not all who wander are lost.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Facing Fears in the Grand Canyon

I'm deathly afraid of heights. To conquer this fear I learned to fly a piper cub plane in San Diego, and then to rock climb in the limestone cliffs of Loas in southeast Asia. Unfortunately this fear is not as easy to remedy as I'd assumed. Well, here I am at the Grand of the 7 natural wonders of the World. A place that makes you feel so small in the grand scheme of things. A place that evokes a surge of emotions. No matter how many hours I'd spent looking out over this vast abyss, it amazed me each time. No matter where I was along the rim, no matter the view- it was just as magical with each stop, and I'd say to myself, "Fuck- that's beautiful." Anyways- keeping with my 'yoga poses around the world' photo portfolio, I made Marny take photos of me around the Grand Canyon in various asanas. Not to brag or anything, but I have great balance. Doing dancing warrior on a slab of rock that was 10' x 10' should have been no big 'thang. Unfortunately, my intense fear of heights (and sympathize a bit-- we were VERY far away from the inner canyon!) paralyzed me. In the shot where I'm doing a variation of pigeon, I literally crawled out onto the ledge and took about 10minutes preparing myself for a pose that I could do in my sleep. My heart was racing, my hands were clammy and I stumbled finding my way into the pose. Then I became frustrated that I was struggling with a pose that I come into on a daily basis! Well, I closed my eyes. Relaxed with my breath. And I focused on a mantra of releasing fear. As soon as I stopped focusing on how scared I was, I was able to shake the tension I was holding onto, and with that fear gone I made my way effortlessly into the pose. What I'm trying to share with you is that we are capable of so much, and it's only our fears that hold us back. I'm not just referring to yoga (i.e Inversions, arm balances, etc), but also in everyday life.

Fear Releasing Meditation:
Come to a comfortable seated position. Soften your abdomen and focus on deepening your breath. Close your eyes, bring your hands to prayer in front of the heart or let your palms rest on your knees.

On your inhalation, imagine bringing strength and confidence into your system.

On your exhalation, imagine letting go of what no longer supports you (fear).

Repeat this process for as long as you'd like (perhaps around a dozen rounds of breath). After this return your focus to your breath, without the visualization. Eventually expand your attention to your body, your surroundings, and your inner sense of Self.

Namaste my fearless friends!!

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