It's not what happens to you, but how
you react to it that matters."-Epictetus
If you have a debilitating phobia or anxiety, psychologists have an effective way to systematically desensitize the triggers, by first teaching you a relaxation skill. Then you'd be taught to use that relaxation technique in response to graduated amounts of stimuli from the annoying object or activity. Overtime, you would be able to defuse reactions of fear or dread and respond in a more normal manner.
That same "response to graduated amounts of stimuli" is how I view my current yoga practice. Over the years, the Mother Sequence has slowly taught me to react with a feeling of joy as I inhale and a sense of pervading peace when I exhale. It has become, meditation in motion.
There were days when I focused more on the physical, the postures. On other days I paid attention to lengthening my breath or reciting the 12 mantras during sun salutations to steady my mind. Slowly, so slowly, my body has found ease and my left and right brains have learned to enjoy their syncopation. All of that activity, now allows me to react, by choice, with joy and peace when merely breathing.
I'm now exploring the benefits of teaching these qualities at the introductory level of yoga and also taking those lessons with me as I learn new skills outside of yoga. The body and mind don't have to be conquered like some phobia, in order for the spirit to emerge in joy and peace. When we start with a happy ending in mind, our choices and reactions along the way will play along as well.
Next Week: How to practice while seated at