don't let nerves get the best of you!

butterflies in my stomach don't feel this innocent and beautiful.  credit {here}

yesterday, it was my turn to teach the free community at my yoga studio.  no big deal on a typical day.  but yesterday, i knew my teacher, an amazingly-skilled yogi, was attending.  as part of our yogadharma teacher training, she kindly offered to attend and evaluate a class taught by each student.  butterflies big-time.  it’s a funny thing about nerves.  you know they’re (to a large degree) unnecessary.  and when you reason your way through the situation that awaits and break it down, you realize that, in truth, there is very little (if anything) to be concerned about.  but often nerves still get the better of us.

and, the catch 22 is that when you’re nervous about doing well, you often hold yourself back from delivering your very best.  no good.  as a work-in-progress, i still definitely suffer from nerves from time-to-time, though way less than i used to.  i used to literally feel sick if i had to present a book report in front of the class.  ahh…4th grade…  now, i feel comfortable leading my weekly yoga classes and enjoy sharing my teaching with others.  but yesterday, with the curveball of “being watched” (lol), my nerves were definitely making themselves known.

so, what can you do when your nerves are getting the best of you?  first and foremost breathe.  and then breathe some more.  i’m sure you’ve realized that when you’re feeling anxious, the breath gets shallow – take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply in and out through your nose.  focusing on the breath is the quickest and easiest way to quiet the mind – and your nerves – if only temporarily.  plus it’s very “yogi” thing to do : )

also, when i’m nervous about something, i often try to keep myself from thinking about it, which just makes the nerves worse.  instead, take a moment to visualize the room, the people present, and how you would like to look and feel.  don’t run from thinking about whatever is on your mind, move into it.  you might realize it’s not as scary as it seems!

next time you feel butterflies in your stomach and find yourself worrying about something that’s on the horizon, focus the mind with breath and visualization.  know that “this too, shall pass”.  and remember that often the most uncomfortable situations are the most rewarding, because they force us out of our comfort zones.

meditation prompt for your journal or cushion:

start with 10 deep breaths in and out through your nose.

when was the last time you felt truly nervous?
what did the experience feel like in your body?  (where was the energy located?)