Imagine you are reaching for something that’s a little too high, or learning a new arm balance, or on a first date. What do these things all have in common? We feel a little insecure, a little unstable. A natural reaction to instability is to shy away from it. No one likes to feel insecure. But, we could take a more yogic approach to this feeling and use it to raise our consciousness.
Within insecurity there is a certain heightened awareness, whether from nerves or from a precarious position. We become more conscious of our actions, and this is actually a great benefit for mindfulness practitioners.
You probably already practice mindfulness while you’re on your yoga mat. Does that practice carry through to your regular life? The next time that you’re feeling nervous, use that moment to examine your own insecurity. Yes, I know you’re insecure. We are all insecure about many different things, our own particular brand of neuroses.
The way for us to get past our own insecurity is to make friends with it. To become fully aware of the different paths our mind goes down. To examine objectively, and in a friendly way. This is a common teaching in Buddhist meditation, particularly the Shambhala tradition.
Where is your mind when you’re worried about your job, or your love life, or falling on your face? What’s at the heart of your nervousness? Very often it’s something unrealistic and maybe even a little silly. Even if it is something very serious, the moment of recognition can be a healthy moment where we receive the choice to hold on to a belief or to try and let it go.
In meditation we set our focus on one point, often the breath, and then allow ourselves to notice any distractions. We will naturally have many thoughts sitting for even two minutes. We are successful meditators when we observe a thought and then refocus on our point.
These moments of open observation, free of judgement, help us to let go of and reprogram the mental habits that keep us stuck in our ways. We see our own insecurity, our own nervousness, our particular brand of crazy. Every time we recognize ourselves and refocus we are letting go. And in letting go of our worries, they begin to dissolve.
Photo by Ali Kaukas
Elizabeth Crisci is a yoga teacher and artist in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She is the creator of Love by E, handmade gemstone mala and jewelry. She teaches in workshops, special events, and trainings in the Northeast in addition to a range of regular, weekly classes. She teaches smart and accessible yoga designed to make you feel good. She loves every minute of her work. You can find her writing and her teaching schedule on her website.