I was nearing the end of my yoga teacher training program.
I had just finished teaching a class to my peers, as I readied myself to receive feedback from my yoga mentors. A bucket of nerves, I quickly recounted all possible imperfections and sat alongside my fellow teachers-in-training. I braced myself for the worst.
Inbal spoke first:
“You have a voice that can fill a room.”
I found myself fighting back tears. Did she just say that?
“I noticed it about you immediately.”
Did she not know about the paralysis that ensued when it came time for me to speak in front of a group? Had she not picked up on the block in my fifth (throat) chakra?
Somewhere along the way, I felt I had lost my voice.
I sat in work meetings, at the bank, with ideas I couldn’t express. My body tensed up and the heat rose as I tried to pull the trigger until eventually someone else spoke out loud the idea I had, almost as though I had transmitted it telepathically. Their words were typically met with great admiration from the group. I kicked myself harder.
Three energy healers, two Reiki masters and a crystal healer had all told me, within the span of a year, about the block in my Vishuddha Chakra, the throat chakra. I’d never raised the question to them and yet they all went straight for it. One said it was as intense as a noose around my neck. Another drew it on paper as a thick collar that wrapped all the way around my throat.
This is how it felt. I was choking on my inability to communicate my truth. I was bubbling with ideas and messages of love, but I was terrified of expressing them.
Perhaps this was why I loved chanting mantras in my yoga practices.
Perhaps this explained why Kirtan felt so liberating. These were opportunities to express my bhakti, or devotion, using my voice, in a way that was far less intimidating than having the spotlight fall directly on me.
It felt natural. My spiritual practice was strong, yet I was having trouble allowing this to bleed into the rest of my life.
Prior to the start of my teacher training, I felt deep down, that finding my voice would be one of the greatest gifts I could receive from the experience. I was uncertain as to whether I would actually teach yoga, but the intense pull I felt to enroll and the ecstasy I felt in the days leading up to it seemed to indicate that this just might help me to break through.
But through my training, my issue persisted. As we sat learning about spiritual and yogic principles, I often had ideas I wanted to express. And still, I couldn’t speak, despite the love and unwavering support I felt from those around me. This frustrated me to no end.
The odd thing is, I’ve always been a great public speaker.
And through childhood and into young adulthood, I spent much of my time dancing on stage. I was always social and friendly and could strike up conversation easily.
However, when it came to speaking from the heart, or sharing my ideas, I went ice cold.
As Inbal spoke these words to me, at the end of my assessment, I was still in the midst of my dilemma, only more conscious than ever of the issue.
Her words vibrated through my core like the sounds of a gong and in that moment, I believed her. Tears welled at the thought that my fears had blocked out one of my most natural gifts. I felt like I had abandoned myself.
Though it wasn’t my initial plan, I started teaching. It came very naturally to me and I felt the blocks, the fears, the resistance melt away. What had been required of me all along was mindfulness about the limitations I was forcing myself to live under, and to respond to these limitations—these fears—gently, with love.
To feel the fear and do it anyway, to step onto the platform and speak. To allow my higher self to take over. To get out of my own way.
It has become evident to me that we all have natural gifts—some that are obvious and utilized regularly, and others that are suppressed, covered up, hidden away by fears that we won’t be good enough.
These gifts, these talents, do not necessarily need to be built up or worked on. Instead, we can release the blocks that keep us from soaring to great heights.
We can let the fear go and ultimately, get out of our own way.
Author: Ashley Dunlop
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock