Most people probably have something like this pose (above) in mind when they read scary yoga pose but for me that is not scary but simply out of my league and much too challenging. It’s so far away from attainment for me that it does not scare me at all.
Here’s the yoga that scares me:
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
The first time I tried maneuvering into this asana I was petrified. I was also surprised that this heart opener had me in a panic. I do not panic easily and I am above average in connecting with my body. Watching my teacher demonstrating it I thought- no problem. And physically it was no problem. But the emotions that it evoked when my chest and vital organs were exposed like that were intense and very frightening for me. I could not stay in it for very long and it took me about a year of practicing before I could be ‘comfortable’ emotionally there. With mindfulness and introspection I discovered so many reasons why that unveiling posture pushed my buttons but now it’s my go-to pose whenever I’m sad or angry or feeling less than compassionate.
Physical Benefit: Among other things this posture helps to reverse shoulders hunching forward from too much computer work!
Yoga Mudra (Yoga Mudrasana)
Why this pose put the fear of god in me I still am not sure. I was comfortable practicing many other poses with my head below my heart and with full pressure on my head or forehead. Again, physically, this one is easy for me but emotionally it sets something off making me feel confined and not in control all at the same time. I think it had something to do with bowing, perhaps igniting thoughts of my Catholic experiences in childhood. I have come to assimilate bowing but am bowing to my higher self or a gracious spirit, not a punitive figure.
Benefits: Opens shoulders, stimulates crown chakra (sahasrara) to boost psychic gifts and encourage connection to the divine.
Lion Pose (Simhasana)
Well I know why this one is scary for me. Look at it! No one looks attractive doing this pose (except a lion). In addition to that distorted face, you have to make a lion sound letting all kinds of stuff out of your mouth. It is a great purging pose though and I do like the feeling of freedom it brings. Plus I like pretending that I’m a Lion. Observing my fear of Lion pose taught me just how attached I was to my appearance, image , grace and composure. Ugh! How superficial. -Still working on this.
Physical Benefits: Relieves facial tension, loosens jaw, wards of sore throats.
Halloween is a great time to try a ‘scary’ yoga pose. So try some* of these physically simple postures and see if they challenge you emotionally like they did me. Or, let me know if some other ‘benign on the surface poses’ trigger fear or another strong emotion in you. Although they are uncomfortable, I see these trigger points as learning opportunities. When I feel the fear on or off the mat I know it’s time to step back and take a deeper look at what is propelling that emotion. It’s always interesting and helpful to learn more about yourself and your motivations.
Happy Halloween. I hope you scare yourself. You’ll be all the better for it.
*Please warm up back and neck before trying Matsyasana and neck and shoulders before Mudrasana.
Lisa Hassett, Reiki Therapist, CYT
Healing For Body, Mind & Spirit
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Reiki of Greater Boston
Healing for Body, Mind & Spirit
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