Embracing Fear Through Yoga: Discouragement with Asanas

Embracing Fear Through Yoga: Discouragement with Asanas

Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage – Neal A. Maxwell.

There is no pose more discouraging to me than handstand.  I constantly crave to be in this pose. When I stop and ask myself why I want to be in it so desperately, so much comes up. This is the purpose of yoga, to make us dig deeper. To explore emotions that have been hidden or repressed.

First and foremost, discouragement is a useless. Discouragement is a secondary emotion. Discouragement is something we tend to feel when we cannot find strength or we are hiding for another emotion.

I feel discouraged when I feel inadequate. I am an yoga instructor and I cannot hold a strong handstand without a wall behind me. This fact makes me feel like a failure.

There are two things I should focus on in regards to emotion behind my handstand, and discouragement is not one of them.

One, what is keeping me from the fullest expression of the pose? I’m afraid. A fear of falling is useless, and this I am aware of, so I shove it aside. The matter of the fact is that I AM afraid of falling, and this is something I need to face. Just because I expect myself to be braver does not invalidate that I am in fact scared. I need to accept my fear before I can learn to face it.

Secondarily, and most importantly, I need to face the emotion behind my fixation on getting into the pose. Yoga is about so much more than physical accomplishments. In fact, I initially fell in love with yoga due to the peace of mind it brings. Whether you can or cannot execute particular asanas does not decide if your practice is true.

Your practice is your own, no one else’s. I constantly tell my students to stay present. Stay on your own mat. Don’t watch someone on their mat and compare yourself. You are you. Not until I can learn to let go of my own harsh self-judgement and critical expectations will I be able to be in handstand fully.

Acceptance. Accept yourself, accept your pose. Stay where YOU need to be. And let go of discouragement. Dig deeper and find whats hiding beneath that secondary emotion. Have the courage to do so.

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