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Transforming Fear to Joy

Prior to practicing yoga, I had a very superficial understanding of energy. Either I had it, or I didn’t. For me, it was a felt sensation in my body signalling how invigorated or deflated I judged myself to be in that moment. Many years ago, during a Reiki session, the practitioner working on me asked if I could feel energy moving in my body. I was puzzled by her question and instead answered, “What I feel is tingling in my feet.” “That’s energy,” was her reply, “you feel it when it moves.”

Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it.  Match the
frequency of the 
reality you want and you cannot help but
get that reality.  It can be no other 
way.  This is not
philosophy.  This is physics.      
Albert Einstein 

Prior to practicing yoga, I had a very superficial understanding of energy. Either I had it, or I didn’t. For me, it was a felt sensation in my body signalling how invigorated or deflated I judged myself to be in that moment.

Many years ago, during a Reiki session, the practitioner working on me asked if I could feel energy moving in my body. I was puzzled by her question and instead answered, “What I feel is tingling in my feet.” “That’s energy,” was her reply, “you feel it when it moves.”

In fact energy, or prana as yogis refer to it, permeates every aspect of experience—physical sensations, thoughts, emotions, sex, food, attention/awareness—and impacts our experience of life.  As an example, we often associate low levels of energy with sadness, boredom, fatigue and depression.  While higher levels of energy are often perceived as more positive—inspired, happy, creative and invigorated.  Typically, higher levels of energy when corresponding with higher levels of awareness—that is, reduced distraction and increased clarity—enable us to penetrate deeper levels of our own experience and further our understanding.

Unfortunately, as Henry Ford so aptly stated, “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.”  Contemplate for a moment the amount of energy we could amass by merely letting go of negativity and resistance.  The presence of either is a clear signal our consciousness is approaching one of our deeply held, response patterns wherein our energy is blocked or stuck.

Meditation and asana (posture) practices move energy redistributing it in the body in order to create balance.  In this way, previously trapped energy (deeply held patterns of behaviours and/or beliefs) can be released which is why some people shed tears or feel anger, etc. during a yoga practice.  Frankly, this is the purpose of asana and meditation—to calm the body, breath and mind of distractions and free our awareness to experience our unconscious patterns.  In all likelihood, these patterns are at the source of challenges in our daily living but we have been unaware of their existence.  In essence, we have been unaware of the imbalance of energy within us. Now that we are aware, we can choose to move toward a more balanced state by leaning into and experiencing what has previously remained hidden.

When you practice meditation, or any discipline that requires attention,
you inevitably transform energy.     Ken McLeod

McLeod offers the following 5-step mindfulness meditation as a means of opening one’s awareness to redistribute and transform energy (i.e., challenging emotions, pain or problems).

•  Breathing in I feel this emotion/pain/problem / Breathing out I feel this emotion

•  Breathing in I feel the reactions to this emotion / Breathing out I feel the reactions to this emotion

•  Breathing in I feel calm in this emotion / Breathing out I feel calm in this emotion

•  Breathing in I feel at ease in this emotion / Breathing out I feel at ease in this emotion

•  Breathing in I understand/know how this emotion arises / Breathing out I understand how this emotion arises

As is implied in the process above, direct experience precedes understanding, ne