our lunch breaks eating ice cream and complaining how we were falling into the category of college graduates who were at a standstill in life. We had no real idea what we wanted to do or how to do it. We decided that we should treat ourselves—get away for a long weekend. Maybe a vacation would give us a creativity boost?

While searching for our get-a-way we noticed one hit kept popping up, Kalani Eco Resort, a retreat center based on the big island of Hawaii. Kalani offered one to three month volunteer opportunities where you’d stay and work 30 hours a week in a department and in return, live in paradise. We decided to apply.

We sent in applications and our deposits, not really thinking about it until we heard back, less than a week after requesting a phone interview. Chelsea was ecstatic; I was too, but a little hesitant.

Could I really quit my job to go live in the jungle for a month? What about money? What would my parents say? What would their friends say?

A flurry of questions floated through my head that all had me doubting my sanity, why I even decided to attempt to up and leave in the first place. I decided against going through with the phone interview, while Chelsea had gone through and been accepted to go for the month of May. She put her two weeks in at work and off to Hawaii she went.

I was jealous, but even worse, I was angry with myself for being so scared to take risks. I can remember sitting at my desk at work during a particularly tough day looking at a banana that I had packed for lunch and having tears well up in my eyes. I was crying over a banana. How I would never see where bananas grew or do anything daring because I was scared of taking risks.

The night that I made the decision that my life wasn’t going to change until I made it change. I put my two weeks at work and shortly after, received a text message from Chelsea’s mom saying, “I’m sending you to Hawaii to visit Chelsea. Not taking no for an answer. Send me your availability.”

I was flabbergasted. First of all, I should tell you that I’m terrified of flying. The first thing that came to my mind was that there’s no way can I do this; I’m too scared to cross the country, let alone go be sent alone, across the ocean for a week. Worry, worry, worry. It consumed me always.

Still, something was nagging me to just let it go (e ho mi—Google it) and embrace the unknown.

I should now mention that to top all of this off, I had broken up with a serious boyfriend of three years back in January and was having a difficult time moving on. Chelsea often reassured me the only way one can grow from any hard time is to try new things, be uncomfortable, embrace fear.

So that’s what I did.

When I landed in Hawaii something happened. A lot of people I’ve talked to, who live on the Big Island or have visited the Big Island, at some point, agree with me on this. I felt a pull. I immediately got off the plane and had felt more at home than I had ever felt in my entire 23 years. I found solstice in this place that was as foreign to me as anything. I couldn’t describe it.

I had tears in my eyes the entire hour drive from the airport to Kalani. And it was still dark out! We walked to Chelsea’s tent, a small four person. I met Majik, Chelsea’s next-tent-neighbor. He politely introduced himself. We made small talk until he said something that I’ll never forget; he excused himself to go off to bed because he had to get up to go to yoga in the morning. He quickly corrected himself though and rephrased his answer saying, “I get to go to yoga in the morning.” A simple rephrase is something that made me automatically switch my thinking from the negative to positive.

We went into our tent and fell asleep.

I woke up in the jungle. It was a chaotic layout of nature that literally brings me to tears. Chelsea has already planned out our whole day, a trip to Kole Kole beach and then Akaka Falls. I don’t think my mouth shut once that day. I was in awe of everything. People’s calmness, the stillness that exuded from them. The sense of rush and franticness was no longer apparent like it was back on the mainland. My father often joked that I drank the kool aid. My response is always, “Yeah, and then I asked for seconds.”

Hawaii had stolen my heart. I fell more deeply in love with a piece of rock than I ever had with another human being. For the first time in 23 years, my anxieties, worries and fears melted away like lava and I became at peace with life. I knew that I needed to stay longer than my scheduled five days. The island was taking care of me.

Chelsea encouraged me to speak with the volunteer office. I did just that. I scheduled an appointment to continue with my application, the office already had my deposit and paperwork, and since I was already staying at Kalani, I could interview in person.

I remember being scared: What if they didn’t accept me? It would be quite the awkward rest of the week. I sat with a gentleman who later became one of my dearest friends. I expressed to him my concerns about not getting in, there not being space, worry, worry, worry.

He asked me a simple question, “Do you want to stay?”

I replied, “I need to stay.”

He said, “Then that’s it, you’re staying.”

His confidence in me, a complete stranger to him at the time, was like receiving a hug from your mother after you skin your knee on the sidewalk. I walked into my interview with ease. I felt confident in myself. Sam (the gentleman from Scotland who interviewed me), and I spoke like we were old friends carrying on a conversation after years of not seeing one another. I remember the last thing that he said to me is that they would be honored to have me continue to stay at Kalani.

So I stayed. I stayed for three and a half months, and lived harder and did more than I ever expected I would ever do in my whole life. I lived where some people save their entire lives to vacation for a week. It’s in invaluable experience that I’m grateful for every day.

The island brings up lots of issues for people and really forces you to deal with things you’ve been trying to avoid. I had some of the hardest days of my life there and also the best. I swam with dolphins. I hiked to a waterfall. I lived next to an active volcano. I made family for a lifetime. When Majik says that he is blessed, well, and lucky—well it’s true. I am too.

So here I am on a massage table getting a tattoo on the back of my neck (sorry, Mom and Dad). It’s an opening lotus with a person meditating in the middle. I’ve blossomed here. It’s been one hell of a journey.

I’ve learned about the power of saying, “Yes!” and facing our insecurities head on.

Let me know how it goes when you do it.

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This was written by Yoga Trade member, Stephanie Juris, who is a follower of the sun.