Can Yoga Help You Overcome Fear?

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westasanaI’m not sure when I realized this; yoga has helped me to overcome many fears–fear of being seen, speaking in front of groups, trying new things. Insidious as it sounds, the benefits of a daily yoga practice have a way of sneaking up on you. Fear stopped me from moving ahead. I have and can use my practice to move through just about anything.

Of course, for humans, fear has kept us alive historically and presently such as: fear of moving objects, not having enough food and wild animals. Fear triggers the fight or flight response whether there is or isn’t a life-threatening situation. It is one of the causes of some of our stress-related habits and illnesses.

Patanjali explains in YS 1.12 Abhyasavairagyabhyam tannirodhah that if we do the practice [any practice], we will be able to let go of the grip of things [i.e. fear] that stand in the way, and then we will move towards one-pointed focus [our goal=no fear]. 

So what practice can you do?

  • Asana, yoga postures – move a muscle, change a thought
  • Gratitude- each more think of 3 things you are grateful forhya
  • Smile – even if you don’t feel it at first
  • Chant a soothing sound-like ah or om
  • Talk to someone who cares
  • Take a walk in nature
  • Write in a journal
  • Pranayama, try a cooling breath practice
  • Meditation
  • Breathe – take 3 deep breaths, count to ten
  • Spend time with positive people
  • Laugh – at yourself, movies, what ever you think is funny
  • Play – with animals, children, in the dirt
  • Create new things 
  • Participate in a sport
  • Avoid people, substances and behaviors that don’t support you 

Each of these things can be made into a daily practice that can move you to a better place. Some of them are better achieved with the guidance of a trained professional, yet movement towards change is mandatory. Are all of these yoga? No. Can we achieve a yogic state of mind, de-stress and start to let go of fear through them? Yes.

Tomorrow I have to meet a new group of 50 people for my new business, and I’m scared. This is probably why I chose this topic. My life has lead me here and I am ready. I will do my practice, breathe, be prepared and take the plunge.

I’d love to hear stories of how you’ve overcome fear.


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