It’s raining where I live in Colorado and has been for five days. If you live in the United States, you’ve probably heard about the devastating floods turning streets into rivers and leaving thousands stranded here. Thankfully, I’m safe and most everyone I know is, too.
Yet the rain falls and more flash flood warnings with it.
A family near Boulder was interviewed about how they had to scramble up a mountainside to take cover from the flood. CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked the family’s young preteen girl if she was scared.
“No, I wasn’t scared,” she said matter-of-factly. And she smiled, a big white-toothed grin. Meanwhile her mother, equal parts proud of her daughter and stupefied, volunteered, “I was scared!”
There’s no question that little girl wasn’t scared. But why wasn’t she and why didn’t I believe her?
The everyday fear
When we grow up, we stop imagining a life without fear.
We’re not put in life-threatening situations often, or at least I hope you’re not. But we do put up with a certain degree of “everyday fear.” This is the voice that says, It’s not going to work, you’re going to fail, nobody likes you.
I just heard this voice today when I launched You Again Yoga to a select group of yogis and yoginis.
And then I took a deep breath and hit “send” anyway.
It might not work. It might fail. But what if it does work, and it succeeds and I help others come to love themselves more?
The fears that are backed with a desire for betterment — for yourself or others — are worth putting up with.
Putting distance between you and fear
What was the last fearful thing you did? Remember how, after you did it, you probably felt on top of the world?
In the wake of fear, we realize there is no use in playing it safe when “safe” is unsatisfactory.
I could parrot what a lot of people say on this issue to help you overcome fear. Like envisioning the worst that could happen (you’ll always find a way through); breathing deep; letting go, letting God. All of these help, but not all will prod you toward action.
What will propel you the most through fear is to consistently prove your capabilities.
When you expand into what you’re capable of — whether it’s an arm balance like Crow Pose or finally saying “no” when you’ve always said “yes” — the distance between I won’t and I will shortens.
We feel safe when we reside in our judgments. We expand when we challenge why we ever needed them in the first place.
What are you afraid of? On your mat this week, I invite you to do a yoga pose that scares you. When you nail it, as you so obviously will, soak the feeling into your skin. It is your expansion in physical form.
Your mind isn’t far behind.
Try it: Crow Pose, Bakasana
The fear of falling flat on your face could not be more literal than in Crow Pose. Find your flight by hugging your navel in and up. The lift in the pose happens because of this, rather than the positioning of your arms.
Which just goes to show, your inner power may not always be obvious, but it’s always there just waiting for you to awaken it.
Note: Not ready to lift off solo? Turn your back to a wall and press your toes against it to stay balanced.
- Squat in the middle of your mat. Plant your palms shoulder-width distance apart and root strongly into the thumb and forefinger, spreading the pinky fingers wide. Find one point of focus between the hands and keep your gaze there.
- With tiptoes on the ground, begin to bend the elbows and bring the tops of your knees onto the backs of the upper arms, snugging closely toward the armpits.
- Broaden the upper back by drawing your shoulder blades toward your hips and away from the ears. If newer to the pose, create a deeper bend in the elbows to support you. Work toward straightening the arms as you develop balance.
- Inhale and lean your weight forward into the palms while drawing your navel in toward your spine. Exhale and begin to lift one foot off the ground, flexing the toes and hugging the abdomen in and up to create more lift in the hips. Root strongly through the palms.
- Stay here if this is enough, then lower the foot down to the ground. Inhale the opposite foot up off the ground, balance for a few breaths, then lower.
- Smoothly breathe as you inhale both feet off the ground, bringing the toes toward one another to lightly touch. Hug your navel up and in and energetically press your inner elbows toward one another. Stay for 4 to 6 deep breaths. Gently lower your toes and come into Child’s Pose.