“Courage is fear in motion.” ~Brene Brown

Fight, flight or freeze. I felt it when the adrenaline would gush into my blood and smooth thoughts turned jagged and edgy. Everything was a threat. The panic attacks would start with something as silly as contemplating the loss of my purse on the subway. I couldn’t move until it passed. Missing stops, work, and sometimes classes as a result.

In the beginning of my years practicing yoga I would think about why the toxic thoughts were there. I’d be in some pose or another and filter through things said to me or what needed to happen in order for X Y and Z to come together. Over time I was able to stop and avoid triggers where before it wasn’t possible. This happened by daily sitting with my fears and realizing they were not real but a mental pattern that could be diffused.

The ashtanga yoga method brings me into the moment and calms my mind by using the physical body as an anchor. Technique coupled with where I’m looking, the breath, and the yoga poses create mental as well as physical strength. I’d be lying if I said I it was always easy to be kind to myself, but every day I work to find playfulness and joy in the newness and imperfection. Over time this has resulted in a joyful and healthier way of interacting with the world around me.

I grew up in the pentecostal church, prayed, worked as a missionary and did community work in Buffalo from the time I was 5 until graduating high school. Even in the deepest times of spiritual connectivity I would experience very physical reactions to stress. When someone told me to pray or meditate to take the panic attacks away I wanted to flick them on the nose. Sitting and breathing is part of the steadiness in the mind. Yes, absolutely. Getting up and moving will strengthen your body and mind so the world around you becomes lighter. In my experience, working this way, is an incredibly practical to your highest self.

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