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How Fear Can Open New Doors

What is fear, how can we define it? Or, let’s ask this: Why do we fear? From what, when, and how do we fear and how can it open new doors?

Fear:

Noun: an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.
Verb: being afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or harmful.

”Fear is the cheapest room in the house,
I would like to see you in better conditions.”
-Hafiz

Basically, fear is a feeling that arises from a dangerous situation or threat and causes changes in the metabolism and eventually in behavior.

Fear is the natural and necessary reaction of the body to situations where it feels danger and wants to survive; which actually thanks to fear, the race of human being survived until today. But in our daily lives – let’s say ‘most of the time’, we do not deal with or confront the things that truly threaten our lives. At least for most of us, these situations are less than before. But we still deal with an unnecessary feeling of fear daily, and maybe sometimes we do not even understand where it comes from.

According to research, most common fears in society are; failure, being alone, rejection, flying, heights, spiders, clowns (I can relate to that) and death. Fear of the unknown. For example, why are we afraid of a spider? Probably, we do not know if it is going to harm us or not, so we react with fear. But for some of us, spiders are not a source of fear at all. But why?

Because most of our fears also depend on our lifestyle, country, family, traditions and so on. Seth Norrholm, a transnational neuroscientist at Emory University, states that; “You get evidence from your parents and your environment that you need to be scared of these things.” Drastic, isn’t it?

Sometimes, we can feel all the reactions of the body to fear. Even in a ‘normal’ moment without any special situation, we can feel like something serious is happening. Increase in heart rate, a butterfly effect in the stomach, sweating. These are the fight or flight responses of the body to deal with danger. I can easily write these down because I have been there before. I have even experienced fear of having fear. And this is where we tend to call these moments anxiety or panic attacks. But fear, this very basic human feeling, is it something that we really need to be afraid of?

If we let it affect our lives negatively, the answer is yes…

But we can use our fears as a source of change, as an opportunity to grow.

Can fears really open the doors to new paths?

My answer to this is: Yes!

Let’s look at what ancient yogic texts say about fear?

Patanjali says in Yoga Sutra 2.3 that; ”Ignorance, egoism, attraction and aversion, and fear of death are the afflictions which cause suffering.” (Interpretation by Swami Vishnu – Devananda).

Sutra 2.9 explains more about ‘abhinivesah’ which is translated as ‘blind clinging to life’ by Swami Venkatesananda and ‘attachment to life’ by Iyengar.

Iyengar interprets the Sutra 2.9 as follows: “Self – preservation or attachment to life is the subtlest of all afflictions. It is found even in wise men.” He continues, “While practicing asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breath) or dhyana (meditation), the person penetrates deep within itself. S/he experiences unity in the flow of intelligence, and the current of self-energy. In this state, s/he perceives that there is no difference between life and death, that they are simply two sides of the same coin. Through this understanding, s/he loses his attachment to life and conquers the fear of death.”

Can yoga, when practiced with all its limbs, be the way to deal with our fears? My answer to this also, yes…

But how?

In my past, I had a huge fear of death, which now I learned to deal with. The fear was coming from the unknown. Not knowing what’s going to happen after it. And without any awareness by my side, this fear restrained me from many things, affected my social life, and in the end came to a point of anxiety.

I cannot say to you that all fears come from this, and you can handle them the way I did (in my case, yoga and meditation were the tools to cope). But I firmly believe that attachment to life and obscurity of death hinder us from many things; especially using our full potential for life. Most of the time we may not even be aware of it. Isn’t it ironic that attachment to life makes us unable to fully live our lives?

Yoga practice brings us to the moment, to the here and now. Where there are no worries of tomorrow or resentment of yesterday.

Fear is such a personal feeling that it is not easy to define its reasons in general for every other person. Generalizing it might be dangerous and we ourselves need to get to the roots of our own fears. It is not an easy journey for sure. And there might not be short cuts.

Fear in yoga practice:

I remember my first yoga asana class. I stepped into the studio with fear, with the hope of finding a solution to my fears (ironic, isn’t it?). I lay down in my first Savasana, in the dark class, hearing the noise of my heart, beating with fear. But I knew that there was something special on that mat, at that moment that if I wouldn’t give up, would take me to another path. Which it did…

This doesn’t mean that now I have no fears. I still have, A LOT! But yoga taught me to look into its roots and how to deal with it. And only if I want to deal with it…

We can start by labeling the fears – do they come from survival instincts or are they irrational? And we need to keep in mind that one is not less important than the other one. If it affects our life, coming from a survival instinct or not, fear is fear!

And let’s remember. We are human beings that have all types of feelings, even if we tend to call them negative or positive, most of the time. But the important thing is; what that feeling tries to tell you, and are you brave or willing enough to look at it? That’s where the game changes.

 

 

Derya’s passion for lifelong learning and her curiosity about different cultures, different bodies and energy work brought her to Southeast Asia 3 years ago. She started her yoga and Thai yoga massage journey in Turkey and has been sharing her love for these two abroad in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. Once she found “home” within herself, all countries became her home. Derya’s passion is movement and her goal is to show the strength, gracefulness and beauty of being in a body when it is aligned inwardly and supported by a steady breath. She wants to inspire her students with the possibility of waking up every morning with an enthusiasm and thirst for learning new things.

Connect:

deryadenizyoga.com

IG: @deryadenizyoga

 

This is Not a Test

This is not a TEST!

From a peaceful slumber you awake – slowly the precious darkness of sleep rolls out of your body into the warmth of the daylight that softly melts your eyes open…

And then all of a sudden, your peace is broken and you pop up.

Completely forgetting where you are and ripped away from your relaxed form:

“Where am I??”

“Oh yeah…” and slowly you recall…the midnight taxi to your hotel from the train or bus or flight and …the cute clerk at the check in giving a key to the unconscious and drained version of you after an entire day of traveling.

Or

“Where am I?”

“Oh yeah…” it’s 6:37am in a random city or in your home town and no, you are not going to sleep-in and read a magazine in your underwear; no, you are not in Tahiti, you have got to get some coffee and a meal inside of you before you are very late to work.

And as the day goes on of course your unconscious self is reevaluating your previous day that came to you in the form of last night’s dream that you just can’t seem to shake throughout today. And your unconscious self is comparing the moment of this situation at hand to the many other moments where your presence is compromised.

sunrays

Your unconscious self wants to sabotage your moments and remind you of the speech you botched in college while you are standing in front of your best friends families and all your friends at her wedding.

Your unconscious self delves into the darkest closest of your past relationships, wanting to show you how you are.

But you are not the past! And this is not a Test.

None of it is. The whole get up – the whole shebang;

We are a part of the evolution.

This is REAL. Not a test.

The most random position, situation or cluster of things or events are a tessellation of sensations, sentiments, stories, woven into your existence.

Water droplets cascade like a flock of birds.

A desert sand storm whips a kaleidoscope of dirt into your eyes and ears and face; you are alive.

Your sensations are alone, separated like petals of a flower, fronds of a palm, needles of a pine; all collected at a point. And that is the point. Small attributes of the whole, that without is naked. Yet that point of contact is the connection needed for existence; a hibiscus proudly shines her petals for all to see, and we thank her for showing us her beauty. True sensations and thoughts are opened when we tap into our true nature.

 

“Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.” Eckert Tolle

 

Your feelings construct a pattern that is decipherable by unlocking your true self. The feeling is for feeling, the emotions are for leaving.

Allowing yourself to adjust to a new place is something easily overlooked. In regards to working in a new place your responsibility to your happiness in your new space is vital to your overall performance and well being.

birds

Your true assignment, however, whether you are a transient yoga teacher, or a stay at home dad, or homeless living in a car, is to be you. This is what you are here to be. There is no one else to be! In this life we are forever in the state of learning — feel the learning, not the yearning. Taste the air you breathe and let it become you. Have the experiences, they are a part of you but they are not you.

When you experience the embarrassment of being late, or saying something silly, take a moment to recognize the fault and move on — apologize if you need to but do not dwell on your short comings! To recognize them takes the short away! You are there with it, your presence is necessary to feel the difference, feel the lesson and be a person that has gained from your lessons. You are not getting graded by anyone, but look at yourself with your own eyes — you get to be your own guide and you can relax, and forgive, and learn, and BE with yourself.

So in the moments of confusion and delusion: no, you are no longer on vacation; no, you can no longer pretend that everything is ok when you don’t feel ok… Get in touch with your higher self: Be present in your moment because it’s real. You need you to be real. We all need you to be real. So be brave and be real.

Waking up in a blunder doesn’t mean you’re off track — no no no it’s a blessing! It’s fun, but I would suggest to not let it bite you in the butt when you wake up somewhere that you’re disappointed about instead of beaming with excitement, because when you are aligned with yourself you won’t wake up estranged from who you are.

And the key?

Presence. All day, all moments, in all decision making, in quiet time. Body presence, mind presence, friend presence. You are not your past, you are not your future, you are not your thoughts that manipulate your movements; no, you are forever the present moment, and yes, you have every right in the world to be completely present and enjoy it.

So in your new home, your new job, in Thailand, in Chile, with strangers or when you are with your family, when you’re daydreaming of home, or a past lover, be real by being present.

Namaste.

 

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Abigail Tirabassi: writer, dreamer, believer, artist, ocean lover, finding joy daily.

IG: @scrambby

Flow Like Water

GO WITH THE FLOW

Yoga has taught me so many life lessons and above all it has shown me how to go with the flow. When I apply the ‘flow like water’ approach to my life, I move and breathe with ease and enjoyment. If I choose to fight against challenging moments or events, everything feels much more unmanageable. As I prepare to move to a new city and begin teaching yoga at brand new studios, going with the flow is keeping me grounded and relatively calm.

FROM MAT TO THE REAL WORLD

My favorite style of yoga to practice is power vinyasa yoga, or power flow. I am drawn to the fluidity of this practice– how each pose is connected to the next through flow and breath. It reminds me of a beautiful dance that allows its practitioners to move through negative blocks into positive, open space. The more I hit my lake-boatmat, the more I’m reminded of the benefits of pushing past stuck energy and discomfort. If I sit and wallow in complaint for too long I begin to see every event as a struggle and every action seems to require more effort than I want to afford it. If I go with the flow though, I am able to let go of what is no longer serving me and stay in the present moment.

GETTING PRESENT

Going with the flow requires us to be present to what’s happening before us. We must first be grounded in the now in order to move through it into something new. My go-to grounding technique? I look at my feet, spread out my toes and press firmly into the ground.
Doing this connects me with the current moment and rooting down into the earth keeps my mind where my body is in reality. It centers me and requires me to slow down my racing mind. Once I’m calm and present I can choose to let go of anything from the past that’s preventing me from living powerfully and happily, and I can flow like water into the next moment. My mentor, Power Yoga Canada Co-Founder Kinndli McCollum, uses the image of water running off a duck’s back to describe going with the flow and letting go. It’s a
powerful metaphor that has stuck with me.

DON’T FIGHT THE CHALLENGE

In my view, it’s not only counter-productive to sit there and complain about how things aren’t going my way, it’s dis-empowering. It removes my personal power, which allows me to act in the moment and move on from discomfort into decisive action. Instead of focusing on all that’s not going right, I’ll do my best to shift my perspective and set my Drishti or gaze on what IS working out. From that place of positivity, a new world of possibility opens up to me. I am able to see solutions to problems that were seemingly hidden before and I can move through a challenge, coming out on the other side unscathed and stronger than before.

TEST IT OUT

Next time you feel your body tensing up and your mind racing, ground yourself, breathe and consider dropping the struggle, and going with the flow. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You may find it hard to just go with it when you’re starting to take on this new way of being, but once you do there’s some incredible gifts waiting for you on the other side. If you go with the flow you may just end up finding out you yoga-hairactually enjoy something you never thought you would, you may feel more resilient than ever before for kicking crisis in the butt with grace, and you may cultivate lasting inner peace.

Namaste.

Eryl McCaffrey is a Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher from Toronto, Ontario. She’s also a Freelance Writer, who’s passionate about health and wellness. Eryl believes in the power of love to heal and advance the world. Her blog:twofeetheartbeat.wordpress.com

Gratefulness- Kṛtajñatā

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day, we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

Don’t take your life for granted lovelies! No matter what you are going through, remember there are millions of us who are experiencing either the same or even worse in their life’s right now. Think of a couple of kilometers away from you, there is a child dying because he or she didn’t have enough water to drink during the past days. We on the other hand, move a single finger and have water pouring down on us for hours and hours! Did you have breakfast today, showered and got dressed for work? You’re lucky! Not everyone has that chance. Hardly even proper clothes for their job or even a job at all. You think your job is hard and you don’t like it? That is fine, quit! Do something you really love to do but be happy you ever had a job.

We are all loving humans, no matter how you express your love but do be aware of the things you take for granted. Don’t take you friends for granted, once they’re gone you will notice what you are without them, or the water you can simply buy in a supermarket. Don’t take your body for granted, every step, should be considered. What if, you wake up tomorrow morning and find out you can’t move your legs anymore? What would you give to just have one more day with them and really, really appreciate them? Go for a run, swim or walk through town with them.

So yes, this might sound “dramatic” and maybe you’ll think “I know, I know, I know, I’ve heard it all before” but have you really been aware of it? Have you changed your thoughts towards gratefulness?
Have you woken up one day, looked in the mirror and said one thing every day which you are grateful for…? So, don’t just sit around and think you are grateful. Say it out loud, even if its just to yourself, write it down, make it real!

After reading this, take your note book or a piece of paper and write down 10 things for which you are grateful for. It can be anything at all. Then, keep it somewhere safe and now, every morning you wake up photo-42and step out of your bed, tell yourself one thing which you are grateful for, for this day.

Love & Harmony

 

 

Danae Borsani a German/ Italian Yogi, lives on Mallorca and is a passionate blogger (soulseekergirl.com) about what she does best; The Art of Food, Fashion, Travel, and Health. She inspires her readers towards a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle.

Kshama

Kshama.

Be here. Be now. Be present. Be patient.

Release time from your thoughts, this moment only exists now. Have patience when you eat, talk and most of all, listen. Be patient and tolerant towards others. Be tolerant with yourself and your body. Don’t expect the entire world to adjust to your ideas; every person has a different character and habits, corresponding to the ways they were influenced in childhood and in life. Let others behave according to their nature, without adjusting to you. Be still and breathe. Don’t control but be aware. Listen.

dsc_17901It is important to be compassionate and patient with everyone you meet on the way. Who knows how we come across to them and what influence they may have in your life? Try to understand others, even if you don’t share their opinion, put yourself into their skin. Be patient with the family and children, with the neighbors and co-workers. With the elderly and unknown.

 

Danae Borsani a German/ Italian Yogi, lives on Mallorca and is a passionate blogger (soulseekergirl.com) about what she does best; The Art of Food, Fashion, Travel, and Health. She inspires her readers towards a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle.