As a beginner in yoga, certain insecurities will come up even before you start taking the classes. These fears might even stop you from enrolling in the class. Or once you are at it, it might be the source of your doubts and frustrations. Yoga is practiced by performing asana or poses. However, you might have this fear that you are not flexible enough in doing these poses. Fear not! You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga. In fact, yoga can be your tool to improve it. You might not be flexible at first, but over time, you will become more limber.
But even with that as an assurance, there might still be some scary thoughts running on your head. According to the book Myths of Asanas, fear is present in the body through tension. By performing the asana, you can decrease or eliminate these tensions in your body. When you don’t feel tense, you don’t feel afraid. And when you don’t have fear, you are opening your heart towards more positive emotions.
First off, it is important to identify your fears. Are you afraid of inversions? Of falling and crushing your brain doing a crow pose? Of course, it is human nature to be cautious about these things. Your innate self will always think of a survival strategy to keep your body safe. Knowing what you are afraid of is the first thing that you need to identify. Write these items down and describe what your fears are made of. Is this something connected to an emotion? Do you doubt your physical capabilities in doing these poses? It is a process wherein you start to discover the deepest reasons of your fears. Writing them down also makes it is easier for you to look at it in a more objective way compared to just entertaining these thoughts in your head. As you write, you open your emotions, which can provide psychological relief and even help in diminishing your fears and anxiety early on.
Once you have written down the aspects of yoga poses that scare you, carefully evaluate each item one by one. Ask yourself if the fear is something that has basis or if it’s something irrational. Is this fear your defense mechanism in keeping yourself safe? Is this connected to your skills or the lack thereof? And then question yourself if you are willing to put effort into facing and overcoming such fear.
Asking questions does not mean that you are undermining your fears. Of course, your hesitation toward some poses might have legitimate basis. By evaluating each and every fear that you have towards certain yoga postures, you can put things into perspective, so you know which ones are logical and which ones are irrational. You can also start doing your research to know if there really is something to be afraid of or none at all.
Now that you have identified and assessed your fears, it is time to create a plan on how to overcome it. Success does not happen overnight and this is certainly true in yoga. You need to have a conscious intention that you want to conquer your fears. One way is to learn more about the pose and how to efficiently keep yourself safe. Get creative in planning strategies on how you can diminish these elements of fear. Another thing that you have to work on is in strengthening your confidence and believing in yourself that you can actually do it. Try breaking down the details into easier steps which you can accomplish in your practice. And don’t forget to visualize your way towards success.
You’re almost close to overcoming your qualms about yoga poses and now is the best time to actually face your fears. Yes, it can still be frightening, but you shouldn’t run away from them. Just like anything else in life, you should not stop your fear from actually enjoying your journey. It will take some time to get used to it, but if you have visualized that you can succeed in it, then you certainly can.
You can slowly work your way towards your success in defeating your fear of yoga poses through continuous practice. In yoga, you will be taught to meditate and maintain a calm mind centered towards a certain goal. Meditation helps improve your awareness and mindfulness. Follow the breathing techniques to keep you centered. Physical practice builds physical and inner strength, giving you the power to control your fears.
Stop blaming yourself just because you can’t do proper inversions and crow poses at this point. Instead of being frustrated, take a deep breath and accept that this is the stage that you are now. Recognizing that you have weaknesses can help push you to pursue it even more. Yoga teaches you how to dismiss negative, disturbing thoughts and disengaging yourself from your ego. The ability to accept shortcomings is a very powerful emotion that leads to self-realization.
The best way to prevail from any misgivings is to face your fears and take action. As you slowly practice these steps, you also start to reduce your fears. Do not let fear paralyze you. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for help. Your yoga instructor and a friend who also takes yoga are just two of the many people whom you can approach to discuss your apprehensions. Seeking advice from people who might have experienced the same thing as you before can be greatly helpful. By getting help from people who have mastered the art of the asana can be a great source, not only for techniques but also for encouragement.
When you free yourself of fear, you become a stronger and more willful person. These steps are not only directed towards yoga, but they are also applicable to any situation in life where you feel distressed and helpless. Yoga is a very powerful venue to practice dealing with frustrations and fears. And once you succeed on the mat, there is no stopping you from facing the things that you are afraid of in the outside world.