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Are These Your Expectations Or Mine?

Earlier this month, Howard County voted to lift the mask mandate in schools, a moment my daughter Addison has been dreaming about for months. When I told her, I let her know that the choice was hers, she was delighted and was hands down, 100% going to take it off.

She mentioned that she was going to start surveying her friends at school to see what other people were going to do. So for the better part of a week, Addison asked all her buddies at school what they were going to do on - mask or no mask. The dominant response from almost all was, "I am going to wait and see what everyone else does?"

Oh boy did those words resonate, isn't that the truth. Don't we all live our life according to the opinions, feedback, advise, expectations and choices of others? How many times have you been here yourself? You had a though about what you were going to do, even felt sure in your gut only to ask someone else what they thought. As soon as their opinion enters the ether, immediately your confident bubble bursts and you begin to doubt your choice, your opinion, your gut?

I've known tons of times in my life, this has taken control over me, but my heart broke to hear it come out of the mouth of an 11 year old...does it really start this early - that we live our lives for other people?

Over the week before the big maskless day, I watched Addison bounce back and forth on the yoyo of trusting and doubting her own intuition, over and over. It was agonizing, but it was so relatable.

There was an amazing man in the Mindfulness community a few decades ago named Frank Ostaseski. He founded Zen Center Hospice in California and was renowned for his approach to teaching #Mindfulness and #Compassion to folks giving end of life care. He wrote a book called The Five Invitations and in it he discusses that after sitting at the bed side of thousands of people at the end of their life, the majority of them recounted their biggest regret in life was they wished they hadn't lived so much of their life according to other people's expectations.

We have this one precious life and an opportunity to carve out a path that is our own and walk it for ourselves and to be honest, I was sad to see through the eyes of my daughter, that we begin living it for others earlier than I had realized.

So how then can our yoga practice help us as we try to walk our path to our own beat? There is a power to moving and breathing, deeply connected to the experience from the inside out. As we enjoy yoga classes together, we begin to find our own unique expression of each pose. The way we teach #yoga here at the SHIFT YOGA STUDIO encourages you to explore what feels good, so as you move through a practice, special space is help for your intuition to emerge. You are encouraged each week that it is ok to move in a different way, skip a posture that doesn't feel good, rest when you want to. So as class unfolds, our loving approach to teaching yoga classes allows everyone to begin to learn how to engage with their own bodies more deeply, trust what they feel and the result is a deeper sense of communion and unity within.

We carry this with us off our mat. This freedom in practice begins to influence the way we move through the world. The more we practice moving and breathing to our own rhythm, the more we can see that we are given permission to break free and explore what feels good, there is no turning back. We will continue to move from our own intuitive wisdom and look less to what others are doing to shape what we do.

So as always for me, yoga is the answer. Cultivating a practice that is all your own and continually making trips to that place, strengthens your inner intuition and over time you will confront this confusion within "are these your expectations on mine?"

So do yoga and begin to answer the question the poet Mary Oliver once posed "What is your plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

It is my hope, that you will live it for you!

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