I have a new mantra. It came to me during Chistmas time this year as I struggled with my fear of heights while climbing up to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. It is “You got this!” And I’ve been using it ever since!
My Christmas present was a road trip to the Grand Canyon. Being curious and not in a hurry meant that we could take our time and see some other great places along the way. We stopped in Moab, Utah to see Arches and Canyon Lands, We also went to Zion and found a really cool slot canyon and of course saw the grandaddy of them all – The Grand Canyon.
For people who do not have a fear of heights let me try to explain. We’re not really afraid of heights, we are afraid of falling! We have a constant horror movie playing in our head that shows us in exacting detail how we will trip over our shoelace, arms flailing and tip over the guard rail into oblivion. I’ve even imagined that the whole hillside might turn into a transformer and grab me by one leg hurling me into the deep abyss below.
I know, I know none of that is based in reality and seems rather ridiculous but I assure you my fear of falling kept me a good 10 feet away from any and all steep places and kept me shaking in my boots when traversing high places was a necessity. The funny thing is, I even get that feeling if I see someone else go near the edge! I want to grab them by the scruff of their shirt and haul their butts back away from the edge to safety!
This fear can be so great that some people never overcome it. They don’t go up in tall buildings, they don’t fly and they certainly don’t walk across the bowl to Delicate Arch!
In Yoga we face that same fear. Especially when we work on inversions. Falling during a pose can be very scary. So scary in fact that some people never even try. And if we do fall, it can take months to build up enough courage to try again.
I’ve been working on inversions for the last year and every time I tried to get upside down I would feel that same “flippy tummy” feeling and my brain would automatically think, “I’m probably going to fall.” After a year of failed attempts I tried telling myself “You got this!” and I finally had success! I found that I could move through the fear and actually achieve the pose.
It’s amazing really how much control our mind has over what our body is capable of. Simply repeating this mantra makes every scary pose easier! I wonder what we could accomplish in life if we used a positive mantra for other things like job interviews, fund raisers, confrontations of any kid. If we could only stop the negative chatter inside our heads and remind ourselves “You GOT this!”