Wiggle Your Way Out of Your Fears! By Stephanie Landouer
Dana Trixie Flynn turned me on to this really groovy French song. I’ve been listening to it on repeat. A few days ago, on my morning commute, I plugged in my earphones and bumped up the volume to listen to my new jam.
When I got off the train, I was all smiles and happy, and a lady purposely bumped into me, yanking my iPod to the ground. This weird energy brutally pulled me out of my bubble and it felt as if I was taking my first breath of air after being held down under water for a long time. The crankiness around me, the effervescence on the street, the sunshine on my skin, the air brushing my face, the anxiety in me… I could all feel it, and it all became real.
In Ayurveda, we learn that health is the well-integrated correlation of a balanced mind, a balanced body, and a balanced spirit – in harmony with the world around us. It is all three. There is no such thing in Ayurveda as a happy mind/body/spirit withdrawn from the world. We are wired to find peace, happiness, balance and health in the way we connect with our surroundings and our awareness to this connection.
One of my favorite authors, Brené Brown says that “We cannot selectively numb emotions; when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” It’s more than that: we cannot selectively numb emotions, and when we open up and feel emotions, we also don’t get to pick which ones are going to show up.
When this lady pulled me from my happy place back into the real world, a rush of anxiety came over me. That bubble of happiness exploded and the hidden stuff bubbled up to the surface: anxiety, sense of unworthiness, unending negative self-talk – in three words, the fear-based emotions. You know: these emotions that feel so bad that they feel good… the addictive sweetness of familiar discomfort.
Ayurveda helps us deal with our fear based emotions and ease our physical body from the effects of fearful thinking. Here are some easy ways to invite Ayurveda into your life to wiggle out of your fears:
#1. Brew Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea
We store our fears in our kidneys. The kidneys help clear waste from the blood. This formula, suitable for all three doshas, is very famous for burning out these wastes. It also supports the kidneys in flushing the urinary tract and getting rid of unneeded water in the system. The healthier our kidneys, the less likely they’ll be willing to host our fears!
Do this: Boil a cup of water, add ¼ teaspoon of each herb, let steep for about 5 minutes, strain, and drink up!
#2. Have Faith
Dr. Claudia Welch, a teacher in Ayurvedic Medicine, says “faith is an antidote to fear.” You’ll tell me that faith isn’t a physical aspect of our beings, but our bodies don’t make a difference between a real fear and a made up one. The sensation will creep down into our kidneys either way. And, my teacher, Ali Cramer, says that “faith is a muscle.” In that way, it IS physical!
Do this: Sit down and exercise the faith muscle! Pray for the willingness to let our faith guide us.
#3. Sprinkle Food with Basil and Drink Warm Nutmeg Milk
The emotion of fear weakens our nervous system. By adding to our food the herbs and spices that can strengthen the nervous system, we can help the energetic body regain a little bit of its power. Basil is yummy, and it helps strengthen the nerve tissues. At night, have a glass of warm milk with nutmeg. It is soothing for your soul and cleansing for your nervous system. Bye-bye fearful dreams!
#4. Use Sandalwood, Orange, Frankincense, and Vanilla Essential Oils
Through familiar smell associations, our past experiences enclose us into habit patterns, very much related to our fear of not being able to handle the new and different. Using essential oils such as sandalwood, orange, frankincense, or vanilla helps rewire our brains and break the patterns. There are plenty of other oils that can help you with this; I chose these because they are widely accessible.
Looking at our fears doesn’t have to be so serious – it can be fun and playful, too! If you want to know how, join me on April 4th, 2-4pm, at Laughing Lotus New York for my workshop: Yoga Practices to Beat Your Fears.
I’ll share fun tips and tricks on how to embrace the emotions that show up and dance with them. I promise I’ll play that groovy French song that makes me wiggle like a worm on the subway platform.