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On Being Okay with Where You Are Today

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I was about halfway through teaching a yoga class this morning when I realized that I was there, but I wasn’t all there. I was in it, but I wasn’t bringing much for my students. I was saying all the words right and teaching a well-sequenced class but I felt an emptiness that’s not usually there. And honestly just really blah.

My Friday morning class is one of my favorite classes of the week. It’s full of very strong yogis, mostly women, most of whom I’ve known for years. I typically thrive on coming up with new ways to challenge them, whether it’s through creative flow, an arm balance or inversion or through messaging. I usually keep it pretty light and we spend a lot of time cracking jokes and laughing at ourselves as we talk about real life stuff.

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When we broke for backbends I sat down on the floor and I told my students that my first inclination was to apologize for not having much to give today. But that I had stopped myself and thought about how many times I’ve told them to, “practice from where you are today, feel what you’re feeling, not to compare this practice to any other and not judge yourself.” 

I looked around the room and saw heads nodding. Sometimes you’re just having a bad practice or day or week or month…and that’s okay. Even if you’re the yoga teacher.

It’s really easy to get sucked into “the happiness trap.” I feel like we’re allowed to feel anything other than “really good, really happy, life is awesome” for about 0.2 seconds before it’s time to move on or start taking an anti-depressant (kidding but not really kidding). In reality, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling up sometimes, down sometimes, just kind of blah sometimes or like a mess sometimes.

I hope my students show up on their mats when they feel like that and feel accepted, loved and welcomed. That’s why I made the decision NOT to apologize for where I was today.

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One of my students emailed me after class and said…

“I just want to let you know that what you said in today’s class meant a lot to me.  It is funny how yoga has a way of tapping into what is going on with people emotionally.  I have been really hard on myself all week about my yoga…I am struggling to focus and concentrate.  And I feel like my yoga has just been shitty (for lack of a better word).  I cannot stop telling myself how bad I am at this, almost so much so that I was almost in tears on my mat yesterday.  I know it is just yoga and it is not that important but I think it is just a metaphor for what is really going on in my life.

Anyway, when you said that it is okay to feel what you are feeling and be okay with where you are today (no matter where that is), it meant a lot to me.  Sometimes it feels like i have to be happy all the time and that I  am responsible for everyone else’s happiness but that is not the truth.  The truth is sometimes I struggle and sometimes yoga is hard.  I have to be okay with that.

I hope you are okay with where you are at today.”

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So to all of you, I hope you’re okay with exactly where you are today. Whether you’re on cloud nine and feeling all the joy in the world or wondering if life could possibly get any worse…or just stuck somewhere in between. Wherever you are it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be…it’s real, it will inevitably change at some point and you are learning from it.

All my love,
Jen

The biggest thank you to my friends and students for filling my home with gorgeous flowers. I smile and my heart warms every time I see them. 

 

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Kristi September 30, 2016, 4:22 pm

    Thank you! I needed to hear this today too. It has been a really rough week internally and it is showing up on the mat and I have to teach in 2.5 hours. This fits in nicely with self-compassion that I’m planning on talking about.

    • 2
      Jen DeCurtins October 1, 2016, 9:28 am

      Hey Kristi – I’m sorry you had a rough week but I hope you brought some of that to your class last night. It makes us so real as teachers and helps to hold space for our students to go through the same things and feelings and feel supported and loved no matter what. YES, yes to self-compassion.

      Hoping you feel better soon.

  • 3
    Amy welton September 30, 2016, 5:32 pm

    Great advice from a great teacher ! I have been thinking and praying for you.

    • 4
      Jen DeCurtins October 1, 2016, 9:27 am

      Thank you Amy. I’m so grateful for you and the whole yoga community. <3

  • 5
    Danielle September 30, 2016, 5:50 pm

    I think it is something many of us struggle with (especially perfectionists like myself). Thank you for sharing this powerful reminder! It’s funny – reading this, I couldn’t help but think of course you (and any friends and other people I know) should be okay with where they are, I would never be on hard on them as I would be on myself nor force someone to be happy if they’re just not doing well. A good reminder for self-care and self-compassion!

    • 6
      Jen DeCurtins October 1, 2016, 9:26 am

      Your point is so, so valid that we are about 1,000x harder on ourselves most of the time than anyone ever would be on us. It is something that’s a constant thing to remember and practice though.

  • 7
    Remi September 30, 2016, 6:05 pm

    I SO needed to hear this today! My husband woke up just feeling really down today, and I often feel like “what can I do to make him happy!?!?”, which puts pressure on me to try to “fix” how he’s feeling rather than just accepting where he’s at and letting him feel how ever he is feeling that day. It’s so much healthier to just let him ride it out and be okay with us having a day that isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Thank you for this reminder <3 Your blog continues to be one of my absolute favorites because it often goes so much deeper than the typical blogs I read. Your real-ness is much appreciated!

  • 8
    Sarah September 30, 2016, 9:45 pm

    Great post that hit home, my mind and heart have been on my sleeve lately and really interfering with my workouts. Time to get my mind/heart right and my body will follow.

    • 9
      Jen DeCurtins October 1, 2016, 9:25 am

      Thank you Sarah. It is amazing how much our head and heart space can impact how our bodies feel. I hope you can do some thinking/work and start feeling better soon. xx

  • 10
    Rina October 1, 2016, 7:42 am

    This post truly spoke to me. I’ve just been feeling so “stuck” lately. After going through a truly heartbreaking split with a guy at the end of summer and returning to university to finish my last year of school, I’ve just felt so dissatisfied with myself and my life. I berate myself for not trying harder to do more, to be more, as if accomplishing more would fill the hole in my heart. But your post inspired me to just let myself feel the emotions as they come, rather than try to run away from them. Thank you.

    • 11
      Jen DeCurtins October 1, 2016, 9:24 am

      Hi Rina – I am so sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time right now but try to give yourself as much love and grace as possible. It will pass and you will get more clear on what will make you feel more satisfied and happy. I know it’s hard to sit in the space of having a hole in your heart but you have an amazing opportunity to fill it back up with the best things when you’re ready. Sending you lots of love. <3

  • 12
    Joy October 2, 2016, 8:01 am

    Great advice, Jen. Thank you for another thoughtful post. I’ve been thinking of you a lot the past few days because I just can’t imagine your grief right now. Saying “I’m sorry” seems so trivial but please know you’re in my thoughts.

    I’m going through a career transition and it’s not easy and I’ve been dealing with a lot of emotions as I “start over” in my 40s. I’ve been down on myself that I haven’t been happy 100% of the time so thank you for this post…you’re so right…it’s okay to not be happy all of the time.

  • 13
    Heidi October 2, 2016, 5:45 pm

    Love.this.post!!!!

  • 14
    Sarah October 3, 2016, 9:43 pm

    So sorry to hear about your loss Jen. Hope your yoga practice on and off the mat gives you solace and aids in your healing – know that you will always have love and support from your readers! x

  • 15
    Laura October 4, 2016, 1:38 pm

    Just read this today even though you posted it 4 days ago…but, coincidentally, this is exactly what I needed to read today. Just began a transition state with my career, living apart from my husband and young sons during the work week for the next 9 or so months, and was feeling rather down about it yesterday and today. I generally feel the same as you – ok, you have 0.2 seconds for your pity party, then move it along – and was struggling with the fact that I was feeling down about this situation when I knew exactly what I was getting into ahead of time. Your post was a good reminder that it’s perfectly ok to NOT be ok with it sometimes.

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