Fear stands strong as one of the greatest hindrances in the path of leading a happy and rewarding life. If allowed its own devices, fear has the power to tear down your dreams and hold you back from all walks of life. An emotion triggered by an apparent threat, fear is the basic survival mechanism of all organisms. It is what stimulates the body and mind to fight back against impending dangers.
A great misconception that people hold in their minds is that people who commit themselves to regular exercise seldom feel fear. Do you think someone who you thought to be quite courageous all your life, was never afraid? Every individual experiences fear. The difference? The added boost of courage.
However, there is a great difference between not experiencing fear and being courageous. Courage helps you overcome your fear and break free from the constraints created by it. Fear is both an unpleasant as well as a justifiable emotion.
How to Overcome Fear with Yoga and Breathing Exercises
People are often surprised when introduced to the fact that yoga can highly aid the reduction of fear and anxiety. When you begin your yoga journey, you tend to start slowly, beginning with less-intimidating poses and slowly moving on to the more challenging ones. Yoga has an amazing way of influencing your life, boosting courage, working on your self-confidence and pushing you beyond what you perceive to be your ‘limits’. You can nurture the ability to walk away from being volatile and instead tap into your areas of strength. Feelings of fear and anxiety can be battled using the gifts of third chakra and breathing to ignite the much-needed courage in you.
A commonly observed phenomenon during a state of fear or anxiety is that we breathe properly, or take wasteful, shallow breaths. This form of breathing adds to our fear, making situations extremely difficult to deal with. Calm and mindful breathing acts as a tonic for the nerves. Breathing exercises set the foundation for your inner courage to grow.
The best part, however, is that these exercises can be performed at any point of the day, irrespective of you having to be concerned about a separate place or additional equipment. Kapalbhati and Calm Breathing are two of the most effective breathing exercises that help eliminate fear and calm your nerves.
A vital aspect of breathing exercises is to lock your concentration on rhythmic exhalations through nostrils. Most importantly, the process of breathing must occur quite naturally. Keeping a mental count will help you get the pace.
In most cases, when instilled with reluctance and fear, we tend to succumb to the thought of not finding any way out of the situation. Nevertheless, incorporating a yoga practice in your daily routine can help you alleviate anxiety to a great extent. Yoga involves calculated mindful breathing, intense focus on postures, and establishing stillness of mind.
It is not about competing with another entity or listening to external noises. The key is to choose movements that calm your body and mind, do not make you feel rushed and are not overly challenging for you. Stepping out of your comfort zone is often a great reason that instigates fear. This is where yoga proves to be highly beneficial. Yoga helps you push past your limits and step out of your comfort zone.
This is how you truly overcome your fears. Yoga gives you a sense of freedom. To overcome our fears, we need to embrace it, and the best way to do this is to transform the fear into freedom. Does this mean that you won’t be afraid anymore? Well, we never actually stop being afraid. We just learn to deal with it. Yoga helps your body adjust to the catalytic effect of fear.
Yoga alone cannot rid you of all your anxieties and fears in life. However, it can help slow down your racing mind, thus, calming your nerves.
A few movements that can help you tackle your fears with considerable ease are:
- Melting Heart or Puppy Pose (Anahatasana)
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
- Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
- Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
An important aspect of practicing yoga is to keep your body and mind relaxed through the process. Keeping your body tensed while your practice might not give you the desired effect. Remind yourself to keep disruptive thoughts at bay.
Over time, yoga can become a part of your very nature and a place to turn back to when you need it. Fear and anxiety are not burdens that you carry forever.
A dedicated yoga practice will help you overcome them and, in turn, discover contentment within. Thus, it’s time to get your yoga mats rolling and kickstart your daily sessions.