How cool is it that so many great yoga teachers have come to my hometown this past year and that I got the opportunity to attend one of the sold-out yoga workshops given by Kathryn Budig at Evolution Yoga? If you are unfamiliar with Kathryn, she brings an awesome sense of humor (a yoga teaching trait I hold in high regard) as well as a refreshing honesty to her yoga classes, which you can find online through YogaGlo and on her yoga DVDs (her latest is Aim True Yoga).

Like a total yoga rock-star geek, I got to class early so I could get a prime front row spot. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Kathryn, live and in person, but as soon as she unassumingly walked into the room in black leggings and a well-worn Journey t-shirt, I knew she was going to be cool. Then, when she started out the class by telling us that one of her goals was to live an awesome life, I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

The workshop I attended was all about aiming true in your life and in your yoga practice. Kathryn started the workshop off by explaining what “Aim True” means to her. I could write a really long blog about this, but I’m going to distill it down into a few sentences.

Aiming true is all about making the choice to move from a place of fear to a place of love.

When we embrace fear, we experience anticipation, expectation, dread, and doubt.

In a nutshell, this anticipation is what freaks us out.

When we move to a place of love, we can embrace the present moment,

let go of fear, and believe in ourselves.

We beat ourselves up all of the time, tell ourselves we can’t do things, and worry about what other people think of our actions. It’s time to become your own mistress or master, to no longer be ruled by the expectations of others. Make it a mantra to believe in yourself each and every day.

The cool thing about yoga is that we can use it to put the “Aim True” concept to practice. Each time you unroll your yoga mat, breathe deep, let go of the anticipation, and live in the present moment, guess what? This moment right here, right now, is perfect. To quote Kathryn, “We need more yoga and fewer drugs in our world.”

After the feel good “Aim True” yoga pep talk, Kathryn proceeded to ask the room which yoga poses they feared the most, and (of course) after a list of the most challenging poses known to yogakind were brought forward, she informed us that she would weave these poses into the two-hour practice that was to follow.

WTF?! Jumping from plank to crow, handstand, reverse triangle… the internal dialogue began raging in my head…

…I can’t do half of these poses…

…why the hell did I think sitting in the front row was a good idea?…

…the people in this room are way younger and stronger than me; of course they can do these poses…

… 8:00 pm on a Friday night, I should be winding down with a glass of wine, not stressing out about whether or not I’ll do a face plant when I attempt to go from downward dog to crow…

…it’s hot as hell in this room; I think I’m going to pass out…

Wait a minute, Maria; did you listen to a single thing that Kathryn just said? Are you going to let the fear and the ego get in your way, or are you going to aim true and choose a place of love?

I shut off the fire hose in my mind, brought my focus to my mat, and listened to Kathryn’s instructions, which were spot on, funny, and encouraging. I wasn’t worrying about what everyone thought of my wobbly crow pose; I was focused on believing I could do these poses and on giving it all my effort. I became the mistress of my mind, and this fierce yogini wasn’t taking any excuses from herself.

As I sat exhausted, resting in between poses, a big ‘ole sweaty mess, I was reminded again of how much I love the practice of yoga. I was loving those little yoga victories that come each time I show up and try, reveling in the fact that, when I choose a place of love over fear, I’m a hell of a lot stronger than I think.

What will you choose today – Love or Fear? Choose LOVE, and don’t forget to bring it to the mat!

Enjoy some love from MC YOGI!

Love Street Image: Terri-Ann Hanlon