24 Jan Fear, Doubt, Uncertainty, Insecurity – What To Do About It
I’ve been spending time recently considering the role that fear plays in my life, and the lives of others. How fear leads to feelings of insecurity, doubt, uncertainty, and avoidance (like addiction). In the yoga philosophy, fear (Sanskrit: abhiniveśaḥ*) is considered one of the five main obstacles to yoga. Yoga being more than the physical poses we practice in class. Yoga as a state of union, the coming together of our body, mind and spirit. Yoga as the ability to focus our mind without interruption. Fear gets in the way of this.
As human beings, we are constantly making choices – choosing our actions, our words, and our thoughts. It’s not uncommon to feel a loss of control of our lives, as if we no longer have the ability to choose for ourselves. Often, our unconscious choices, or habits, seem to be running the show. Practicing yoga helps up to regain control, to take the seat of power within ourselves, uncover the choices we are making that get in our own way, and create a different reality going forward.
The yoga philosophy tells us that fear is a product of the mind, and an unconscious driver of this loss of power and control. As we step into a face-to-face relationship with our own sense of fear, our awareness expands and so too does our agency, our creative power to choose the life we want to lead. The beauty of yoga is – we can take this philosophical and psychological understanding and make it into a practice with our bodies. We can use our asana to face our fear.
To practice forming a more conscious and healthier relationship with fear, focus your asana on grounding into the strength and stability of your body. Strong standing poses like the warriors and goddess/horse stance, twists, and core work stimulate the first through third chakras. Inversions and arm balances help us face our fear head on.
Feel your body, feed your lungs, and settle into your real power as an independent, creative force.
*abhiniveśaḥ translates literally as “clinging to life” and is often taken as the inverse, fear of death.
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