Got Fear in your Yoga?
When we practice yoga we have a yearning, whether we know it or not -- it is a spiritual yearning. It arises from within even before we are conscious of its presence.
As this yearning emerges more into our consciousness we are faced with fears. We all know that fears are rooted in ego and control. So how we choose to face our fears is directly connected to our own evolution/expansion.
Yoga poses, offer us opportunities to face these fears- bearing in mind most fears are psychological threats as opposed to physical worldly threats.
Nonetheless many practitioners ask how to deal with these fears. Most long for a step-by-step recipe that will launch them right past any and all fears.
But there are NO shortcuts on the path toward transformation!
We need to willing show up and courageously face our fears.
And when and only when we are ready, we will naturally move through “the fear.” As we move through the fear it dissolves and ultimately loses its grip upon our consciousness.
It is as if we are operating within a certain level of consciousness --> we approach a yoga pose --> inner threats (fearful thoughts) arrive within the mind --> they block us from being able to execute the pose.
But when we are READY--> this space within reveals itself – it’s an immovable presence and suddenly there is nothing that the unconscious can toss our way to get us to run and hide --> essentially we conquer fear by not responding to the thoughts in the deepest most compassionate way.
There is more than one path to facing fears when practicing yoga, but my personal favorite is by way of LOVE.
· First, we must embody a willingness to move through the fear.
· We need to find a kind of stillness in the midst of the fear – a stillness where we let go (often discovered through the breath). The letting go is not a giving up or quitting it is a beautiful surrender into the vast unknown.
· Choose a pose that reveals fear for you, give that pose more time and respect – it holds great potential toward evolution -
· Allow the body the freedom and space that it needs – the process cannot be rushed or hurried. The more you try to hurry it the slower it will go. For example, when I do deep backbends I often sneeze – so instead of judging this or fighting it I simply view it with a loving compassion.
· Dedicate the pose to what “you” truly love –for me this is God. Therefore, as I approach the pose I dedicate the pose to God -- and to other Great Yogis who have come before me.
· Take yourself out of the pose. Consider the greater good and how others may be facing similar fears. Use that knowing to guide you as you approach the pose. Perhaps silently thinking, “I am doing this for others, not just for the little me.”
· Tap into the interconnectedness of all beings.
· Realize that the moment you move through a fear it opens a doorway for another to move through his/her fear.
· Remember that letting go may be approached in more than one way it can be done with kindness or force – which way seems to make more sense to you?
· Use an affirmation to help you connect more deeply with the world at large such as: “I am letting go for the concern of all beings.”
And please remember always to be grateful for the journey.
It is a wise yogi that practices for the sake of all. We are interconnected and “my” evolution results in “your” evolution. #satnam
cover image courtesy of Sergey Pesterev