3rd Chakra support
Sanctuary Yoga offers yoga classes and workshops and much more. Recently, a workshops offered by Yoga teacher Leticia Alvarez featured the 3rd chakra. Balancing Your 3rd Chakra Through Yoga and Painting to be exact. The workshop, offered on a Saturday, began with yoga poses to support and open the 3rd Chakra. Free form painting followed. There was no need for drawing or painting lessons.
Each participant named some pretty good reasons for attending. Listen as an out-of-town visitor, gives her reasons. (sorry about the sound). It’s not unusual to find out that the folks visiting from out of town magically find their way to Sanctuary Yoga because of the variety of classes.
There are good reasons for focusing on the 3rd Chakra. Known as the Solar Plexus Chakra, the manipura in Sanskript, the Yellow Chakra. Leticia Alvarez, the yoga teacher facilitated the workshop as a way to help herself and those in need:
I selected the 3rd Chakra (the solar plexus chakra), the manipura in Sanskript to help those in a transition phase of their life. Many feel that they need help with will-power and self-confidence and esteem to move.forward in their life and to complete projects.
Support and self-assurance through creativity
The next phase involved drawing and paining. Participants were asked to trust their judgement in their decision to create their art. Some titled their art right away. Others like me, decided to spend some time with the drawing.
It was really helpful to take it home and spend time just noticing what decision was made in choosing the colors and/or shapes. By looking at the artistic rendition right side up, upside down, sideways, a theme and characteristics became apparent. This enabled me as participant to name my drawing. At the end of the workshop, it felt as if the art supported you, your decisions and beliefs. Very 3rd chakra!
Yoga poses, painting and drawing all helped to open and support the 3rd chakra.
an invitation to come into yourself
“Take a moment to come into yourself.” Kim often begins her class with this invitation. On the mat, to the right lies, The Book of Awakening. On the left is a ‘singing bowl’. Kim Humpreys sits in the middle. Kim will use one or both of these tools to gift her students with the power of words and sounds during their yoga and meditation journey.
Breath into your left hips as if it had gills or a lung.
Make a sound.
Can you feel it in your hips?
Kim speaks about the rewards of helping to guide students to find their sense of wholeness and noticing a sense of accomplishment and joy within themselves. Kim teaches Yoga Nidra
As a teacher I find it so rewarding when students are able to go inside and find something that they didn’t know was there.
In an Asana Class that might be discovering that they’re able to get into a pose that just seemed impossible at one point.
In a Yoga Nidra Class that might be opening up to that internal world of sensation and the joy that comes from tapping into their sense of wholeness, their sense of awareness that is always there.
“My number one reason for becoming a yoga teacher was to share and pass on the teachings and practices that helped me heal from injuries and medical trauma. Yoga was prescribed to me in 1999 after a series of injuries and procedures in high school. My yoga journey has been one of healing and strengthening.
Over the years, I found and studied Hatha yoga, yin yoga, meditation, iRest Yoga Nidra, vibrational sound therapy, ayurveda and other practices. Each had profound effects on my body, mind and overall health and well-being.
As I recognized the effects of these practices in my own life, I became passionate about sharing them with others and decided to start teaching.”
nourish at sanctuary yoga
I first heard about Sanctuary Yoga and the Amala Foundation through a fellow teacher, Ann Pidcock. She was visiting from London. We were both in a yoga training class. Ann shared that she was donating her time and teaching a few classes at Sanctuary Yoga while in Austin. She told me about the studio and the amazing work of the Amala Foundation.
The first time I came for a class at Sanctuary, I was just smitten with the garden and the live oaks. It smelled like earth and flowers and rain. I knew I wanted this special place to be part of my life and my routine. As I started taking classes at Sanctuary, I found that the classes had the same feel as the gardens. The classes felt nourishing. Teaching at Sanctuary just felt really right.
Rewards and Challenges
lunges, twists and a wall
“I love all variations of lunges. Lunges make me feel strong and stable while also stretching out my hip flexors. I find that hip flexors always need to be opened a bit for me before the rest of my body can move.”
I love to end a practice with a supine twist. It feels like a big sigh for my whole body. This pose allows the release of anything I’ve been holding in during practice.as I am held by the floor.
Vipariti Karini or ‘legs up the wall’ pose is another favorite of mine. This pose is the perfect pose because (1) it helps to put me back in balance (2) acts as a pick-me-up (3) acts as a re-set button in the middle of the day (4) helps me to chill out by helping me to sleep right before bed.
Adding to the Variety
Sanctuary Yoga offers a variety of yoga classes in its small studio. Yoga Nidra, one of the newest additions as taught by Kim receives appreciative comments by yogis like Pilar. “I feel like I’m brand new.” Another student, visiting from Orange, Texas was “thrilled” to be able to find a Yoga Nidra class during her visit to Austin.
For many years, it was thought that glass is always moving. I didn’t learn this in school. I don’t remember where I first heard this exactly, but this concept remained with me, because it was so strange. And just like that, it was shattered.
The concept of glass moving fascinated me so much that yes, I decided to blog about it. Within an hour a friend who just so happens to be a former glass blower enlightened me that this theory has long been debunked. I admit I am more than slightly disappointed because this has reduced my fascination. Before that moment, I would look at everyday household items and buildings wondering, what’s really going on microscopically? It began to imagine all that’s moving in the universe, the light and energy that we may not understand or physically see.
I have swept up my fair share of tiny shards and slivers from apartment floors, yet somehow I maintain a set of glass dishes and drink ware and several of those tiny hanging glass air terrariums that look like floating bubbles. Perhaps that isn’t enough to qualify as a My Strange Addiction level of obsession (I’m not eating it), but a fascination. Why? It isn’t just because glass is pretty. Or sustainable. What fascinated me, is that until a few years ago, it remained a debate whether or not glass is always moving. And, until after that former glass blower friend enlightened me that this theory has intact been debunked, I had imagined this subtle movement, a force of nature quietly taking place as you sip your drink. As you slide your shower door. As your eyes glaze over staring at a red light out your car window, watching passersby behind foggy lenses.
What’s in motion remains in motion… (I remind myself to get back to the basics when I don’t want to get out of bed.) When our dreams feel at a halt, what is the reason? Did an opportunity close? Was that the only door? Or, did you stop? Where did you shift your focus? What keeps you going? What keeps you in motion? The answer may not be obvious at first. We have to work our way through.
A yoga teacher once guided me to move my side body forward to the front of the room, while stepping my back leg further behind me to kick the back wall, as if I was moving through a pane of glass. As someone who daydreams about pizza, contracting my body through a window pane was quite the visual. Lengthening the body this way was unfamiliar to me, but has transformed the alignment of my postures. When you stretch yourself in opposite directions, it is surprising where you find yourself grounded. Someone observing may say stretching this way looks very simple, like no work at all. Just like glass, appearing still, my body was solid yet fragile. What you don’t see is the abdominals firing up inside to maintain the posture. Stepping my leg back was critical to lengthen further and move forward.
To gain momentum, we have to step back, right? I hear this all the time, and am learning to apply the concept. Does life feel stagnant? Or is it moving so fast you need to slow down? Are you stepping back? Or are you just on hold? Neither is wrong. Understanding where you are is simply helpful to know where you are going. Not everyone thrives off a plan, while not everyone is comfortable flying by the seat of their pants. Taking a step back to reflect on where you are and where you aim to be may just be the step to prepare you for a great leap.
So what gets you moving? For me? Music. Not dancing, but just out of my current thought pattern. Particularly for yoga, relaxation, and a boost in mood, music remains my go to.
I was listening to World Cafe on NPR when I heard Danish artist Agnes Obel discuss her latest album Citizens of Glass. She got the idea from the German phrase glaserner mensch, or glass human, which she said, “is the term you use when an individual in a state has lost all his or her privacy.”
Maybe some of us already feel this way, but imagine every angle of your life is transparent. Technology is just the beginning. Your every step traced. What would that be like? How fragile and vulnerable can one feel? How terrifying would it be to do anything?
In sharp contrast, how uninhibited can one feel? What is containing you? Where can you let loose? How good can one feel? If you were an animal, what would it be? Just something to think about.
Zaba by Glass Animals is a favorite album of mine to unwind to, especially in airports.
(I can’t do a yogi post without building your playlists.) Do you have any music that gets you through creative blocks? Is there a style of music you prefer to practice yoga to? Let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below.
There is something innate about power. Everyone has power within. Especially this fist pumping baby.
For the full effect be sure to click here to see the on the fly video by local radio station KUTX 98.9 with music by Sweet Spirit.
Has your day significantly improved after seeing that? I know mine has.
Taking Refuge in The Self
I first heard this phrase attending a meditation workshop hosted by yoga instructor Jeremy Devens at Sanctuary Yoga at least a year ago or so. This phrase, “taking refuge in self” has remained with me. It gives me a sense of strength, of home in my life and spirit regardless of circumstance.
Do I have to do it all by myself?
Before going any further, I want to point out that taking refuge in self does not mean it is you vs. the world. This is about healthy self empowerment, not isolation.
Jeremy shared that this phrase is something his mentor taught him. And now this little bit of knowledge is something I want to share with you. Take refuge in self. Everyone has power within.
It may not seem obvious at first, but everything we need to succeed, we already have within ourselves. Instead of looking outward or comparing our lives to others, focusing within can allow us to face any compartmentalized emotions, feel what we ignore (deliberately or not) where to shift our energy to work for us, even reveal the baby steps to get to where we want to be. As weird as it sounds, you may realize where you are and not where you thought you were, what thought patterns hold you back, or what works for you. You may simply find gratitude for where you are. If you don’t know where you are, how do you know where you are going?
But what about money? What about that dream job? What about…? Sure, having more money may make something much easier, but how much power are you giving money in your life? Without an abundance of money, are you able to find happiness? Are you still able to work toward your dreams? Of course. Everything we need to grow is already within. Our own negativity, doubt, and fears may just be what’s in the way. Everyone has power within. To change how we use our inner power, we need to gain a better understanding of how to tap into it.
Tap into your inner power
If you are reading this, I assume you already practice yoga or meditation. Or, maybe you are curious. What other healing methods can you apply to your life to shift your energy in a positive powerful force? One example I will share today is called tapping.
Tapping is a lesser known healing technique I learned about from a friend Jewell Siebert, founder of Life Upgraded. As a mom, an Officer in the National Guard, and Success Coach, this woman wears many hats. Tapping is one tool she uses to get through mental blocks we create. It is a very gentle technique I like to call smacking some sense into yourself. I promise, it doesn’t hurt.
Tapping is the nickname for Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT. EFT is similar to ancient Chinese acupuncture or acupressure, about without needles or electro stimulation. Instead, EFT combines tapping your fingers on your meridian points with positive mental focus. When combined with setting deep intention this has been useful to rewire thinking patterns, and ultimately our actions. One practice I love that Jewell leads is a live stream tapping session or private and one on one. One of the coolest things is that there is no one telling you what to do, just exercises and guidance to find what works for you. Now, that is taking refuge in self. When a client comes to Jewell with her own same challenges, they work on them together. Learn more about tapping here.
Remember, be kind to yourself. Your spirit is sweet. And so is this band. Just ask the fist pumping baby.
Anyway, if I’m feeling down or stuck, music (and yoga) are my go-to tools to lift my spirit. Music helps me get a new perspective, for inspiration, a personal outlet, to get moving, or just to soothe the soul. I don’t even think about it too hard. I just put some music on, and let it flow.
Without local Austin radio station KUTX 98.9, it is highly unlikely I would have heard of the band Sweet Spirit. Explore the playlists in the links below to feel the power:
Note* I am not paid, compensated, sponsored, endorsed, or coerced in any way to promote KUTX98.9, Sweet Spirit, or Jewell Siebert. I genuinely enjoy and respect the people, organizations, products or practices I write about.
“Yoga Nidra is a systematic method that inspires physical, mental and emotional relaxation. This class begins with gentle movements, then a long period spent reclined on the back, where you are guided through a specific form of meditation. Through bringing awareness throughout the body, Yoga Nidra will leave you with a sense of deep calm, quiet and clarity. All levels are welcome! Kim Humphrey
Why Am I Doing YOGA NIDRA?
As with most classes at Sanctuary Yoga where the emphasis is on building community, there was an invitation to introduce ourselves and state what we hope to experience or receive from participation in the class. This class was just the right speed for my energy level at that time. The word meditation as part of the description was one of the main attraction. My stated intention for attending the Yoga Nidra class was to practice self-care and receive inspiration. Other intentions were to relax, practice meditation, deal with insomnia, pain and more. As I heard others state their intentions, all I could say is “Oh yeah! That too!”
Our teacher, Kim Humphrey, has experience working with special populations as a speech language pathologist and as a trained level One iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher Kim .spoke about being part of a cohort group as she continues her advanced studies. She introduced iRest Yoga Nidra as benefiting anyone wanting to make improvements with whatever was contributing to our suffering. Stress, PTSD, anxiety, depression, mental/physical/emotional pain cause suffering.
and so, we begin
Another invitation with some suggestions followed the introduction of Yoga Nidra. The invitation was to move our body in a way that our body wanted to move. There was a suggestion to begin with Child Pose. From there, we listened to our body. I’m not sure what anyone else did, but I did some Cat Cow Pose to relieve tension in my torso; Downward-Facing Dog just because I always want to check to see if it’s felling like a restful pose (not yet); Forward Bend to hang my head, stretch my lower back and release tension in my shoulder; and moving hips side to side.
Choice in Posture
We were given a choice in posture to use during the meditation portion of the Yoga Nidra class, along with a recommendation. We could stand, we could sit, we could rest on bolsters, blankets and blocks (recommended). After you took care of placing bolsters, blankets, and blocks for maximum relaxation we than began scanning the body.
I did not listen to the suggestion to use a blanket as a pillow. But I think it’s a good suggestion because I had to readjust my body a couple of times
MEDITATION: Scanning and Breathing
Begining with a focus on the left side balanced with a focus on the right side of all body parts. I particularly remember feeling grateful for the attention I gave my gum and mouth. Or, maybe my mouth and gum felt grateful for the attention I gave them during the scan. It’s sort of blurry.
There was a sense of accepting whatever I was feeling and sensing. Breathing into the body part added to the sense of loving attention that was given to that body part. Breathing into the body parts added to the physical relaxation.
When there were parts of my body that felt tense. I just adjusted my body for maximum relaxation.
The directions seemed so intricate. I can’t think of an example, but I remember thinking “what precise and intricate directions.” These directions helped me stay awake and aware of thoughts and feelings that came and went as we scanned the body.
At the end of the Integrated Restoration Yoga Nidra class, it felt the class offered more movement than what’s offered in restorative yoga classes. There was less teacher directed movement than what’s offered in a regular yoga class. And Yoga Nidra offered more meditation time than what’s offered in the other yoga meditation classes. This meditation reminded me of the small group meditation classes I’d been taking with Lynne Silver.
I left the class feeling relaxed, loved and as a practitioner of self-care. My favorite part was scanning the body and breathing into that body part. I saw the class as a great addition under the self-care umbrella.
Spending time in nature feeds your spiritual side, slow things down and to help you realize the connection between everything. In the past, my time in nature included hikes with the Sierra Club. There were hour-long walks around what’s now known as Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail after work and on weekends. The meetup group, Creative in Nature, (possibly inactive now) also provided leisurely walks in nature and allowed time for creative endeavours from participants.
Encouraging a slower pace and a smile
Nature encourages a slower pace. Have you noticed? Is this true when walking The Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail? Or have you noticed instead that lots of folks are in a hurry. Joggers pushing their babies in walkers. Runners some with serene looks others wincing and with heavy breathing as they pass you by. Being in nature slows some but not everyone down. On the other hand these are the same people who may offer you a smile. So maybe they’re not meant to slow down but to smile more often.
occasionally, you may luck out to see a family strolling along the trail. It’s a true gift to catch a glimpse of the leisurely strollers. They seem out-of-place with the fast paced walkers, joggers and runners. You may see adults walking at a leisurely pace that their elderly parents or very children may keep pace and enjoy. The conversations and laughter serve as clues. If you’re lucky, you become the leisurely stroller on the trail.
There a lots of pit stops that encourage the slow down on the trial. There is the off-leash dog section. This is a great place to watch the dogs frolicking on land and in the water. Dogs trying to climb trees to catch birds or squirrels.
Pausing on the fixed platforms gives a great view of water fowls like ducks and swans. It’s incredible to see them move fast across the water. They always seem to travel as a family. If you see a large super large swan, it’s not a real swan. That one is for rent.
These platforms allow you to throw balls for the dog to fetch. Spend time looking for the water ripples. Or, better yet throw a line to catch a fish with the other fisher people. Are the fishes edible? Is fishing allowed?
Encourage the young into nature
“In the end we will conserve only what we love;
we will love only what we understand;
and we will understand only what we are taught.” (Baba Dioum)
Some of what we hear about the need to care for our environment is driven by groups that want to build a love of nature. By regularly connecting families to nature Outdoor Afro and Families in Nature hope to build genuine love with hands on education in the outdoors. Taking steps to simplify the process so that participants don’t spend time worrying about equipment and gear. This may include basic everyday steps or longer more complicated trips. Yet another group is Austin-Texas Children in Nature .
Sanctuary Yoga offers Greenbelt Yoga at Barton Springs on Saturdays. The location of the studio itself encourages a love of nature because it provides yoga with a view of a tree in the middle of the yard. Check with the instructor to see if children are allowed during Greenbelt Yoga.
One simple way to enjoy nature is as close as your backyard. Just bend down and look at the plants and their inhabitants for a few minutes. It’s quite a view and a mystery to see them coming and going about their business while they walk on your plants.
On the spectrum of crazy cat lady and happily married, I fall somewhat in the middle. I work to build healthy habits including yoga at home, where my cat will join me on the mat. So for now, I share my home with one loving yogi cat. My life isn’t taken over by yogi cats. For meow.
THE CAT AND THE MAT
At home I have a bright green yoga mat by my bed. Sometimes my cat claims it as his scratching post and even naps on it. I don’t mind. When I use it, he curiously joins in, and walks under my downward dog. On all fours with my hips high, and head low, my view of the wall behind me becomes an upside down cat. While I wait for him to move so I do not hurt him, I wonder, what yoga poses can I nickname after cats?
PAWS FOR A MOMENT
It is fool proof that if I am working on a yogi blog post from home, my cat is in my lap. His paws stretch over my wrists, onto the track pad, like he know’s it’s a mouse. I know this is one way cats seek attention, but when he does this, I call him my editor. So what would he have to say about yoga? He doesn’t like the names.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Yoga poses have peculiar names. Where do they come from? Not cats. These names have intrigued me since I first began my practice. I am still learning the names for poses in both English and Sanskrit, let alone how to do them.
Picky Eater: Similar to Cat Cow. This is already named after a cat, but from the perspective of the motions of two animals. Renamed from the same motions my cat makes of standing on all fours, with his head facing down at his bowl, then lifting upward. Without the arching of his back, the picky eater is known to look up and down, and may even rotate their neck.
Trusting Belly: Also known as Savasana. Lay on your back with your eyes closed, arms and legs comfortably at your sides falling where they may (your cat’s limbs may be in the air). It is considered a sign of trust when a cat exposes their belly.
Hiding Place: Also known as Child’s Pose. At any time you feel you need to slow down during your practice, this position is considered the comfort zone, a go to pose to reset yourself. Sit on your knees with them close together touching or spread wide. Fold forward to lower your upper body over your knees or between the thighs to the mat. Keep your face parallel to the floor (it will be dark like your cat’s hiding place). Reach your arms forward or back to deepen the stretch.
Dead Pigeon: This one is a gift (If your cat brings you a dead animal it is considered a token of love). This pose provides a very deep stretch. From Downward Dog(or cat), bring your right knee to your right wrist, right ankle to left wrist ( as close and comfortably as possible). Lower your body to the ground or sit with your torso upright. Extend your arms forward along the floor. Depending on individual accommodations or how deep your rest is in this pose, your pigeon may appear merely wounded, not dead.
Face it, these names are cute and all, but when it comes down to it, my cat is far more flexible than I am. Yogi cats have moves I do not have names for.
Do you have yogi cats? What poses do you have cat nicknames for?
Recently, I was on queue in line to get a parking space at one of my favorite eating places. The driver behind me decided to ‘skip’ the line in order to get the next available parking space. I parked behind the ‘skipper.’ I felt annoyed. Then anger.
The ‘line cutter’ now had two options. Drive ahead to let the parked car driver out. Or, remain there to get the parking space making it a bit more difficult for the parked car driver to get out. I too had choices.
She chose to stay and the driver maneuvered successfully out of the parking space. When she got out of the car, our eyes met. Neither of us had kind eyes. I laughed later. Yeah! I laughed! It took a while, but laugh I did.
I didn’t get the parking space. There was no escalation into a verbal confrontation. Her tactics worked. I accepted the outcome and moved on. What I got instead, was something unexpected.
“Wow!” I thought. What happened is great material for Laughter Yoga.
During Laughter Yoga, participants when asked, relive scenarios that explore all types of life events that elicit different feelings and emotions.
Participants when asked, dramatize scenarios while making sounds and/or laughing. This is one, albeit, controversial way to learn acceptance of many events in life that elicit different emotions. No need to act on the emotion. No need to judge, no need to blame, no need to fix.
For a while during that day, while driving , I noticed other hurried drivers cutting in front of me. This is one aspect of driving in Austin during certain times. I took time to notice the changes in how I felt.
All of this happened before a yoga class. Speaking of parking spaces, yoga classes are great places to park when looking for emotional balance.
(1) Just the fact that you stop and take time to set an intention before the class.
(2) Keep the intention in mind during the practice.
(3)Take sanctuary in the room and on the mat during practice.
(3) End the practice with thanking yourself for taking time to for the practice.
(5) Let’s not forget the breath with the intention in mind during practice.
Speaking of laughter, there’s a really funny video that shows that cutting in line successfully is a skill that deserves respect. Even if you don’t agree, you’ll laugh at the notion. Enjoy!
If laughter and yoga isn’t enough, there is always Mr. Rogers.
What do you do with the mad that you feel?
when you feel so mad you could bite.
Know that there’s something deep inside
that helps us become what we can.
It’s allergy season in Austin. Austin will have varying amounts of cedar, mold, cottonwood, oak, ragweed, ash, pine, mulberry, elm, poplar. The allergen-tested folks remain informed by closely watching the website that give the latest allergy count. Many anticipate and prepare before-hand. Others use traditional/alternative medications during the season. When experiencing the effects of allergies, I find it best to get on my knees. To kneel is be in or assume a position in which the body is supported, as when praying or showing submission. There are many benefits to getting on your knees.
During yoga class, there are different reasons for getting on your knees. A yogi may get on their knees to transition from standing yoga to sitting yoga. They may get on their knees to pause and rest from a series of poses. They may get on their knees to realign their hands, fingers, torso and change the positions of their feet and toes.
Getting on your knees: pause and slow down
“It is your practice!” – yoga teacher reminding us to use our inner guidance.
During this allergy season it’s hard not to marvel at the body’s ability to produce mucus. It’s a great time to pause and support the body by hydrating with water, soups, steam and other liquids to help thin the mucus.
Taking time to support the body with movement that matches the body’s level of energy and helps any fluid flow easily in the body.
Pausing to support the body with extra rest never seems like a bad idea. Snuggling with a favorite blanket adds comfort to this type of pause. My favorite blanket is a Simply Shabby Chic 2-ply with roses and pink satin trim that feels weighted.
As in life, yoga asks that you get on your knees. When your body asks for a slower pace, getting on your knees as the class continues with a pose, is a perfect position to offer a pause. It may also be that getting on your knee is part of the pose. In class, The rabbit pose felt restful and helped relieve congestion.
Getting on your knees: pause and realign
“We are all born from a place of infinite love, peace and bliss.” A yoga teacher reminder.
During a yoga class, there are lots of decisions made. Do I have the energy level to complete the pose? Are my arms, hands and fingers in a right alignment. How about the toes, the feet, the legs, the hips? Do I need to pause and re-align before moving on with the pose? Do I need to pause and re-align the movements with the breath? It’s a good use of time to get on my knees to realign with breath and body before continuing the pose.
As in yoga, life asks that you re-align. Even with allergies, it feels good to take time for 10 to 20 minutes of sitting on the grass in the sun in the park. Breathing fresh air, watching people and animals can feel relaxing. Also using the time to just breathe, realign and connect. “I love this.” “I love that.”
A yoga sequence may include what I call “the reverse push up”. Ugh! ” I love this pose.” “I love this pose.” With lengthy limbs, long arms especially, the distance to travel seems far to go up and seems far to go down gracefully. This sequence feels easier by getting on the knees. It feels easier to realign the arms closer to the body and to move the body forward before moving downward.
Life, like yoga is a work in progress made easier by getting on the knees to pause, rest, slow down and realign.
Let’s me tell you about an fear-filled situation. Our lovable pet dog turned vicious one day and bit my sister and I when we were children. The dog chased us around the house. It was foaming at the mouth. My sister and I ran and screamed in fear. Our little legs did not outrun the dog. One by one the dog caught us and bit us. The fear, the bite, the rabid dog.
Bending the needle in fear
What happened next, were actions steeped in fear and justifiably so. A bite from a rabid dog requires a series of rabies shot around the navel. I remember that first visit for shots well. Why? Because my dear sister fought the providers to avoid the injection. Her struggles and the determination of the providers caused the needle to bend. The needle bent in her stomach. Everyone felt more fear. My sister and I got our series of injections.
Why did that memory come up? I was thinking about situations real or imagined that bring up a feeling of fear.
Of course every time I saw a dog after that experience, I held my breath and made decisions. The decision to stand my ground or to run in fear. Or, to pet or not to pet. A decision to ignore the dog or to look directly at the dog. The decision that helped me the most was my decision was to breathe!
Just because you feel the fear doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Do it afraid.~Joyce Meyer.
Pillow: a reminder of less fear
My two children are animal lovers and dog owners. I’m glad that I didn’t waste any time passing down a fear of dogs. The fear was short-lived and did not become a phobia. My dog’s name is Pillow.
Pillow walked into the school with matted hair. Her coat filled with burrs. She “peed” in the classroom. Not many wanted to touch her. As soon as I saw her I knew she was the perfect dog. Staff members helped to make that a reality by helping us avoid the ‘dog police’ when they came to pick her up.
Some funny things about Pillow. She pauses to stretch when called. You have to wait for her to do the downward dog first. She eats salads, cooked vegetables and nuts. Pillow shows no fear near large dogs.
Pillow does show fear and may trembles if you blow in her face. If you make weird noises. If you try to kiss her. She has trained me to pet her when she nudges my hand.
Pillow is an important reminder of a time that I was able to overcome a fear. This is important to me because of any current fears, imagined or real.
Compassion and Less fear
Try having compassion to reduce your fears. Have compassion for yourself as a fearful person. Try to have compassion for whatever you fear.
Increase your compassionate thoughts by using affirmations. Watch videos and read uplifing books to change your fearful thoughts and feelings. Exercise by walking or doing yoga. See a counselor.
Get a dog to walk with, talk to and watch their silly antics.
“Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?”~Jonathan Safran Foer