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Five ways you can control your fear with Yoga

Posted on June 21 2017

Sometimes when there is something amazing we want to achieve, our fears can get the better of us.

Who are we to think that we're different from anyone else? Who are we to think we can do anything different to what's already been done?

We can't make the promise that, as you practise yoga, you won't feel fear anymore. But we can give our total assurance that it will help you control them.

Here's five reasons that we know of how yoga helps you control any fear.

1. It helps you identify them.

If you're running from your fears all the time, you never get to look them in the face. You never really get to know them. Knowledge is power.

When you sit (or stand) in a yoga pose, tension releases. That tension might have been in your body for a very long time. That tension probably started with a fear - that you weren't good enough, bright enough, beautiful enough. 

Have you ever stayed in a yoga pose, and had old memories that you thought were dead and buried come up? You aren't alone.

You can't make those old memories go away, but you can look them in the face, as the bigger, better, smarter you, and know they aren't so scary anymore. You've outgrown them.

2. It helps you feel your fears, then let them go.

When we stay with a yoga pose, it can be uncomfortable. Just like our legs can ache running a race, our body can ache in all sorts of new ways as we ask it to do new things in yoga.

We know you aren't the sort who gives up. We know you push through.

Yoga has rewards, just like running does, but yoga is uncomfortable. The bliss comes after the practice. So as you stay with a yoga pose, you'll know that you can listen to discomfort, and put up with it, without running away.

Fear is like that, too. Fear is uncomfortable.

Have you ever tried to sit with a fear, and not do anything about it? Just feel it? When we try to distract ourselves from a fear, that's when we're running away from it.

So, yoga helps you listen to the fear in your body, and know you don't have to run away from it. You don't have to be held by the fear anymore - it's you who holds the fear. And you can let it go.

3. Yoga expands your capacity.

When you start yoga, it will seem like there's a whole lot of poses beyond your reach. Just like when you start running, you can't start with the marathon, you just do what you can.

Before you know it, poses that seemed impossible the first time you tried yoga will come to you effortlessly... and then new poses will open up to you that you didn't dream of ever doing. Every day we practise yoga is like turning over a new leaf in a book - new horizons open.

Focus on your own capacity, and give yourself a pat on the back for how far you've come. You know you can do it.  When you know you can do anything, there's nothing to fear anymore.

4. When you focus on your body, you lose all sense of fear.

Have you ever paid attention to what your body is doing when you feel fear?

Probably not. Because if you were feeling your body, it's pretty hard to feel fear.

When we experience fear, our fight or flight reflex kicks in. That means, we don't think anymore, we just want to run (or swing punches!)

All the blood rushes out of our extremities, and back to protect our vital organs.

Well, yoga makes you slow down. When you do a yoga pose, you feel you feel your feet as they connect to the ground. You feel your pulse as it moves through your wrists. You become a witness, rather than a person who reacts.

You can learn to use this trick whenever you start to get yourself into a situation where you'd usually have felt fear. Feeling uncertain? Anxiety? Stress? Focus on your feet, your ankles, your inner thighs, and the pulse in your hands and wrists. You'll find yourself cool, calm and collected in no time, and ready to fight the good fight.

5. You lose your sense of mortality and regain your invincibility.

You know that it takes extraordinary effort to achieve great things. You can't do that, if you're worried about the everyday details of life all the time. You have to lift your head, and rise above, if you're going to make a mark, make a difference.

And yoga is a great place to start. Because with yoga, you get a sense of who you are, beyond this life, beyond this body, beyond your story. You start to realise your capacity is unlimited, and your life is amazing. Everyday details won't bother you anymore - you'll suddenly be able to zoom out, see the big picture, aim high.

That's because yoga is great for mindfulness. It stills the body, as well as the mind. The things that used to worry you, will just make you laugh - if you even notice them at all.

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