Saturday, January 8, 2011

Moving Backwards

There is an exercise in trust where your friend, spouse, significant other stands behind you, so they can catch you in free fall.  If you let yourself without trying to catch yourself it's a good sign that you trust that person.  The question here is:

Do you trust yourself?

In yoga we have our own little trust test that is prevalent in every one of our back-bends.  When I have students go into chakrasana, the wheel posture, I always have a handful of students who worry that they will injure their backs, worry they will not catch themselves, worry that they will fail.  I tell them breath, trust yourself, and guide them into the posture.

In a yoga class the back-bend highlights trust in two relationships:

  1. The Instructor/Student relationship
  2. Inner Self.

To confidently move into a back-bend you must trust that your instructor is guiding you to a place that is more holistic and not dangerous.  Now this may not be easy to do if the instructor is new to you, or you are in a large class where the instructor is unable to give individualized attention.  Do pay attention to your gut reaction in these cases if you are a new student or in a large class be sure to speak with your class leader to inform them of your bodily concerns, and see what it is they advise for specialized needs.  Once this relationship is established and you trust their guidance you can focus your attention on self reflection.

Ask yourself why you are fearful of going backwards: is it fear of injury, fear of something new, or even something you are not yet aware of.  Take small steps towards your goal moving a little deeper into your pose each class.  Learn when stasis of the body benefits you most and do not fear change when it is time to challenge your body.

My favorite remedy for fearfulness is affirmations.  As you approach something that makes you uncomfortable, whether in a yoga class or your daily life repeat and affirmation that makes you feel secure with yourself.  Here are some examples that you are welcome to use, or modify to your needs.
  • I am a strong and divine being.
  • I am safe with myself.
  • The universe guides me through all that I do.
  • I am the master of my life.

Through out your challenges and achievements be mindful of what fear is telling you.  Recognize when your fear is a warning sound, and when your fear is just a lack of confidence; and act accordingly.

Om Shanti.

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