A Russian friend’s dad used to walk by and knock on my back. Thump, thump. “Straight up, Kristina!” he barked. Yes, my name is Kristen, but Russian female names usually end in “a/ia,” so I’m rather accustomed to this sort of artistic license.
More recently, my yoga instructor told me that in tree pose I need to pin my shoulder blades back, stand taller, and look up. “That feels weird” I quipped. Hunching his shoulders forward in a slumped heap he replied, “No, this is weird.” (Point taken, wise yogi man.)
In a recent horseback riding lesson, my instructor Suzie told me that my two-point looks great, except that I need to look up more — no slumping in two-point or when my horse halts, I might fall forward on his withers. And Patchismo doesn’t appreciate that. What’s a girl to do? Clearly, it’s time to straighten up. Suzie had me do a drill where I exaggerated the chest puffery in two-point by pinning back my shoulder blades and looking up, up, up. Guess what? Two-point was on point. With small shifts in my muscles and gaze, I was looking at beautiful trees and mountains. Handsome as Patches is, I’ll take the palm tree view over horse withers view. Don’t you always go for the window seat?
Okay, so it’s actually a close call between the palm trees and good old Patches. And maybe you prefer the aisle seat. But you get the point. When we look up and stand tall, we are aware and sure. We breathe easier. We are ready for anything.
Aside from improving my yoga practice and horseback riding, is there a greater lesson here? Definitelyyesofcourse! Sometimes, especially as women, we’re afraid to walk proudly with our shoulders back for fear of how others will perceive us. Will I come across as over-confident? Will they think I’m trying to “show off?” If the worst that someone can say about you is that you seem extremely confident, even over-confident, then you’re doing something right. Because true confidence (not hubris or arrogance) is such a beautiful thing. If we slump forward, we project fear and uncertainty. When we throw our shoulders back and chin up, horseback riding, yoga, and life challenges become not only manageable, but fun. After moving to a new city and with my husband gone for weeks on end because of work, life has been full of challenges. When I throw my shoulders back and chin up, I can stare down any challenge with confidence and joy.
Aside from the challenges of moving to a new city, looking for a job, waiting on some big job news, and living far from friends and family, I’ve also had some wonderful days here lately. In addition to pursuing my favorite activities — horses and yoga — over the weekend, my best friend, her husband, and their new baby visited me in Pasadena. YAY! It was beyond amazing to meet their sweet baby boy, Xavi, and to see what fantastic parents they have already become. While playing with Sweet Xavi, I commented that he’s such a happy baby. Between coos and kisses, she smiled and replied, “That’s right! What’s not to be happy about, right Xavi?!” So true.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Looking for more inspirational words? Check out my aptly-titled Inspiration page. And please don’t hesitate to leave a comment with one of your favorite quotes! Blog links welcome.
How do you actively choose confidence and happiness in your life?
How does posture affect your attitude and vice versa?
Are you on instagram? As you can see, even with my ancient iPhone, I recently discovered instagram. #Obsessed.