Do you find yourself panicking because of a fear that has been haunting you for years?
Fear is a common thing in our society. Some are afraid of snakes, others of ghosts, mice, pigeons and the list goes on. But what strikes more is that, by talking to friends and clients, I realized it is even more common to have panic attacks resulting from fear.
Because I suffered from fear for few years and I experienced panic attacks where I completely lost my mind and control of my senses, I have decided to write this article in an attempt to give you few tips from my own experience with inquiry, Yoga and Sound Therapy work.
Since I could remember I had suffered from a severe fear of ghosts and for years I spent a long time in bed before sleeping reciting all prayers I knew to protect me against those creatures that I was told about when I was a kid.
Going to the loo during the night was an absolute nightmare. I had to avoid disturbing the tranquillity of those ghosts, because my belief was that ‘the day is for men and the night is for ghosts!’ So I had to quickly run through the corridors and press the light switches. At the toilet, even with the light on, I still couldn’t look at the mirror because I was terrified of seeing a ghost reflected in it!
The panic attacks happened in those times of blackouts or when I forgot to top up the electricity card. Waking up during the night in total darkness and knowing that I have no choice but go to the other side of my flat because I need the loo was the most dreadful experience. I used to hear voices repeating my name and having torturing thoughts like: ‘ghosts come after midnight in the toilets’, ‘if you look at the mirror you will see a ghost and he will transform your face forever’.
I had a lot of things going on in my body during those moments of panic that I was not aware of and only few years later I realized that during those terrible moments my body became tense, my breath was very shallow. I used to feel an increase of body temperature, a chill feeling on the back of my head and pain in my joints!
I tried many things to get rid of the intense fear but nothing really worked out well for me until I started inquiring my thoughts. Sound work facilitated and accelerated that process of inquiry as well.
Here is what helped me a lot in those moments of panic:
1. Staying in the body: When the thoughts started coming, I asked myself: ‘where do I feel the fear now?’ and I brought my focus to where I could feel any change in my body: ‘is there any increase of heat somewhere’? ‘Is there any pain in the neck, shoulder, knee etc’? I observed and scanned what was happening. You might think ‘oh all good but during the panic I lose my senses and I cannot focus on my body!’ Yes you are right but as everything else it takes practice, and once you start doing it you realize that it is not only possible but also not that hard as it seems!
By going into the body, I was taking my focus from the thoughts that were torturing me and at the same time I was bringing awareness to those parts of my body that were imbalanced because of fear. This awareness that I had built up was a key for my transformation and helped me find clarity and get out of those moments of panic!
2. Next step was taking risks! For example while in the toilet, I switched off the light and looked at the mirror and observed what was happening again in my body. ‘What do I feel’? I asked myself.
These 2 simple steps felt like not much once I did them, but they were a good start and they might be enough by themselves for you to get rid of that fear! Because, like me, one day you might just wake up and notice that the fear is gone and that nothing bad has happened since you started taking those risks and observing your body.
When started having more clarity around what was happening, I realized that I was attached to false beliefs. I realized as well that the fear had a specific message for me: ‘you are safe here in the now, there is no need to think about the terrible things that might happen’. When I understood the meaning of the message and accepted it, the fear started to transform into something that had a more life-affirming energy to it, something that is called acceptance!
Any activity that brings you to the present moment can help you strengthening your awareness. You can try Yoga, do the work of Byron Katie, or follow the wisdom of Eckhart Tolle and Thich Nhat Hanh.
You can also visit www.ottosoundtherapy.com for more information about how Sound Therapy could facilitate the whole process for you and help you find that clarity that you are looking for.
A lot of love and sound to you and come back next week for another article on this blog.
As a Yoga teacher do you find yourself judgmental against other Yoga traditions different from yours? Do you feel like another style of Yoga cannot be called Yoga and you struggle to accept it?
Let’s consider a couple of scenarios:
Marc has been practicing for a few years the same Yoga tradition oriented to a lot of meditation and just a few Asanas, then he decided to become a Yoga teacher. The more the years pass, the more confident about the effectiveness of his style on him and on his students he becomes. He hasn’t been to a class of any other style of Yoga for a long time.
One of his regular students, Vanessa, told him about a new type of Yoga that she experienced a week ago. He had already heard about that Yoga among his Yoga teachers circle. He heard that "it cannot be called Yoga in itself", "it is all physical", "it is like fitness " and "it has nothing to do with the 8 limbs of Yoga". Ironically Marc now finds more people talking about that new style of Yoga everywhere he goes and in every conversation. He now feels angry about it and every time he reads a comment on social media from one of those ‘fitness’ teachers he feels like he wants to argue and comment that it is wrong but he tries to restrain himself from saying too much in order not to look too invasive and aggressive.
Now Donna is the Yoga teacher of that new type of Yoga. She likes strong Asanas and believes they are good for her. She doesn’t like "those vegetarians", "Guru- like" type of Yoga teachers who have a "boring" practice. When she goes on social media and reads that people are talking about strong Asanas as ‘mindless practice’, she gets angry and frustrated.
Do you find yourself sometimes thinking like Donna or Marc?
Do not worry; even if you are a Yoga teacher, you are a human being! We all tend to disagree with different ways of doing things and defend our beliefs. Even so, those strong thoughts and feelings that we could have, are a gift from the universe and pointers for us to grow in peace and harmony with ourselves and the world.
Next time you feel a resistance inside of you in the form of strong thoughts or emotions, pause for a moment and ask yourself ‘why am I having these reactions?’ Often we see problems that do not exist or are not important; this clouds our judgement and drains our energy.
In his book "Life's missing instruction manual", Joe Vitale wrote: “You will find this hard to believe at first, but everything in your life is just a projection from the shadow side of your mind”.
I know that we all want to change the world and save it, and that Yoga teachers feel this passionately. The good news is that it is possible to create a better world. The other news is that we can only create a better world...for ourselves!
Taking a risk is an excellent way to measure where you are in your process of creating that beautiful world. So this week why don’t you take a risk for your mind and go to a Yoga class that you have never thought you would practice in your life? This experience will maybe teach you not only a few technical things that you didn’t know and that could inspire you to incorporate in your teachings but also a lot about yourself as a person! You can take notes which will help you to do some self-reflection and enhance your own Yoga practice. Sound can also help you to cut right through the layers of the mind and accelerate that transformation process through simple and efficient methods.
We all have different needs and there is no Yoga that can suit everybody’s needs. It is the same with every other thing in life. In Sound Therapy we understand it in terms of frequency: as human beings we all have different frequencies. If I chant a Chakra vowel for 2 people at the same time, one person could feel a resonance in his head; the other person might feel it in the base of the spine! Likewise there is a Yoga that works for one but doesn’t work for another. Instead of arguing, trust that the universe is perfect just the way it is.
I am interested in knowing your thoughts and I am willing to learn from your precious feed-backs.
Namaste and a lot of love and Sound to you.
Visit www.ottosoundtherapy.com and Contact me for a free phone consultation with no commitment to see how Sound Therapy could help you gain the clarity you are looking for in a safe and practical way.