Did you make any goals or set any intentions for the new year?
Even if you didn’t formally write down your intentions (although I encourage you to do so—make it easy for the Universe to know exactly what you want!), you most likely have things you want to create, manifest, and experience in 2018.
This can bring up a lot of fear.
A Course In Miracles states that everything is either love (which feels expansive and open) or fear (which feels small and constrictive).
If you’re in that constrictive place of fear, you’re not in flow. You can’t be in fear and be in love at the same time, and love is where all the magic happens. That’s the place of manifesting your dreams and goals for this year.
This post will share breathwork, yoga poses, and a journal exercise you can use to let go of fear, get back into a place of flow and love, and manifest everything you want this year.
Start with the Breath
Ujjayi breath, also known as “victorious breath,” is a great pranayama practice to use to release fear. The name itself translates to conquering, or obtaining freedom from, bondage.
It’s an empowering breath that calms your mind, cleanses your energy channels (known in yoga as nadis), promotes mental clarity, and cleanses your emotional body by releasing stagnant emotions held in your cells.
Start by inhaling deeply through your nose into your belly, followed by your lower lungs and then upper lungs all the way up to your clavicle. Slowly exhale out of your nose, emptying your upper lungs, lower lungs, and belly. Continue breathing this way until your breath feels slow, deep, natural, and fluid. This is known as full yogic breathing.
Once you feel steady and relaxed, begin Ujjayi breath by contracting your throat. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose with a full yogic breath, maintaining the soft constriction in the back of your throat. As you exhale through your nose, you’ll hear a soft snoring or ocean-like sound. As you inhale, breathe in the love, abundance, and support of the Universe. As you exhale, see your fear leaving your body.
Continue to inhale and exhale in this way for as few as ten rounds of breath or even for ten or twenty minutes. Just make sure your breath remains slow, fluid, and relaxed.
You store a lot of emotion in the hips. That’s why hip openers, which also help open the root and sacral chakras, are key to releasing fear.
Incorporating mantra into your yoga practice can be powerful. Try an affirmation like I am exactly where I am supposed to be or a Sanskrit mantra like the Ganesha mantra, Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah, to ask the Hindu god of wisdom and success for blessings, protection, and to remove any obstacles in your way.
Match one word or syllable to one breath as you flow through these poses.
Bound Angle Pose
Come to a comfortable seat and bring the soles of your feet together in front of you. The closer your feet are to your hips, the more intense the stretch will feel. Keep your spine lengthening forward as you hinge at the hips and fold, visualizing a softening and opening of the muscles on each exhale.
Moon Salutations (Chandra Namaskara)
This flow, the other side of the more commonly used sun salutations, activates the lunar energy in your body to connect you to your emotions and intuition, a key part of letting go of fear.
This sequence is almost the same as sun salutations—just take a crescent lunge and cobra (bhujangasana) instead of upward facing dog. See the full flow for a moon salutation here:
As you move slowly and mindfully, focus on your breath and notice how each movement creates a different sensation throughout your body.
In this pose, focus on the (possibly intense) sensation in your hips. As you inhale, visualize white-hot breath flowing to your hips. As you exhale, imagine a release of your muscles, and with it, a release of any negative emotions that don’t serve you.
The beauty of inversions and balancing poses is that you have to stay focused and present during them. You can’t obsess over the past or the future, or you’ll fall. But my favorite part is that turning upside down gives you a whole new perspective. When you’re upside down, you might be able to see your fear in a whole new light.
Lion pose introduces a little light and silliness into your asana. After you release in some intense hip openers, it’s important to add in a little play and remember how powerful you are— just like a lion (or lioness, if you will). From your comfortable seat, inhale deeply and gaze to the tip of your nose or the third eye. As you exhale, simply open your mouth wide and stretch your tongue out, open your eyes wide, and exhale slowly out through your mouth.
Journal it Out
Journaling can be a powerful way to recognize your feelings, process them, and move past them. This journaling exercise moves you through three phases: understanding your fear, sending love to your fear, and releasing your fear. Follow these 10 steps to work through any fears you may be feeling about the new year.
- Set up your journal, a pen, and cleansed obsidian, sodalite, smoky quartz, and citrine crystals in front of you. Obsidian helps you reflect, process and see your true self— the light and the dark. Sodalite helps you realize who you truly are and offers healing, and smoky quartz helps you release old patterns, limiting beliefs, and stagnant energy to make room for new, light energy and hope. Citrine, the perfect crystal for a new year, promotes the enjoyment of new experiences, encourages you to go with the flow, and helps you release that which doesn’t serve you.
- Then find a comfortable seat with your palms facing up, in a gesture of receiving insight. Ask yourself what you are afraid of, and sit in silence breathing deeply (maybe using the breathwork above) as the answers come to you.
- As your thoughts start to flow, pick up your pen and write them down on the page. No matter how small they are, let your fears flow out in a stream of consciousness type writing.
- After you’ve written everything down, return your palms to your knees and acknowledge your fears.
- Say to yourself out loud, “I recognize that I am afraid of…” and list each of your fears. Take a few moments in silence to process these fears.
- Then write in your journal, “I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I know that I am experiencing exactly what I need to experience. I love you, [your name], and I recognize that only love is real.”
- If you feel called to, you can also speak this out loud. Then return to silence, again focusing on the breath, and take the smoky quartz and citrine crystals into your hands.
- As you’re ready, say out loud “I release my fear of…” and list each of your fears again, letting go of each one. Take your time and allow any emotions that you feel to come to the surface.
- Then state aloud, “I deserve to experience compassion and love, and I release fear and the power it holds over me.”
- As you finish speaking, write down what feelings came up for you. If you’d like, you can also burn the paper with your fears written on it to symbolically let go of them.
Wishing you all the abundance of the Universe this year.
About Eryn Johnson
Eryn is a yoga teacher, freelance writer, and social media manager currently based in Philadelphia. She completed her 200-hour teacher training in Rishikesh, India where she became obsessed with mantra chanting, yoga philosophy, and chai tea. When she’s not doing yoga, she’s planning her next trip, hosting the Living Open podcast, or eating Thai food. Follow along with her adventures on Instagram at @erynj_ and at www.livingopenshow.com