How shakin’ my booty helped me get out of my head and let go of my fear

me in a bad as*s yoga pose

Last night I taught my second Hip Hop yoga class for the year. The theme of the class was:

“Escape your inhibitions and free your mind by getting into your body and out of your head. Join Tracy Matthews in a fun, athletic, powerful vinyasa style class choreographed to Hip Hop beats and cool jams designed to create space internally by allowing you to release, let go and draw in whatever it is that you desire.”

Before I taught the class I was really afraid that no one would show up and that I would totally bomb. I don’t know why. I teach full classes all of the time. I even taught a similar Hip Hop Yoga class a few months before which was packed. However, something about it being the middle of summer, on a Saturday evening at 6pm (when people are either primping to head out to dinner or taking a long weekend at the beach) made me second guess myself, made me nervous and made me afraid to put myself out there.

I love Hip Hop music, I love yoga and I love creating interesting sequencing in my yoga classes. However, this time around, I thought my booty shakes might not be well received. A few hours before, I was really anxious and even procrastinated putting my playlist together. Even though I was excited to teach it again, a few hours before the class, I was actually dreading my commitment. I even took a long nap in the afternoon (sometimes called a “defense mechanism”) to escape for a bit. Literally, I was creating some insane scenario in my head about my class being a total flop!

The hour of doom was closing in (ha!), so I decided to take a few moments before I headed into teach to just sit with my fear and to breath into it. As usual, my fear started release and began to transform into excitement. As soon as I walked into the club, one of my favorite students was there and had brought her whole family! By letting go a bit more, I realized my anxiety was something that I created in my head. Once I got the room prepped and started playing some great tunes like “All My Life” by Florida and “Day n’ Nite” by Kid Cudi, the room started filling up. Minute by minute, more familiar faces came into the studio with huge grins on and I realized that I had created this fear by making up this supposed failure in my head. Class started and I reiterated the theme of the class to my students-get out of your head and into your body. I took another deep breath and I was back in my body and out of MY head.

Needless to say, we all had a great time practicing and listening to some great grounding beats. It was such a fun event and I was stoked that I had a classroom full of people ready to get down with their “as*s-ana” and a few booty shakes to boot!

My lesson learned: when I create a scenario of what COULD POSSIBLY go wrong, I create fear with no basis. That fear created a story that was not true but I that still fully believed. The breath is the truth and it helped me transform my fear into excitement and brought me back to reality and back into my body.

Yo, let’s throw this sh*t down next time and get your as*s-ana shakin’ on September 22nd. Sign up here for more details! Join me on Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch.

Additionally, I am starting my playlist for my next Hip Hop class and I need your input. Tell me your favorite Hip Hop songs and your thoughts about fear in the comments below.

I’ll end this with a quote:

“I think all the silence, is worse than all violence
Fear is such a weak emotion, that’s why I despise it
We’re scared of almost everything, afraid to even tell the truth
So scared of what you think of me, I’m scared of even telling you
Sometimes I’m the only person I feel safe to tell it to
I’m locked inside a cell in me, I know that there’s a jail in you
Consider this your bailing out, so take a breath inhale a few
My screams is finally gettin’ free, my thoughts is finally yellin’ through”

Lupe Fiasco-Words I Never Say

Lupe Fiasco


  1. shanna on July 17, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    keep rockin’ your asana, beautiful! groove with your body and most of all–breathe!

    • Tracy Matthews on July 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks Shanna! Yes, Breathing is vital…xo

  2. Sue Ann Gleason on July 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Made me want to dance! 😉

    • Tracy Matthews on July 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Me too! I was singing out loud and dancing when I was teaching…ha!

  3. danielle ( on July 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    love this post, and as a fellow hip-hop yoga teacher i can totally relate! or as a person who hates to speak in public, i can relate, or for any number of things we create fear around, i can relate.
    i have a favorite cartoon on my meditation alter… it is a picture of a woman pointing to a graph with one side at 99.9% and the other .1%. She points to the 99.9% and says, “this is representing all the things you ever worry about..” and then she points to the .1% and says.. ” and this represents all the things that actually happen.”
    i try to remember that every time i start to psyche myself out about something…i am going to really try to get to your next class!

    • Tracy Matthews on July 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      Danielle, thanks so much for this comment. I need a picture of this cartoon! The whole thing was so silly…but it’s really was all in my mind! Can’t wait to take your class as well!

  4. Sasha( Blyssful Health) on July 17, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Tracy,

    I love this post. Well partly because I love yoga and hip hop and also because the topic of fear is such an important one to address. I am still in awe at your yoga pose!! Wish you lived closer.

    • Tracy Matthews on July 18, 2011 at 7:13 am

      Sasha, thanks so much for your comment! Yes I wish we lived closer but so glad that we can stay connected in ways like this! thank you!

  5. danielle ( on July 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    oh, i forgot to tell you my favorite booty shakin yoga songs:

    eve- shake your tamborine
    mase- mo’money, mo’ problems
    jay-z- empire state of mind
    tribe called quest- electric relaxation
    justin timberlake- damn girl…( okay, so some question his hip-hopness, but i always gotta have some jt in there)

    ps- instead of getting my own blog finished, i am playing around on yours! lol

  6. Tracy Matthews on July 18, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I like it!

  7. Jenny Shih on July 18, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Oh, I can doom-n-gloom worry just like you. Thanks for sharing. Whenever I heard someone else’s story about how they worried for nothing, it reminds me that I do the same… and don’t need to.

    Thanks for sharing that cartoon @Danielle – What a great message!

    • Tracy Matthews on July 18, 2011 at 11:44 am

      Thanks Jenny. The Doom N Gloom is quite silly and ends up being a time waster. just plain nuts! thanks for sharing!

  8. Emelie Rota on July 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Tracy, I wish I was in NYC so I could take this class. It sounds absolutely amazing, fun, booty-shaking, and kick-ASS!! Way to go in facing your trumped up fears and coming out the other side with a sheen of sweat and a shimmer of pride.

    I love this story.. it’s so true that we often construct fears so solidly that they appear to be impenetrable. But the minute we start tearing down the walls they start to crumble in our hands.

    For my money, you cannot beat the Chocolate City Mix by madlib. Seriously… it’s an amazing mix – perfect for a 45-minute flow – and incorporates everything from timberlake to the doors to British hip hop… it rocks.

    • Tracy Matthews on July 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      Emelie I am going to check out the mix! If you are ever in NYC you are welcome as my guest!

  9. Karen Christensen on July 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Gurrrrrrl, I have one question. When are you coming to shake your booty out here in LA?!?!?!

    You had me from your first line … “How shakin’ my booty helped me get out of my head and let go of my fear.” For me, it is the Monkey Brain that can derail the train and rob my job. The ONLY way I’ve ever figured out how to get her to take a back seat, is when I get myself moving. I’ve literally got to take all that static, recycled, obsessive thought energy and work her out on a cellular level through movement.

    Marie Forleo talks about “Dancing with our Fear” and I can’t think of anything more perfect than that. Well, wait. Yes I can. YOU.

    Cheers to my #1 Favorite Yoga & Jewelry Goddess!

    • Tracy Matthews on July 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      I am dying to shake my booty with You! Thanks for your sweet comment Karen! You are a rockstar and making such an impact on this world yourself. I was definitely dancing with fear!

  10. Kathleen on July 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Tracy! You are sing my song! … songS! yes. The ever-presence of fear in the place of new ventures! And how it overtakes the mind… the body… consumes time, energy… continues to loop through the nervous system as if life itself was at stake!

    Thank you for the reminder just to BE WITH…. sit… breathe into… say hello. Acknowledge its presence rather than run! in terror from it! and then… a settling.

    Wise people have told me that courage is not a lack of fear…. it is acting in the presence of fear. You did. YAY!!! And… I am developing my muscle to do it every day! Do something that terrifies me daily!! hahah! what a frggin motto!

    Thank you for creating the space to be with it! Gonna look for some great hip hop tunes and send em your way (checking in with my master hiphop advsior – my 21 year old son! hahaha!) xo

    • Tracy Matthews on July 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks so much for this note Kathleen! I am always working on the “acting in the presence of fear” thing that you speak about! Would love Hip Hop Tunes suggestions!

  11. Karin McDermott on July 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Umm….yeaaahhh! “How shakin’ my booty helped me get out of my head and let go of my fear.” Loving this title and the content!

    Music is everything in a class…it does direct the flow, it does incite emotion, it does help us get lost & found, and when those things happen…the fear goes right out the door and your brilliant ability to be of service to your students shines. So keep your “as*s-ana” grooving!

    I cannot wait to take a class when Soultree ventures to NYC this autumn. yippee! I have 10+ years worth of teaching playlists to DJ with you sistah! No wonder Karen thought we would get along like two peas in a pod!

    Thievery Corporation will never steer you wrong in a groovy flow class!

    Breathe deeply + Rock it! xo

    • Tracy Matthews on July 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm

      Yes we definitely need to connect when you are here! I love thievery corporation. I haven’t pulled them out in a few years to play but I definitely will now. Thanks for your note!

  12. Lea Lopriore on July 19, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Tracy! This. Ruled.

    Even if there wasn’t anyone in the class what is the worst thing that

    No one shows up and you go home. You don’t die. and you learn something from it.

    This is a great reminder often what we think in our heads is WAY more intense than anything that could really happen.

    I’m totally guilty of doing this ALL the time. This is why I didn’t start
    my blog or vintage business a year ago…I just thought no one will want
    to know this stuff or want anything and I shouldn’t bother. But what if people do? And whats the worst thing that will happen?

    I wont die. I will learn something from it. And I will totally have the most rad closet of vintage wares EVER!

    But even worse. What if I don’t try at all and I always wonder what if..

    Shake dem bunzz!

    • Tracy Matthews on July 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Lea, Thanks so much for your note. I am looking forward to checking out your vintage wears and your blog once it’s complete! shake it!

  13. Laurie Rosenfeld on July 19, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Tracy, although I have been to a few yoga classes here in Seattle, I don’t take yoga regularly, and have not yet found a class that works for me. Reading your story, I would LOVE to take a class with you! Thanks for sharing your fear and how you managed it. I too think the breath is my ally when I am afraid. You wrote so elegantly: “The breath is the truth and it helped me transform my fear into excitement and brought me back to reality and back into my body.” Well said. I look forward to more!

  14. Alara Castell on July 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Fear can totally creep up on you. It’s one of the biggest life lessons that many of us face. We can either let it consume us and then we hide forever or we can face our fears and shine in our brightest light.

    I’ve had many times where fear took over. I used to hate speaking in front of people. I would shake, get nervous…but I knew it would help my career and I craved to teach others in a big way.

    I worked through it and in every workshop that I attended I raised my hand..made sure I was seen and I had the mic. This totally helped me face my fear. Now I speak in front of the room with ease. I’m really at home there now. LOL!

    So glad girl you also tackled your fears. I have to agree with you as well that dancing totally helps…really getting in your body. Oh it so rocks! I love to dance and any time I get to incorporate it into my work I do. hehe

    Alara K. Castell

    Your Sassy Spiritual Guide, guiding coaches to build their business from their heart instead of from their head so they are having fun and making money doing what they love.

    • Tracy Matthews on July 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      Thanks alara! yes speaking in front of a large group is super scary! Thanks for your comment!


  15. Loralee Hutton on July 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    That is one crazy yoga pose Tracy! And a beautiful message. Of course people were going to show up! But it’s a fear we all have. Will people be interested in my work, will they buy the thing I’m offering today. I often ask myself, “if they don’t, will I be okay anyway?” And the answer is always a resounding YES! I’m still me, whether people make the purchase, approve of my work, or show up to see me. It’s a grounding moment for me. And the fear still comes up. Part of the rollercoaster of life, I think.

    Wish I was there to shake it with you! ~ Loralee

    • Tracy Matthews on July 20, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks for the note Loralee! Roller coaster of life for sure. Thanks for your comment!

  16. Scott Powers on July 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Glad I found my way over here Tracy! I enjoyed this post because not only do I love me some hip-hop, but I’ve been fighting that fear recently of teaching a class and no one showing up. Ironic? It is amazing how when we get past those fear-induced stories in our head, not only do they never materialize, but we end up receiving those magical moments in life. “Breath is the truth” – love this!

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