by Olivia Cecchettini
Recently my mom gave me a stack of O Magazines she had finished reading. They sat in a pile on my floor until one day I picked them up and started flipping through them for inspiration. Oprah interviewed some of the world’s most powerful and influential women, yet I noticed that they all admitted to a common struggle: not owning their own strength and accomplishments.
Women who were doing great, important work in the world were shying away from praise and recognition by choosing to remain small. Worried about how they would be received. Feeling embarrassed. Or afraid of shouting their voice into the world.
I used to be like that. In college, I changed majors from Communications to Psychology because I was scared to give a speech in front of my class. The feeling of getting up in front of people made me tremble inside. I was literally sweating, nervous with stomach ache – I just couldn’t do it.
I thought maybe I wouldn’t have to face that particular fear of mine, but life keeps bringing you the same lesson until you face it head on. If I wanted to become a yoga teacher (and I very much wanted to share my love of yoga!), I needed to be able to speak in front of a group of people.
Everything that makes life worth living happens outside the comfortable little space you’ve carved out for yourself, so I chose to step outside.
I was terrified during the first “practice” yoga class I taught. As I practiced more and taught more classes, I came to see that yoga is about co-creation. Knowing I wasn’t alone, that everyone present contributes their own energy, brought me peace. It was incredibly hard to allow myself to be seen, but I believe it’s the only way to show my authentic self and create connection.
There are many messages the world sends out every day. Messages designed to put us in our place, to make us feel less than capable, or to silence our voices. Those challenges are real, but I also know that we all have a little whisper of guidance inside. As we open our bodies, minds and hearts through yoga, the connection to that whisper is strengthened. We begin to strengthen the muscle of confidence and trust within as well.
What challenges are facing you this new year? My hope is that whatever they are, you look for the lesson, a way forward, the path which leads to growth. Get to know yourself and accept what you find. Be gentle. Be bold. Who knows what we can co-create when we own our power? I’m excited to find out.
Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.