Busting through fear with yoga

by Sondra Matara, 3 OMS Director of Marketing and Community Builder

I have been reading Deepak Chopra’s Why is God Laughing, Here’s the line that has stuck with me:

“Either you’re a person wondering if you have a soul, or you’re a soul who knows that being a person isn’t real.”

Whoa, heavy stuff, right? That line hit me like a ton of breaks, right in my third chakra (this is the solar plexus, aka the spot right underneath your sternum where your ribs separate, aka the “bread basket.” This is the place where we hold our self-identity and fears). So much of our lives are fear-based, but the reality is that we cannot predict the future. Yes, it might happen. Your worst fears might come true. But you know what? They also might not. Spending time worrying about it is taking your energies into a direction where your fear is unproductive. Yoga is such an amazing tool for helping us to remain in the present. Here. Now. Where everything is fine. Or maybe it isn’t. But it just…is.

When you feel fear overtaking your reality, one of the best ways to counteract the rising tide is with heart openers. These simple yoga postures will open up your heart, expand your chest, and allow more oxygen in to your body to help you think more clearly. Think about it: what do people who are afraid instinctively do? They hunch over, shoulders slump forward, chest collapses in with shallow breath. We do this naturally to protect our most vulnerable area, our heart and vital organs. But when this fear is only imagined, we are only perpetuating the cycle by assuming this position; we need to open up through our heart and chest, take some deep breaths, and invite life, right here and right now, in. A few of my favorite heart openers are anahatasana, matsyasana, or lying over a bolster in cobbler’s pose (an awesome restorative option).

After you feel a little more open in your physical body, it’ll naturally be a little easier to move to that scary place within. You know the place, that deep, dark place where the fear resides. Fear lives in a place of  “future,” so one of the best ways to combat that is with the power of the present. Try this super-simple meditation next time you’re needing to come back to your center.

Here – Now Meditation

From a comfortable position, either seated or lying down, come back to focusing on your breath. As you inhale, imagine the word “here.” On the exhale, imagine the word “now.” As you do this, really connect to the sensations you’re feeling; the ground beneath you, the cool breath at your nostrils, the hair along the back of the neck. The sensations that you are feeling here. Now. Continue with this as long as you can or would like. If other thoughts intrude, try to let them pass. Notice the thoughts, and label them as “future” or “past,” letting them drift away, and then returning to Here (inhale). Now (exhale).

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Whew. Now don’t you feel better? Let’s bust some fear together.
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