Original artwork used with permission by Sara Kear, sarakearyoga.art

Last Halloween, one of the teachers here at OM Yoga Center began his evening class by inviting the students to request the Yoga poses they found scary. He was not surprised by fancy suggestions such as bending backward to touch the head to the floor, handstands, five-minute headstands and, of course, various pretzels of the leg-behind-the-neck category. But the entire class was a little surprised when one of the students requested meditation, saying, “That’s the most scary part of Yoga.”

Pema Chodron, in her book, The Places That Scare You, reminds us how the Buddha taught that flexibility and openness bring strength, and running from groundlessness brings pain. She asks, “But do we understand that becoming familiar with the running away is the key? Openness doesn’t come from resisting our fears but from getting to know them well.”

Some of us run away by avoiding our own mind and others run from external environments. Once a year you can find me off to lead a Yoga retreat in Costa Rica, leaving New York City with a dharma book, a Yoga mat and a tension headache. The open-air studio where I teach in Central America is filled with a sensuous composition of sweet birdsong, ripening fruit and fragrant flowers. I cross my legs, sit down on the beautiful wooden floor and feel healthy, inspired and nurtured by the quiet and the space…

Read the rest of this article by Cyndi Lee on LionsRoar.com