Growing up, I clearly remember my father’s words, “Chambers never quit!” And of course, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” These phrases were repeated to my brother and me many times throughout our upbringing. Whether we were bagging leaves in the Fall as a family, playing board games, studying for exams or preparing for our high school and college sporting competitions, those words are etched into our minds.
Mental Super Power
I believe now, more than ever, that those words planted a seed of belief in me that I have carried throughout my life. They played a role in my success as a high-ranking tennis player on my college team (that's me in the pic to the left!), when I earned my MBA, owned my own successful mortgage business for 15 years and then as a Yoga instructor, which I've been doing successfully full time for the last 16 years. Now, as a Co-founder of Live Free Yoga, I teach tools of mental strength to adolescents and teens in schools to help them discover their mental super power to succeed throughout their lives, just as I did.
Some people call the capacity for mental strength "mental toughness" or "grit." Others may call it perseverance or tenacity. I call it "will power." Whatever name you give it, a strong mindset is a trait that is shared with the world’s most successful people whether they are athletes, musicians, world leaders or entrepreneurs.
Change and Challenge
Activating your mental super power begins with accepting two things that will occur in your life with certainty: One is change, and the other is challenge. Let’s start with change...
In our blog post, “Mom’s Recipe for Embracing Change,” by my Live Free Yoga Co-founder, Phyllis Smith, talks about how change is inevitable, just like “death and taxes.” You either adapt to the change or you’ll be battling it the rest of your life. And in this super hero movie, unfortunately change will win every time. If you don't accept the inevitability of change, you will never grow. Your life experiences will be limited to whatever is in your comfort zone. Adapting to the ever-changing world actually helps us build our mental strength.
We face problems, difficulties and inconveniences every day. Let's simply call them "PDI." From big stuff like finances and relationships to the small stuff like whether to use paper or plastic at the grocery checkout counter, our mind is tasked with making thousands of decisions every day. It can be exhausting!
When I began practicing yoga over 20 years ago, one of my first yoga teachers spoke of how every single day of our lives, we will experience PDI’s. My initial response to this truth was, “yes, we sure do, and how irritating that is!” Since then I have come to understand that in order to overcome challenges, we need to become resilient to them.
Mindfulness is a path to resiliency. It's about being present and in the moment. Like my dad said me, “Keep your eye on the ball,” and “don’t give up!” Doing this gives us the ability to tune out distractions and focus on whatever is happening in the moment. Mental strength emerges from there.
You Got This! Back to School Mindfulness Camp: Age 11-14
Yoga, mindfulness and the power of your senses
August 5-8, 2019 1p-3p - Sacred Space in Frisco, TX
Teens Have it Tough
Teens today have it tougher than we did when we were kids. Smartphones and computers give them access to millions of choices and data that are constantly taxing their minds. There is so much information thrown at them every day that it takes a huge amount of mental strength just to comb through it all.
On top of that, these kids are required to sit in a classroom and retain even more information, take standardized tests, do hours of homework and in many cases, especially in the inner city schools, look after their siblings while their parents are at work. Many have the added pressure of trying to be the first in their family to go to college. Lack of funds might require them to add extra curricular activities, like sports, to their schedule to help them earn a scholarship. Mental strength and resiliency to stress is key to their success.
Say it Till You Make It
Here's where we step in. In order to help our youth manage all of their PDI's, we provide integrative mind-body practices such as yoga and mindfulness into middle schools and high schools. We call our Yoga classes, "Mindfulness in Motion," because well, that's what Yoga is.
At the end of each "Mindfulness in Motion" class, we lead the students in an affirmation that we say together - “I have a strong mind, I have a brave heart, I have a wise body and I have a noble spirit.” This provides the students with the knowledge that they each have these inner gifts, and the ability to create who they want to become.
Turn Lead into Gold
As I have continued to teach and practice yoga and meditation, I have learned that the challenges and obstacles in my life are actually great opportunities for personal growth and transformation. In my teens, I was fascinated with the concept of alchemy - turning lead into gold. In my adult years, I have learned how to turn the “lead” of my problems, difficulties and inconveniences into “gold” filled with knowledge and wisdom for a better future.
The Choice is Yours
You have a choice. You can allow your PDI’s to prevent you from achieving your goals and desires. Or you can activate you mental super power and welcome challenges and change with resiliency and a clear sense of purpose.
The challenges and obstacles that are placed in front of us serve a purpose. They are a catalyst for our transformation, which can result in our freedom from suffering mentally and emotionally. Most of us focus on building physical strength, but it is our inner strength that determines our ability to adapt and overcome. It is our mental strength that helps us overcome whatever we face in our lives.
We are all born with this “super power” – the ability to adapt, overcome and accomplish all that we desire. We have these unique gifts and talents to share with our families, friends, communities and the world. Mindfulness practices give us access to our “super powers” for our own fulfillment and to create the world we desire.
Activate Your Super Powers Summer Camp: Age 11-14
Yoga, mindfulness and the power of your senses
June 21-23, 2019 - Wiley, TX
Tida Chambers is the Co-founder and President of Live Free Yoga. She is a 500-hr ERYT and holds an MBA in Marketing in Health Organization Management from Earlham College in Indiana. Tida received a Respondre Degree from The School of Metaphysics where she also taught. She is children's certified through Yoga Calm Tida has been teaching Yoga full time for the last 16 years in many capacities including adults, youth of all ages, at-risk youth, public and private schools. Her mission in life is to bring balance and harmony to our youth and pave the way for a better future.