Yoga basics

How has your practice helped you overcome fear?

Ask a Yogi Series

You’ve practiced with them on YogaGlo. You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at and we’ll add your question to the list. Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

  • Elena Brower: Every day just being with myself. I find I’m most afraid to just be quiet.
  • Kathryn Budig: It’s taught me that love is the answer to everything—how I approach postures, how I remind myself to step back when I’m tired or injured and that my reactions on the mat are a reflection of the interactions in my life. Choosing love is the opposite of fear, and yoga has shown me that fear when only grip you if you let it.
  • Jason Crandell: My practice has helped me overcome some of my fears by teaching me to look at me fears with curiosity instead of panic. I’m able to steady my mind and breath a bit more when fears arise and this makes me less likely to pile on and conflagrate them. It’s also helped me with some of my fears by teaching me the skills of self-soothing. I’m better at letting go and becoming quiet than I once was. That said, I still experience fear, insecurity, doubt and the whole gamut of the human experience. I do not expect these experiences to completely go aware—nor, necessarily do I want them to. I just want to see the fear more quickly, understand it more completely, and manage it with more sanity.
  • Tiffany Cruikshank: The beauty of yoga is that it forces us to be present in our lives. If we have lingering injuries it forces us to deal with them, if we are afraid, it exposes it, it opens us in a way that we are forced to look deeply. The fear that comes up in a posture mirrors the fear we see in our lives so when we learn how to stay with it long enough to release it we find a power that we can grab onto in our own lives as well.
  • Steven Espinosa: Yoga has helped me to see the bigger picture. It’s helped me to believe in something deeper and greater within myself. Yoga has taught me how to listen and follow my heart. It has helped give me confidence that I am good and have value and worth. Yoga has helped me to Trust in Grace. Oh, and as far the fear goes? I still have it. But it doesn’t paralyze me or keep from doing things anyways. Because I know it’s going to be okay.
  • Marc Holzman: In Hatha yoga, through an accumulation of years of inversions and scary partner poses, I’ve built up a sort of  “courage equity” that stabilizes me. God bless AcroYoga. In meditation, going very, very deep requires a certain degree of surrender that equates to a “mini death.” This is difficult to describe.  To shed and melt a familiar, tightly held, superficial identity in order to plunge into a sphere of deep, unbounded, consciousness, requires courage. I’m a control freak. Letting go still scares me. With each meditation I learn to surrender.
  • Amy Ippoliti: Yoga has helped me overcome fear through experience mostly. Whether is has been tapping into the breath, dealing with conflict in the community, surviving a face plant out of a pose, or working through pain & injury. Yoga has taught me about resilience and courage to move through fear. As scary as it might be, The practice has taught me that I will bounce back.
  • Tara Judelle: Today, after driving around the island of Santorini by myself, on a four wheeler, running over lava rocks to hang out in my secret cave spot at Amoudi beach before my last sunset, I realized I am here because I feel free to live my live as I dream it. This is the outcome of fifteen years of yoga practice that has taught me, the only thing that stands in the way are my own blocks. Starting with the smallest unknowns (Can I do this pose that scares me, can I visualize the possibility that one day I will do that pose) and growing to all life challenges, what we call yoga is realizing we are a piece of the infinite. The philosophy of yoga set up good, ideas, that were simply ideas until they have become the small success that lead to a drastic change of life.
  • Dice Iida-Klein: My practice began early on with lots of arm balances and inversions. Though these require strength, agility and fearlessness, they also require a lot of mental strength as well. Postures are a great analogy for life. Sometimes you have to go beyond your own self-imposed boundaries, making the seemingly impossible possible.
  • Kia Miller: My biggest fear was always speaking in front of people. Teaching has enabled me to find my voice as a person and a teacher.
  • Christina Sell: All of the various practices of yoga have helped me gain awareness of my emotions and to see them for what they are. I do not know that I would ever claim to have “overcome fear” but what I can say is that yoga- most specifically my meditation and pranayama practices- has helped me see my fear for what it is and to put a break in my thoughts so that I do not always believe what the fear is telling me. My experience in yoga has more stories that go like this than anything else: “Nothing really changed except my relationship to myself, the feeling, the limitation, etc. and in that everything changed.” For instance, I still have anxiety and fear arise, but how it affects me and how I respond to it has shifted considerably over the years.
  • Sianna Sherman: The practices help me to recognize that while my fear might be present, there is something greater than my fear speaking to my heart simultaneously. It’s this expanded recognition that ushers me through the gateway of my fear and into a greater arena of what’s possible when I align my heart’s desire with knowledge and skillful action. The practices reveal to me from inside out the genuine authentic presence of me which is wiling to extend an open hand to my fears and help me remember that I am source energy.
  • Stephanie Snyder: The most important way that the practice helps me overcome fear is by dissolving the idea of separateness. It reconnects me to the whats real and keeps me on solid ground. It neutralizes fear and doubt and enhances clarity and steadiness.
  • Jo Tastula: I remember being terrified of handstands. Then after a lot of practice I got the handstand, but was terrified to do it away from the wall. Then after a lot of practice I got it away from the wall, but was terrified to jump into it. I’ve had this real honest working relationship with handstands and have witnessed myself grow through determination and effort. In my second DVD that I’ve just finished filming, I jumped into a handstand balancing on this wooden board wedged in between two rocks. I felt pretty darn pleased with myself.
  • Felicia Tomasko: Every day my practice helps me overcome fear. Not by making the fear go away (I wish and sometimes I still have to pull it together), but through steadiness, commitment, remembering that I have made a commitment. Reminding myself that I don’t have to know everything or do everything (handstand still scares me—a lot), but I have to be willing to be in the room. And be willing to sing. In moments when I’m spinning without the earth beneath my feet, I remember and recite the first mantra I ever learned in my studies of Yoga and Ayurveda—the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra. The name of the mantra means the great victory over death—and really, the great victory is over fear. This is what the mantra asks: may we be released from fear. I wish I had something more concrete to say. I think along with all of us, I face fear every single day.
  • Harshada Wagner: Because I experience everything as a kind of illusion, and I also feel a deep connection with everything, the fear is just not what it used to be. Because I know my true Self, which can’t be harmed or diminished, I am generally not afraid. When fear does arise, I don’t believe it. I see it for what it is. When there is awareness of danger- which is different than fear- I am able to address the danger without the shakiness and stupidness caused by fear.

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