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At my first Forrest Yoga teacher training, Ana Forrest made an announcement. She had been in the restroom and overheard us all apologizing and apologizing and apologizing for basically no reason.
If someone walked out of a restroom stall, the next person in line said, "I’m sorry." And so did the next person. And then the next person and on and on it went. Ana mandated that we were to take 24 hours off of the incessant apologizing.
Ok, this may seem control freak-ish; it may seem bizarre.
But why is that? Is it perhaps because our society has conditioned us (especially women) to apologize for... everything? This is especially true in my part of the world (Texas Bible Belt).
We are taught to apologize almost as often as we breathe, perhaps more often actually. Ana's viewpoint is that this constant apologizing (for absolutely no wrong-doing) is a power leak.
So at our training, she introduced this concept. It sounded silly. We laughed. And then we took on the challenge. Wouldn't you know it? It's hard. I mean, like dog-ass-difficult. I can pike up into handstand easier than I can stop hemorrhaging apologies. And I'm not alone with this condition. At the grocery store which I frequent, the unnecessary apologies hang in the air as prevalent as the smell of fish at the wild market fish counter. Someone pushes a grocery cart within one foot of yours, "I'm sorry." Someone passes you in the aisle, "I'm sorry." A teenage boy catches your eye, "I'm sorry."
"For what?!" I want to scream. "Breathing?"
You have a right to breathe, move, walk and inhabit this earth. You have a right just to be. You are worthy of love. You do not need to apologize for no reason.
Then, to take it a step further, at my second Advanced Forrest training, Catherine Allen told us a story of another senior teacher, Ann Hyde. Ann has been a senior teacher and assistant to Ana for many moons. And as such, she has long since eliminated her apologizing habit.
Patrick was Ann’s new beau. And like many folks around these parts, he had the tendency to spew apologies. He couldn’t help but notice Ann cringe every time he automatically, mindlessly issued an unwarranted "I’m sorry." So he decided to make a shift.... Every time he started to utter a meaningless apology, (I'm sorry) he'd catch himself and say, "NO, I’m Sexy," instead.
How much more fun is that?
We implemented this at our studio about a year ago. And it’s so fun. There’s so much more power in being Sexy instead of being Sorry.... Don’t get me wrong, I'm not saying if you run over your neighbor's cat, you shouldn't apologize; you absolutely should. But for just existing, being, breathing, and living, you do not need to apologize. None of us do.
Next time you catch yourself about to say I'm sorry as an automatic response to a human situation, change gears. Don't be sorry, Be Sexy.