kiss moma lips

I am an introvert. Public speaking scares me. Meeting new people scares me. Going to new places scares me. All these years, I have been fighting that fear by constantly daring myself to step out of my comfort zone, trying to be someone who is outspoken, friendly to all, and comfortable in new environments. Truth is, I suffered a burn out about two years ago, and I have been trying to find my true voice since.

Recently, my friend asked me: “As you are going through this yoga teacher training, have you thought about the kind of teacher you’d like to be? What kind of voice would you have? Understand that you need a voice, and that would be solely yours if you truly aim to be an authentic yoga teacher.” Those words struck me, and at day three of this yoga teacher training, I’m realizing that I do have a voice — and it’s within me.

I grew up in an environment where judgements and expectations were laid heavily onto me, and I carried them through my adult life. Personally, I don’t like practicing yoga in front of a mirror because of my belief that strong alignment of postures comes from within the body. When yoga is practiced in mindful way, your true body alignment would spring into life, just as far as the body would go. However, I have been carrying an invisible mirror around with me all these years, constantly staring and telling myself that I’m not good enough; I’m not smart enough; I’m not attractive; I’m not loved; I’m not a person worthy of being on this earth. These negative judgements stemmed from expectations that were ingrained into my mind from past experiences — that a good, intelligent person should have achieved a certain status at this age, should look and be a certain way.

Yes, I have taken on a number of leadership positions where I sank my heart and soul into them. Leading teams into championships and emerging strong after a successful, well-organized student leadership conference were some of the things I did in the past. But, that’s the past during university and college days. Now, in my mid—twenties, there’re no more students around me as everyone’s a professional with a strong voice in their industry. Because I feel that everyone is smarter than I am, I have been hiding behind the shadows of others because I never felt worthy to be heard. But, I’m starting to realize something. Everyone is a student of life. I’m not better or lousier than anyone else, I am me, and I am an equal amongst all other living things on this planet.

Similarly to the way I approach my yoga practice, there is an authentic voice in me that is waiting to let itself go, only when I finally succumb to my fears, judgements and expectations of myself. It’s not about trying to be someone whom I’m not, and not only about stepping out of my comfort zone, but to watch and listen to my inner voice, and bring her out into audible tones. I’m not perfect, and I will never be. I am and always will be a student of life. And it’s okay to be an introvert, but it doesn’t mean that I need to shy away from finding my authentic voice and sharing it with the world. And this, is part of my yoga practice.