Playing with Fear

by Mona Keddy

Inversions, hand balances and backbends are, in my experience, the categories of poses that invite fear into our practice. Standing poses, forward bends, hip openers and twists may stimulate other emotional responses but fear is rarely one of them.

Avoiding the poses or categories of poses that provoke fear is a common reaction and yet successfully meeting the challenge can provide such freedom. Our practice of these scary poses diminishes the voice of fear inside and that invites internal spaciousness. After appropriately warming up, play with one of these poses and observe your response. Our “Rise and Shine” mini-practice is a great warm-up.

 Adho Mukha Vrksasana / Handstand

Start with L-pose variation or practice kicking up at the wall.  We have instructions for this at the end of ShriNov-43our “Rise and Shine” mini-practice.

Add standing poses

Bakasana / Crow pose

  • Stand. Bend over and place your hands flat on the floor with the wrist creases lined up with the short edge of your mat.
  • Bend your knees, lift your heels and place your knees as high up on your arms as possible.ShriNov-534-Edit
  • Bend your elbows out to the sides forming a shelf for your knees.
  • Squeeze your knees in.
  • Drop your hips and look forward.
  • Breathe. Slowly begin to lean forward, reaching your heart centre and gaze forward.
  • When forward, lift the toes of one foot up.
  • Stay here and then repeat lifting the second set of toes up. Possibly, once one foot is up, lift the second one.

Add thigh stretches and backbends

Ustrasana / Camel pose

  • Kneel. Bring your hips over your knees so your thighs are vertical.
  • Turn your toes under to start unless you are already comfortable in this pose.ShriNov-475
  • Place your hands on your buttocks with your fingers down.
  • Draw your buttocks down with your hands.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades in toward the spine. Lift your heart up.
  • Keeping your hips over your knees by pressing forward with your hands, lengthen the sides of your torso and lift your heart up without lifting your head.
  • When you cannot lift your heart more, look up. Stay here and breathe.
  • Possibly, reach one hand down for the heel and then the other.
  • To return, bring your hands to your hips. With your heart leading the way, inhale and come up.

Our Holiday mini-practice is a great way to close off your practice.

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