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Know your Why

Hi friends, happy February! Baby M turned 6 months a few weeks ago, and I decided it was time to start sleep training. I purchased a highly recommended online course (www.takingcarababies.com), set myself up with my computer and a glass (or two) of wine, and binge-watched the whole thing in one sitting. Towards the end of the training, Cara stressed how important it was for me to know WHY I was doing this…

Seriously? Is that even a question?

Since I had paid a good chunk of money for this thing, I kept listening. She explained that if I was embarking on this sleep-training adventure because I just wanted to sleep more at night, the chances were high that I wouldn’t follow through at 3am when the only thing standing between me and sleep WAS the training! If, instead, I signed up for short-term torture because I knew that getting good sleep would allow me to be the mom I wanted to be in the long-run, I’d stick with it and make it happen.

As I heard this, I thought of one of my very favorite Ted Talks: How Great Leaders Inspire Action. In it, Simon Sinek says “everyone knows what they do, some know how they do it, but only a few know why they do it.” He argues that if you truly want to be successful at something, whatever it may be, you have to be darn sure you know why you’re doing it.

I couldn’t agree more. And I’ll add that your why is far more powerful if it’s actually about you.

A few years ago, I decided to start meditating. I had read abut the benefits of meditation, and I was a yoga teacher – I should meditate, right? Well, let me tell you something you probably already know: meditating is HARD! I think I made it less than a week before I gave it up the first time I tried it, and the same thing happened the second and the third time. I just couldn’t get myself to stick with it.

Then I got married, I opened a business, and I had children.

As my  stress and anxiety levels rose, I realized a mindfulness practice was not just a “nice-to-have” anymore, but a critical part of my well-being. Today I practice mindfulness and meditation because it makes me a better mom, a better partner, and a better business owner. Of course I still struggle, but I come back to it time and time again because my “why” is now much bigger than “I think I should” and far more personal than “research shows meditation improves productivity.”

People often ask me when I knew I was ready to quit my corporate job. My answer is this: when I realized my why for Yogaleena was about giving myself creative freedom, a platform to share my message, and the opportunity to grow as a yogi, teacher, and leader. I am so grateful that Yogaleena does contribute to the lives of our students in a positive way, but I do what I do because Yogaleena lights ME up.

When you’re clear on your why, and your why is coming from your heart instead of your mind, it’s much easier to get past the fear of failure that often keeps us stagnant, and to keep going even when things get sticky. It also serves as a filter, so that you spend your time and energy on things that are aligned with something greater than a short-term goal.

As my family has grown, I’ve stepped back from teaching weekly classes, passed on weekend workshop opportunities, and hired our magical studio manager, Bailey, so that I can spend more time with my boys. The one thing that I am still all-in for, however, is our 200-hr teacher training. Here’s why:

Yogaleena School is deeply rooted in my core values – authenticity, self-discovery, and connection. Guiding and encouraging our students to drop the mask, let go of limiting beliefs, and create space in their minds, bodies, and souls for what they want is incredibly fulfilling for me. Diving into yoga philosophy, not for the sake of sounding smart but to figure out how to apply these 5,000 year old lessons to modern life, is my idea of fun! And heading out on a retreat in the beautiful Texas Hill country to practice yoga, meditate, nourish myself with Courtney’s delicious vegan cooking, and share what I’m passionate about with a community of badass women? Yeah, that’s something I’m willing to make room for in my schedule.

This month, I invite you to look at your commitments and get really clear on your why. Our minds are really good at coming up with new goals, resolutions, and initiatives for us, but it’s ultimately up to our hearts to carry us to the finish line.

Namaste,
Carolina

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