Using Ahimsa to fight your fears

You, Yourself,

As much as anybody in the entire Universe

Deserve your love and affection.

-Buddha

As practicing yoginis we are all aware of the difficulty of developing and maintaining self-discipline. As in other aspects of life, we can all too often find reason for not going to that class, getting on our mat or attempting to progress in our practice. Simple excuses and justifications can all work against us in maintaining and developing our beloved yoga practice.

But this week I experienced other internal factors that can have a nasty influence and prevent us from growing and “getting to the mat”.

Fear, self-doubt and comparison can creep into our minds in the most subtle of ways. What may start out as an exciting challenge or good intention can quickly take a turn down a darker path if we allow it. Before we know it, our initial childlike innocence can be bullied by a tired and hassled adult ego. Excitement can take a nosedive headfirst into fear and anxiety. We can convince ourselves that we simply cannot do it. We are not good enough. We will fall. We will fail. Others will judge us… So why bother at all?

But of course we should bother! Of course we can do it! We are not being judged…Except maybe by ourselves.

But we can change that. We must acknowledge the damaging spiral of self-doubt for what it is – this is simply negative self-thought and fear, it is not the truth. Once we have realized this, then we will be able to face these thoughts, challenge them and move away from it, towards acceptance and growth.

In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes the “Yamas” as an ethical code of conduct to follow in life. One of these Yamas is the notion of “Ahimsa” – to do no harm. Rooted in the idea that all living beings are connected and united, Ahimsa encourages kindness and non-violence towards all living things. Usually we immediately consider this as practicing non-violence in our actions, thoughts and words towards others, which would be most correct. However let us not forget about ourselves! Practicing this form of compassion towards ourselves is just as important as extending it to others.

We must be our own best friend. We must practice acceptance, compassion and kindness towards ourselves in order to conquer any fears, insecurities and egocentric views and to allow our best innocent and childish self be free – accepting, contented, curious and excited.

So whatever your fear…. Jump in! Get on the mat. Practice that headstand. Write that blog. Do not judge. Do not worry. Do not allow space for your ego to take over or for fear to grow. Go with the simple moment of now and practice Ahimsa towards yourself. I promise you will enjoy.

 

SHY LOGO

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