Fear & yoga :)

I try not to get overly emotional anymore, and I try not to share my emotions if I can avoid it. But this time, I’m going to make an exception, because I feel like it needs to be put out there, and might be able to help and inspire someone else…

I got into yoga about 2 months ago. I struggle with depression (which, for me, is often made worse when I’m super stressed) and body image issues, and I needed a way to re-connect with my body, give it a new physical challenge, and to learn to deal with stress in a healthier way. Apparently yoga is pretty good for that kind of stuff! I lucked out and found a really great studio near my house, and started attending regular classes. I’ve gradually been getting better, in small steps. Anyway, Monday night’s class involved some practice of scorpion pose. Everyone else took up positions near the wall to practice. I made an excuse that my back was sore and sat out. I was scared of falling (failing). So I sidelined myself and watched everyone else.

I stewed on that all day Tuesday. I reflected on how much I’d missed out on in life because of my fear of failure. I’ve always felt pressure to be perfect, to get everything right. I’ve never wanted to be outstandingly good at anything, because that’d mean I’d stand out, which I’d hate. I don’t like to be noticed, even if it’s because I’ve done well. But I’ve never wanted to fail at anything either, because that’d be noticed, too. So, I guess I’ve spent my life aspiring to be a wallflower, invisible and unnoticed. But, I digress. After spending the day thinking about that, I decided that my lifelong fear of failure could finally stop.

I got home from work, changed into some workout gear, set up my mat, and swallowed my fear. I gave it a try. I was terrified, trying to kick my legs up high enough to touch the wall, literally a few inches in front of me. But I kept at it, I eventually got one foot to the wall. Kept trying. Got two feet to the wall. Took a break to catch my breath. Got back up and tried again. Got both feet up and managed to drop them down a little. 2 hours later, and here’s where I got to. I only held it for a few seconds before I tumbled out, but I did it!

1

Despite my exercise science degree and my black belt, I am NOT a natural athlete. This is really, really challenging for me. But, I managed to overcome my fear of falling and failing, and somehow garnered enough mental and physical strength to get this done. This, from the child who wouldn’t even attempt a handstand in kiddies gym class. That’s right – 28 years old and finally attempted something resembling a handstand for the very first time in my life hahaha 🙂 Once I caught my breath, I realised that when I am practising yoga, I really can mentally step away from my problems and stresses. I’ve had a shitty few weeks, but when I practise yoga, I don’t think about anything that’s been going on. It requires my full attention, so much so that I simply cannot think about anything else. It’s really meditative for me!

Anyway, the point of this is that it’s pretty damn liberating to overcome fear, even if it is something as ridiculous as falling out of a yoga pose. We all have our crap to deal with, we all have our own stresses. My wish for everyone reading this (and everyone else who isn’t) is that they have a way to get their peace in those tough times, a way to overcome a fear, and manage to get a win this week, too 🙂

 

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12 thoughts on “Fear & yoga :)

  1. Congratulations Jess, that’s a massive achievement 🙂 It’s funny how we kind of expect fear in children, but just dismiss it as adults, even though fears can be far more debilitating as an adult?!
    Earlier this year I faced my fear of having to move into the oncoming traffic lane to overtake on a highway. Growing up in Melbourne, we mostly used the Hume Highway, which is dual carriageway. But all of the roads I’ve been on in regional WA are not. As a passenger I’ve had to cover my eyes when someone else overtakes a truck or car! Anyway, earlier in the year I was travelling alone for work and was behind two massive road trains (really long trucks) and I knew if I didn’t overtake them it would take me far longer to reach my destination. So I did it. I moved into the oncoming traffic lane and floored it (luckily the work car has some guts). My heart was pounding so hard and I could feel adrenaline surging through the veins in my arms. It was crazy! But I did it. And I felt pretty chuffed afterwards!

    • Ohhh that’s awesome Bec!!! Regional roads are scary enough before you throw in trucks travelling at high speed!! Massive gold stars and high 5s to you!!
      And you’re right – fear in adults is either not admitted or completely dismissed… we should be helping each other out more, not ignoring it! xoxo

  2. Congratulations, Jess! Thanks for sharing your story with us. It’s normal to be scared of failure (that’s so me!) but if you don’t try, you won’t know and I think it’s worse walking through life thinking ‘what if’ and regretting the step you never took because you were scared.

    I’m a pilates person but played around with yoga here and there. I did a yoga evening class a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it – hoping it’ll become a regular thing. Keep at it! 🙂

    • Oh thank you so much, that’s very kind of you 🙂 And you’re absolutely right, I can’t think of anything worse than the “what ifs?” – they’re even worse than the failures!!

      I really enjoy Pilates too and find those classes a great compliment to yoga, and vice versa! Hope your practice is going well and you’re enjoying it!

  3. Congrats Jess! Once you’re in the flow you’ll start to feel better and more confident. I hadn’t done yoga for a year but marched myself down to the local hot yoga studio and now I adore it again. Mind body & soul, you’ll feel better 🙂

  4. Congrats Jess! Hugh accomplishment and beautiful post 🙂 I’ve recently started to practice restorative yoga to help me overcome a chronic condition and the emotional upheaval that comes along with it. The first few times.. truthfully still every time I go to class I worry about what I can do and can not and if others are judging my inability to hold a simple pose. However when I manage to let go of that fear and connect with what my body will allow me to do that given day, I feel much calmer and in connect with my body, less focused on what my limitations may be. Thanks for sharing!! Best luck with your practice 🙂

    • Thank you so much 🙂 It’s so great to hear from someone else in a similar situation! It’s amazing, once you open up, so do other people, and you all feel so much less alone! That’s so great that you can connect once you let it all go, and great advice for me too… hope it all keeps going well for your practice too xoxo

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