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May 16, 2007

The Purpose of Yoga - Overcoming Fear

By Paul Jerard

Could Yoga really empower you enough to conquer your worst fears? Very few people are able to overcome fear, without a serious effort. Fear holds us still, stifles our progress, and distorts our view of reality. Worse yet, some of our fears stem from childhood - whether they are rooted in reality or not.

Yoga offers every practitioner the gateway to self-realization. This newfound awareness allows anyone the opportunity to help focus his or her mind. In turn, a focused mind can separate fact from fiction - much easier than a confused mind.

This Yogic formula is a logical and rational method for determining imagined fears from justified fear, but fear can take on many different forms. Phobias, panic disorders, and anxiety attacks, are various types of fear, which are commonly stress related.

Every day, we fear poverty, the loss of a job, or the loss of a relationship, but sometimes there is no real danger or logical reason for feelings of intense fear, which can take a toll on our health. Our imagination can be a powerful tool toward success in life or the creator of panic attacks, without reason.

Yoga offers many solutions for stilling the mind. The first of these is Pranayama (Yogic breath techniques). Breath is the primary link between mind and body. One of the first techniques Yoga students learn in a class is natural breath.

For adult Yoga students, this means unlearning the short “half breath,” which most adults unconsciously practice from the diaphragm to the mouth. Natural breath can be started as an inhale (through the nose), at the bottom of the lungs, expanding upward through the chest, and finally finishing as an exhale through the nose, while the stomach collapses, at the same time.

This same breathing technique can be commonly observed in infants. During natural breath, the stomach expands during an inhale and collapses during the exhale. When adults relearn this breathing technique, the positive result of tranquility is often felt within minutes. Some adult Yoga students start to feel consistently more relaxed after a short session of natural breath.

This is just one of many Yogic methods, which can be practiced for better mental focus and to still the mind. The benefits of focusing the mind, through Yoga practice, are unlimited. Yoga offers a “chemical free” option for people to empower themselves and move toward accomplishments, success, and achievements.

However, the origin of a solution, to overcoming fear, lies in the individual’s desire to take action in his, or her, best interest. If a person chooses not to help him or herself, no solution, not even Yoga, will help.

Worry, fear, stress, and anxiety, are ingredients which work together to drain life energy from all of us. If we allow worry, fear, stress, and anxiety, to control our lives, we can create a negative cycle of energy which will shorten our life spans. Yoga offers solutions to all of these problems - without side effects.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. http://www.riyoga.com He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. To receive a Free e-Book: "Yoga in Practice," and a Free Yoga Newsletter, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html

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