"One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill. "I can't; that is too much a pull for me," said the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side. "I think I can," puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."
As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could, I thought I could."
- The Little Engine That Could
I'm sure we all remember this story as a kid yet the message behind the little engine's mantra is often forgotten as we move through our adult lives. Recently I found myself *this* close to paying someone $3000+ for developing the Social Yoga "brand voice" because I didn't think what I had to offer was "good enough". After some time alone and a chance to do some digging, I traced it back to a fear of taking responsibility.
This isn't, and wasn't, about blame. It's more about ease and peace of mind than anything. To me, so long as someone else was "in charge", I didn't have to worry and I could simply sit back and go with the flow.
For the longest time, my yoga practice existed only within studio walls. I stretched, and strengthened, and twisted on command. I dutifully omm'ed (awkwardly), sighed, and lions-breath'ed (even more awkwardly) when I was told to do so by the teacher at the front of the class. I didn't think there was any other way.
When someone suggested I consider a home practice, I was initially put off by the idea. I had so many excuses including one that simply stated- I can't teach myself! I didn't know what to do or how long to stay in poses (this was pre-teacher training days), and even after I was YTT-certified, it was just easier to go into a studio, shut off my thinking, and have someone else tell me what to do.
There's a lot of consolation in thinking that someone else knows better than you. There's a false sense of security in obeying rather than find your own inner knowing.
I'm sure some of you can resonate with that- heck, lots of people come to yoga to "relax." And while it is relaxing in some ways, it's no trip to the spa and it was never meant to be that way.
Some things weren't meant to be easy.
When I first started a home practice, it was out of necessity. I crawled into Child's pose when I felt overwhelmed or when I felt like my head was swimming with thoughts. And in the moments of focusing on my breath, I found a bit of clarity. That started it and from there the home practice grew to be something more enjoyable. I could play around with music and do all of my favourite poses. Of course, eventually injury taught me that I had to learn to incorporate my least favourite poses into the practice as well. (Again- things weren't meant to be easy.) I stumbled and fumbled and made things up along the way. And while the journey is far from over, I've since changed my "can'ts" into "cans".
Locomotion is defined as the movement or ability to go from one place to another. Whether you're a train puffing up a hill, a person taking on a home yoga practice, or someone who is in the midst of some big changes- It all starts with a thought of "I CAN".
Side note: I didn't end up going with the company. The "voice" behind Social Yoga is going to stay authentically me.