June 24, 2011

The great duality: fear and courage, light and dark (Open Yoga Blogging Community)

Image borrowed with thanks.

When we go to the yoga mat, we take fear head-on. We don’t “fear fear.” Or, at least that is what I gather from the responses to last week’s answer to the question, “Are all yogis afraid?” Most of our bloggers answered this question with a resounding, “YES!!” We are, all of us, afraid. But, fear is not necessarily a bad thing. The more we explore fear, the more we realize it is just one of the many dualities that comes up on the mat.

Richard says, “Doubt is as valuable as faith,” because doubt and fear give us a chance to be courageous.

Yoga allows us to feel both sides at once. Fear and courage. Yin and Yang. Ha and Tha.

Temple says, “It’s such a gorgeous feeling to feel joy and fear in the same inhalation.” Many writers pointed to the way yoga does not make them afraid but rather allows them to experience fear in a safe, supported environment.

As Susi says, “I’m pretty sure my yoga practice is the reason I am very aware of my feelings.”

Nadine echoes this, saying, “For me, if there is ever an appropriate place for fear, it is on my yoga mat.” And in finding a safe place to explore fear, to see it’s counterpart, courage, give rise in us, we give ourselves permission to be how we are today.

As Will puts it,”Being aware of (fear’s) source and how (it) manifests, is empowering and such a frigging relief.”

Coming to terms with fear, with the shadow side of the yogic experience, gives us a chance to see it for what it is. Linnea calls fear, “This amazing golden ticket that is so valuable if we let it be.” Fear can be the gateway to courage. Dark the gateway to light. Yoga the gateway to experiencing both. Ultimately, learning to accept fear, be with fear, and not “fear fear” on the mat allows us to not “fear fear” in life. As Chelsea says,” If your dream isn’t scary, it’s not big enough!”

Do you recall a time when you allowed yourself to experience the “dark” side of an emotion in order to later experience the “light?” What dualities does your yoga practice bring to you? Does experiencing dualities on the mat serve as a guide to living through them in your life? Yoga teachers out there, can you give some insight into leading your students into this experience (and hopefully out the other side)?

Write your own blog in response as a comment below. If you already have a blog, you are welcome to cut and paste here with a link to your blog. You are invited to take on the topic of “Duality,” but this is a completely open community, so have at it!

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