Yoga Empowered my Fears
Have you ever named a few things that you’re afraid of or you think you’re afraid of, and notice how those small things can create a huge impact, crutch, or hindrance to your mind, body, actions, and breath? Just standing next to a roller coaster makes my breath change!
Fear can manifest in different ways; throughout the body, mind, spirit, on your mat, off your mat, in your day- to- day life and in your conscious and subconscious mind -any and every part of your life. When we are born, we are equipped with the fear of loud noises and falling, as a survival tool, which is normal fear. Yet, abnormal fear, is learned; learned from your experiences, community, and the society that shapes you. The manifestation of abnormal fear in your life is what causes and recycles limiting thoughts, and ultimately a limiting reality.
From my yoga practice, I've learned that fear comes when I least expect it. Hesitation to try a new asana, (exiting ones’ comfort zone) or letting unnecessary thoughts flood my mind instead of trusting myself, my body (anxiety on high). I learned fear can look like sitting on your mat with the weight of the world on your shoulders, not gravity pulling you down, but a weight keeping you in place. The tension that arises when I need to be vulnerable but I am afraid to share and build trust with another person or overthink myself to worry that I will be misunderstood. In my practice, I tend to avoid arm balancing asanas because I am afraid of hurting myself or that my body isn’t prepared. My fears highlight that I need to build trust within myself; my practice allows me to be honest with myself to relearn, unlearn, and break down what is really holding me back.
These are a few ways fear shows up in my life, but yoga has given me access to the tools around and within me to overcome any obstacles. I know how to create and practice fundamental techniques to help me gain strength and feel supported when I practice arm balances. I know that to be vulnerable I must first accept my feelings then I must accept and work through those feelings. I know to overcome fear, self-doubt, anxiety etc. is to meet the negative thoughts with what I know is true and positivity. With yoga, you become self-aware and can acknowledge what is necessary to remove, build, and improve on your path.
Fear at first can seem crippling, but once you realize it’s part of you, you learn to accept and work with it. Begin to accept fear as a part of who you are, something to work with, not suppress, or be impervious too. As you unlearn fear meet yourself with truth, honesty, and compassion.
Fear has helped my practice grow. When I first began practicing yoga I had this enthusiasm and certainty, because I knew and felt that I needed to heal and nothing was going to stand in my way! That is until fear and its' buddies’ anxiety and doubt started to make their way in. Why did I feel these things? I began to wonder about me and my blackness* entering "yoga spaces", my bigger body entering these spaces. " A lot of plus-sized women feel shy, or anxious about attending a gym or even a yoga class because we worry about what people think." –Jasmine Reeder Creator and Founder, Curvaceous Lush
My hesitations were there, but the intention of bettering myself motivated me; I let fear propel me into my aspirations
I let these fears about my being in these spaces propel me into becoming a yoga instructor. Which is still crazy to me some days, but it’s an honor and always grateful to share my practice. I live alongside fear, not above it or beneath. I became what I wanted to see when I was practicing, and someone who I wanted to interact with on my journey. As a yoga instructor, it’s important to me that the students feel seen and feel better than they were before class. When students tell me after a class they feel so good or when I start to have regulars it reaffirms me that I am on my path. And when you feel supported by the Universe there is no need to fear, worry, or doubt.
Although as a yoga instructor, I still get twinges of these feelings, I remember that limitations begin in the mind and are from misconceptions embedded in the subconscious. I know that for my peace, health, and MY LIFE it is my duty, to meet the falsies in the mind with truth, compassion and honesty. I still entertain or fight with limiting thoughts, but I do my best to return to what I know is true, to move forward.
The most significant thing I learned about fear is that it is something to work alongside, to help you move past where you were before; fear can be released and unlearned. we do the yoga to remove the blocks in the mind and body to create and evolve.
*SN: Being a black yoga practitioner when being black itself can be hectic, in my eyes, is an incredibly radical, revolutionary act.
How do you work with fear in your life?