Transforming Fear to Joy

Restorative Yoga for Spinal Stiffness or Injury

When the world around us, both close at hand and globally, feels as though it is shattering, it can only mean one thing. An ending of some magnitude is upon us. Endings signal loss, which can often trigger fear. However, if we look intently at the loss we are experiencing, our inner knowing or truth indicates the time is right for this release to occur.

Our challenge during endings is to accept and even embrace the loss with the knowledge that space has now been created for a new beginning. Leaving the comfort of the familiar for the discomfort of the unknown can also trigger fear. A fear-based reaction for many is to keep busy so as to not think about the changing circumstances. As a result, we often miss the miracles that exist in both the ending and the new beginning. As Marianne Williamson stated about America’s seeming decline,

two things are happening simultaneously: the fall of one world, one way of being, and one way of ordering society. And another world is struggling to be born, with another way of being and another way of ordering society. We are moving from an economically based society to a humanitarian based society, from an unsustainable to a sustainable mode of existence, and from a world of fear to a world of love.

From a distant vantage point of witnessing America’s decline, it does seem as though a miracle is required to bring about the shift Willamson writes of. In reality, softening our attitudes and our spines opens our hearts to others. Such a simple act brings more love into our world and eradicates fearfulness.

Use the restorative practice below to open your heart and release any lingering fearful attitudes. And then, watch for the miracles to occur. While in each of the poses, use the breath yoga actions below to further soften your being and your inner experience.

1. Gently INHALE from the front tip of the tailbone up the inner face of the spine to the cervical vertebra seven (C7) at the base of the throat.
2. Gently EXHALE through the C7, down the back face of the entire spine and out along the tailbone.
NOTE: Remember the spine is in the back (not centre) of the body, so you are moving the breath into your back body.

BALASANA (Child Pose) 3 – 5 minutes

SALAMBA ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Supported Down Dog) 3 m (30 breaths)
– webs of thumb & index fingers into wall-floor join
– forehead on HI or MED or LO block

BALASANA (to release) 1 m (10 Breaths)

SALAMBA HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA I & III (Supported Standing Big Toe Hold) 2 REPS @ 10 Bs each
– chair away from wall
– longer belt over upper thigh of lifted leg & under toe mounds of standing leg

1. Hasta Pad I: clasp hands & inhale arms overhead

2. Hasta Pad III: clasp hands & inhale arms overhead, then exhale and twist rib cage toward lifted leg

SALAMBA UTTANASANA (Supported Standing Forward Fold) 2 m ea

1. palms on blanket on chair back

2. forehead on blanket on front chair edge, elbows clasp & hang

3. crown of head on block(s)

– place two LO blocks on mat in front of knees; lie thighs onto blocks

SALAMBA URDHVA DHANURASANA (Supported Upward Bow Pose) 3 m ea
– toe mounds into wall, heels into floor
– front edge of chair seat at mid to upper shoulder blades
– block support for head if neck is compressed

SALAMBA JANU SIRSASANA (Supported Head to Knee Forward Bend) 2 – 3 m ea
– forehead rests on shin or block or chair based on your capacity

SALAMBA SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA (Supported Bridge Pose) 3 – 5 m
– HI block under sacrum; belt mid-thighs; extend legs
– if knees don’t straighten, place blocks under heels

SALAMBA PASCHIMOTTANASANA (Supported Seated Forward Fold) 2 m
– sit bones on front edge of chair seat; LO block to support feet
– HI, MED or LO block for forehead

SAVASANA (Corpse Pose) 5 – 10 m
– Place eye pillow or covering over eyes
– Repeat the Four Immeasurables meditation (see below) while in the pose

Four Immeasurables Meditation:

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.

May loving kindness flow from you to all beings. Namaste.

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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