My last article explored how to manage your fear after a fright, like a car swerving. This time, I’d like to teach you a new way to walk through another common dangerous situation.
Here is the scenario: the dreaded dark parking lot.
Frequently a woman—or a man—walks into a dark parking lot with a cringing, fearful energy, filling his or her mind with what-ifs of a scary nature, terrified by the possibility of being mugged, raped or assaulted. This is exactly the situation where you need to go from prey to predator because you are putting out a vibe that you would make a good victim. That’s what people who commit such horrible acts look for: easy prey.
I have some recommendations to help you triumph in this common experience. Understand that there are fearful events everywhere, it’s how you walk through them that is yours to change.
If you know that you have to go into a dark parking lot, maybe it is part of your daily work or shopping route, then one option is to buy some pepper spray and put it in your hand while still somewhere safe and well-lit. Be ready to use it.
Another readily available weapon is your keys. Place keys between your knuckles and have the hand closed in a fist; this improves your ability to fight for yourself. If you live your life in high heels and have to walk into a scary place, put on different shoes. Don’t sabotage yourself; take the extra moment to change your shoes. Don’t be a victim for fashion. High heels are too difficult to run or fight in.
Now deepen your breath and get your feet active—switch from prey to predator. Walk embodying a tiger, not a nervous rabbit. Use your butt muscles, tucking the tailbone to get power moving in your legs. Get your head up. Shoulders back. Emit an energy of “Go hunt elsewhere. I’m not your lunch.” Be ready.
One of the times I got attacked as an adult, it was in broad daylight walking down Montana Ave in Santa Monica. I don’t walk like a victim, but that day I was thinking deep thoughts, looking dreamy, wearing my tie-dye and Ugg boots.
Three guys attacked me. I was hit in the back of my heart, knocking all my breath out. An arm came around my throat. I couldn’t breath. I started to struggle. I made a quick choice and calmed down in an instant. I know how to do this. I felt where the attacker’s body was behind me. He was muttering into my hair. So I swung my hips over to the left, made my right hand into a fist and punched him in the balls.
He gagged and let go. Then, I spun around and went after the other one, while the third ran away.
It was all over in a couple of minutes. I was incredibly surprised and upset to be attacked in the middle of the day in a high-rent district. I had felt safe there for years and years.
Afterwards, I continued walking to my yoga center and did some yoga. What I really needed was a punching bag to pound on. I was ramped up and had the shakes, needing a way to disperse the powerful adrenaline rush.
I had learned as a young horse trainer that being scared is not a helpful emotion, because when I was fearful, I became something a huge, angry horse could stomp into the ground. Instead, I trained myself to go from fear to anger, because anger is strong and has a different chemical smell.
Years later, I was scared after the attack by the three guys, but what I was feeling was my anger.
I was strong and fought off my attackers, emerging from a very frightening situation a victor, not a victim. Learn how to fight for yourself. Get this: You’re worth it.
I want women in particular to care enough to recognize they are worth fighting for. To protect children is an inherent drive in any healthy adult. It is hard-wired in us. Most mothers would fight for their child; doesn’t that child deserve to have a skilled mother fighting for them? Develop these skills as part of being your child’s champion, as well as your own. You are as precious as a child, be a champion for yourself.
My immune system had collapsed and lost the ability to fight because my body had been overpowered so many times by abuse as a child.
I was sick and tired all the time. Learning to punch and kick and fight off an attacker taught my immune system how to fight. My health and self-respect improved together.
Care enough about yourself to learn some basic self-defense skill. You can take a self-defense class, although just taking a karate class didn’t work for me. Instead, I took classes from an organization that simulated an attack and taught me to fight it off.
If you had been attacked in the past, they could simulate your specific situation so you could work through and release the deeper fear archived in your cell tissue. If you are interested in this, look for a Model Mugging or Impact company.
Do this: Change the way you walk and breathe; don’t walk like a victim. No rounded shoulders, no hanging head. Be alert and look out, but not like a rabbit. Be alert and look out like a cougar or a tiger. Predators look at rabbits as lunch, few folks want to attack a cougar or a tiger.
Here is your new life paradigm: Be proud of yourself. Carry your fighting spirit with you everywhere and don’t leave home without it!
Ana Forrest has been changing people’s lives for nearly 40 years. An internationally recognized pioneer in yoga and emotional healing, Ana created Forrest Yoga while working through her own healing from her life’s trauma and experience. With thousands of licensed practitioners around the world, Forrest Yoga is renowned as an intensely physical, internally focused practice that emphasizes how to carry a transformative experience off the mat and into daily life. She tours and leads teacher trainings internationally year-round. In 2012, WIND HORSE, the first-ever Forrest Yoga conference featuring Ana and the Guardian Teachers of Forrest Yoga, will be held 17-20 Aug in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Find details of Ana’s work, WIND HORSE, and a Forrest Yoga teacher near you at www.forrestyoga.com
Editor: Thaddeus Haas
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