As a fireman, Evan was the last person you’d think of as fearful. He was more than six feet tall and muscular, having spent much time in the firehouse gym. He came to yoga because his girlfriend threatened to leave him if he did not learn to talk to her more, treat her more gently, and take her to nice places. She believed he was afraid to show any emotion, and he was not very interesting company.
At first, Evan was very eager to be in yoga. He wanted to learn how to treat his girlfriend better, which he set as his priority goal. However, in yoga he discovered that he lacked relationship skills that most men his age had already mastered. He began to realize that he couldn’t treat his girlfriend like his firehouse buddies. Suddenly he became more anxious and told the coach that this process was not for him and he didn’t like his girlfriend that much anyway. When the coach pointed out that his statement reflected fears of the unfamiliar, Evan denied any fear. The coach continued to reassure him that any fears were a normal part of the process and that it would soon get easier for him. The coach used weight lifting as an analogy that yoga also was hard and that it took a lot of persistence and strength-building through repetition.
Evan got it, though he was still fearful. He agreed to continue seeing the coach, and it took about a month, but Evan began to get more comfortable talking about his feelings, thoughts, and goals. He became more adept at courtship skills, and his girlfriend became much more satisfied. He learned to share more about himself and his feelings, automatically making him a more interesting companion. By sticking with yoga through the fear, Evan eventually was able to get past it and eventually reach his primary goal.
In chapter 13 we will further explore Achilles Factors that sometimes resist outcomes in yoga as well.
Anxiety or depressive symptoms developing or worsening
Here’s an exercise that translates these fears into statements that many yoga clients make. Go through the list and check off which ones apply to you. Even if you’re not yet in yoga, you can get a sense of if and how your fears might surface during the process. Where you place a check, recognize that this is a likely place around which anxiety will surface during yoga.
Intermediate Yoga Poses Pictures Photo Gallery
When someone starts asking me about areas that are particularly sensitive, I tend to change the conversation.
I’ve found myself being unaccountably angry when I become anxious.
When I’m asked to change the way I work, I find myself resisting doing things the new way, even though I know I’m putting myself in jeopardy.
I avoid participating in activities I’ve never done before; I make excuses about why I can’’ participate that have nothing to do with my fear.
I become nervous when people bring up ideas or points of view that threaten what I thought to be true, and I often judge them harshly.
When I become nervous or anxious because of stressful situations, I seek comfort in my addictions alcohol, drugs, gambling, and so on.
If I can’t master a skill or a task right away, I often feel ashamed of myself and beat myself up in the internal dialogue in my head.
When things go even a little bit wrong in a relationship or at work, I always convince myself that I’m going to be dumped/fired.
Good Yogis don’t try to fix the fears. It takes time and work to get over them. Instead, they hang in there during times of heightening fears, and this willingness to do so solidifies the relationship with the client. In contrast, because of the power imbalance in yoga poses, it often results in an unequal relationship, where the patient talks and the therapist listens and sometimes judges and interprets. The relationship is therefore unbalanced. In yoga, there’s a feeling of we’re both in this together. By helping clients overcome their fears over a period of time, Yogis also help them learn how to be resilient and deal more effectively with other types of fears that arise later.
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