These simple steps work for both on the mat and in life, but I'm going to use yoga examples.
So you're in yoga class. The sequence is fine, and then the teacher starts prepping you for that one pose that makes you inwardly groan. Does that ever happen to you?
It happened to me this past weekend. The sequence was beautiful- downward dog, three legged dog, right knee to forehead, right foot on the mat, shoot forward with hips square, stack the hips as left leg lifts off the ground, and then I knew right away and she said, "right fingertips on the ground as the left arm comes up, shoulders stacked, look up." UGH. The dreaded half moon pose.
As the sweat ran like a faucet down my face I asked myself why this pose bothers me and the answer was instant: I'm scared I'll fall over. My fingers don't feel like they're enough to catch me, and looking up makes it ten times harder to balance. So that's what it is- fear.
Fear is what's holding me back. So here are three ways to move past fear:
Be a child.
Everything is difficult before it comes easy. Take walking, for example. When a kid learns to walk, she gets up, wobbles, maybe takes a few steps and falls. She'll either laugh or cry, and then will get up again. She will always get up again. The lesson? Don't be scared to fall. Laugh. And try again.
Ok this might sound like a total cheese fest, but it worked for me when trying my first ever flying pigeon pose this past weekend so I'm gonna share. Meghan told us to "stop thinking and just say yes. Say it! Yes. Yes. Yes." So I teetered on my hands as I lifted up and thought of nothing but yes yes yes. It worked. Sometimes over-thinking is the bigger problem, so having a simple mantra can help.
A few months ago I started practicing drop-backs after, oh, maybe 20 years of not doing a single one. I was able to easily do them when I kept my hands by my sides, but I was paralyzed by fear when I started with my arms overhead even though that was the only way we did them in gymnastics class back in the day. So I YouTubed someone else doing them with their hands up. I visualized myself doing a drop-back with my hands up. I had my husband spot me once, I visualized myself going back without any hesitation, and I did it.
Applying these steps to your practice, or to whatever's going on in your life can help to break down walls that are holding you back. And as you make positive changes to how you approach difficulties you may find yourself more confident, calmer and more present.