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When in fear…breakdance!

Jake and I attended a really fun and high-energy fitness event hosted by Cody app and Kaisa, a famous fitness coach. It was all about building community, sweating and doing it at a Seattle indoor skate park. The party opened with Massive Monkeys, a Seattle-based breakdancing group. Everyone was bouncing and cheering as these dancers flew around the floor, performing all kinds of crazy moves.

After awhile, they asked for volunteers to come from the audience to the dance floor to learn how to breakdance – in front of everyone. Of course, Jake “volunteered” me by raising my hand and nudging me toward the floor. I was like a cat being pushed into a bathtub, clawing and struggled to get away. It had not occurred to me that we might actually be called on to dance in public, and I was surprised and petrified at that prospect. I turned on Jake with a glare and even broke a nail trying to twist away from him.

As I watched person after person get on the dance floor, a terrible feeling of regret and shame washed over me like I was a 5-years old again…at Disneyland wanting to take a photo with Cinderella, but too paralyzed by fear, while standing a mere 10 feet away, to move forward and do anything to make it happen.

My mental chatter was loud and kind of like this: Don’t do it, you’ll look like an idiot! What?  Just go for it – everyone will look like an idiot, but at least you have the guts to do it! No! Don’t do it. People will laugh at you. Who cares, it will be fun!

So, after far too much back-and-forth commentary in my head, I let go of fear and leaned into my courage. I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines. I wanted to be in the ring. Now, I am not a break-dancer, and I’m not a great dancer, but at least I don’t dance like Elaine from Seinfeld. So I joined my fellow break-dancers, and I must have looked like a frozen deer in the headlights, but there was no turning back. This shy girl was going to have to break dance in front of hundreds of people.

We were taught some B-boy moves like top rock, two-step, drop downs and freeze. I was trying to look cool but felt like a stiff 80-year old white dude trying to flow and move. I was anything but cool. But from my yoga practice, I’ve learned to just breath and let go of the attachment to the outcome in order to enjoy the journey.

Our coach showed us how to perform a 30-second breakdance routine, along with a few final poses we could use to end our routine. She said, “You can stand crossing your arms around your chest looking tough, or lie on your side with your head in your hand, or if you have a lot of energy, you can try to balance your whole body on your triceps with your legs in the air.” My eyes lit up. YES! That is actually a yoga pose! I can do that! So, I chose to finish our dance in an arm balance with my legs in the air. A current of energy pulsed through every cell of my body as the crowd cheered and the break-dancers gave me hugs and hi-fives. I felt like a rock star! Of course, I didn’t ruin the moment by telling them that this breakdancing arm balance move is actually just a yoga pose (aka Eka Pada Koundinyasana).

In the face of fear, I was able to turn down the volume of the mind and tune into my heart. My Internal GPS guided me to learn to breakdance, and I had a lot of fun! I was able to let go of the fear of looking foolish in public. I felt a freedom and confidence wash over me that only stepping into my courage could offer.

Fear is a powerful influencer. Fear keeps us from connecting with our True Selves. Fear stops us from being our whole, authentic selves. Fear tells us that we can’t reach our dreams. Fear tells us to not take risks. Fear keeps us alone and isolated. Fear keeps us closed instead of open. Fear keeps us living within a very narrow scope of our capacity, instead of embracing the full range of life. Fear keeps us numb. Fear and judgment can keep you stuck in a limited place and hold you back from experiencing the magic of new experiences.

When you step away from fear and into your courage, you create new habits that build self worth. You step into your true natural state of joy, along your path to becoming a healthy, joyful and confident person. Every time you take a positive action that is in alignment with your True Self, rather than your inner critic, you truly grow and experience the wonder of life.

Lovingly step into your courage with every person and new experience. Part of your journey, whether on or off of your yoga mat, is the daily practice of leaning away from fear and self doubt, and stepping into your courage to experience the exhilaration of life that will set you free.

Check out my VIDEO of our breakdance session. Share on my BLOG a time when you shed your fear and stepped into courage?

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