Yoga is a wonderful tool for handling any fears, worries, anxieties and emotional blockages.
Yoga is way more than just the physical movement of asanas (postures). Yoga, relaxation, and meditation are all powerful tools which can help you to acknowledge & release fear, leading to a deep healing transformation. We may feel we need to ‘get rid’ of fear in order to deal with it. I’d like to suggest that we come from a place of acceptance and embrace our fear, so we can learn what the fear is highlighting for us.
In this blog we’ll explore what fear is and where it comes from and how we can use our yoga practice to acknowledge, accept and release our fears, in a gentle, kind and compassionate way. The practice of Yoga is simply to bring yourself back to the present moment where you can gauge for yourself if your fear is a reality or not. Ask yourself “Is this actually happening right now?”. Usually it isn’t and it is our mind that has created a scenario possibly, and most likely, influenced by something that happened in your past.
So how can we use our Yoga practice to accept and release fear?
1. Set your Sankalpa or your intention at the beginning of your practice.
Our yoga practice becomes even more powerful when we settle into a quiet moment before we start and consider what energy, emotion or thought we’d like to shift. Where do we want to be at the end of the practice and what intention would you like to add to focus our practice. In yoga this is called a Sankalpa.
Kelly McGonigal explains this principle really well in a great article ‘How to Create a Sankalpa. She states “A Sankalpa practice starts from the radical premise that you already are who you need to be to fulfill your life’s dharma (purpose). All you need to do is focus your mind, connect to your most heartfelt desires, and channel the divine energy within”.
If you are relatively new to yoga these kinds of statements can be overwhelming or unclear. In a practical sense having an idea before you’re practice of what is troubling you, or what you are feeling fearful of in this moment, is what you may want to observe & feel in your body, emotions and thoughts as you practice. When we allow our fears to be present and we feel them within our nervous system, and our energy, it’s like we give the feelings permission to be there and the resistance to feeling the fear drops away and the fear loses its power. We begin to feel things might not seem so bad after all. Ideas and solutions may come to you or you simply feel ‘better’ in your skin after your practice and what seemed like a really big issue at the beginning no longer seems like it. You’ve had a perspective shift, you have opened and expanded your body and mind to allow the problem to assimilate.
2. Acknowledge the fear in your asanas (postures)
When we begin to bring our nervous system back into balance through any yoga practice, we can more easily identify the fear as it is and any possible resistance we may be holding to this acknowledgment.
As you move through your postures notice tension and tightness and observe it without judgement. Enquire what your body is holding and allow space for mind, body communication to occur. Your body is usually holding tension for a reason and when we make time to listen you can often discover, in this case, what your fear is about.
We are able to release judgement of ourselves for this human condition and bring a gentle kindness and compassion to ourselves as we go through the acknowledgement stage. You may find journalling a really useful tool here too. Set yourself a time, outside of your yoga practice, say 15 minutes, and see what comes out as you write about your fear.
3. Use your breath
As you move through your yoga practice take moments to breathe into tension and tightness you feel in your body. Feel your fear and focus your mind on this space in your body. Allow it to be there. Let the breath fill and expand the space around the fear and as you exhale allow the openness to remain and rest in this openness. This can sometimes take time and sometimes we may need to give ourselves permission to let go of this feeling. It’s ok to let it go. It no longer serves us or protects us.
4. Relaxation/Yoga Nidra
Relaxation or Yoga Nidra is a key part of your yoga practice that allows your body, mind, soul and subtle energies to come back into a beautiful balanced place. Your fear (or some of it) has been released and you can now give yourself permission to be open and expanded into your new perspective. This is the place where the healing takes place, where your body, mind, and soul come back to balance naturally. If you like to be guided during relaxation try our
23-minute relaxation to guide you through your physical tension. From here allow your awareness to move into deeper areas of tension in your body, emotions, and thoughts and gently release through a process of observation and acceptance. Click here for free access.
So I invite you to roll out your mat, consider your focus, acknowledge your fears and welcome them into the arena of your yoga practice allowing them to be, release and heal.
Written by Debs Fawcett
Debs has been practicing yoga for over 23 years and has been teaching as a qualified Dru Yoga teacher for 7 years. She has her own Online Yoga Studio www.soulharmonyyoga.org and is deeply passionate about creating classes and resources to holistically bring people back to their beautiful, natural, energised and peaceful self. For more blogs go to https://soulharmonyyoga.org/soul-harmony-yoga-blog