I have a relatively sedentary life, especially before it’s warm enough to be out in the garden, and a *very* sedentary job. My yoga teacher gave me a simple sequence of yin yoga poses to do in the morning to stretch out my hips and sacrum, to compensate for all the sitting. Yin yoga is all about the connective tissue – you take a position and spend several minutes holding that pose, loosening up the ligaments and joints. It can be quite painful, as you begin to activate the tissues that quite literally hold your body together.
I’ve been doing this practice semi-regularly for several weeks (I was a little lax on my vacation), and to my surprise, last week I was finding that backbend poses were bringing up a lot of fear for me. Now, I’m not new to this experience, but for some reason, rather than getting easier, the experience was becoming more intense. Curious about why, I started reading more about fear in backbend postures. Backbends activate the kidney meridian, which in Chinese medicine includes not only the toxic filters of the kidneys, but also the adrenal glands and the hormone secreting “external kidneys”: the testicles and ovaries. So our kidney meridian regulates immunity and sexual vitality, and is sensitive to stresses and transgresses. And why would several weeks of opening up this area bring up more fear in me? It came to me in a flash: because it took me weeks to get down to the level where I lock away fear.
Strength and independence are important to me, as a butch, a dominant, and a woman. So while I use the mantra, “feel the fear and do it anyway”, I’ve been living the mantra, “Ignore the fear, lock it away, and power through.” Even my philosophy of exuberant living prizes sucking it up and return to joy as quickly as possible. But maybe I need to give more attention to negative feelings, or at least make sure that I’ve truly let them go, and not merely locked them away. I will be spending more time letting go of some of this old, uncomfortable stuff, and being attentive to what I do with the stuff I don’t enjoy feeling when it comes up. All in service to becoming a better self-actualized human full of true, deep joy in living.