Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Here I am being fearful before a handstand on a bench... I felt the fear and did it anyway. Perhaps not the wisest decision in this case!
Fear is probably the single-most thing in our lives that holds us back from success. When you have fear festering inside, often it encourages doubt. Doubt usually encourages low-self esteem which also holds a person back from being the best version of themselves. These conditions often have debilitating effects on one’s body and mind. 
I know as a young woman fear held me back some what and affected my self esteem which is why I love teaching yoga to teens and encouraging ways to build good self-esteem. Although I felt the fear it didn't always totally stop me as I still pushed ahead with my dream to be a professional dancer.
By the age of nineteen, after my first brief taste of professional dancing (a twelve month contract) followed by a bout of depression (to be back on the audition circuit), I began reading Louise Hay's self help books and practicing affirmations which I posted around my room. I also had a poster in my room with the image of a dancer which read: "Dream your dream and do your best; never doubt and never rest until that dream is yours." I read this every night before bed which is why it is still impregnated in my mind today. 
I really believe in the power and benefits of positive self-talk and have used it in my life to boost my confidence and practiced it in raising my children so that they may grow up confident in their abilities and also speak positively to others. Otherwise we can get caught up in the negative self chatter that we aren't good enough, pretty enough, strong enough... or what ever else we let consume us. 
Later in life I found that yoga also helped build my self-esteem in many ways and taught me tools to become present and dwell more regularly in now-sight not hind-sight or fore-sight. As Eckhart Tolle suggests, the present moment is the only moment where change and transformation can occur. 
Pranayama (breath-work) taught me that one conscious breath is enough to make some space where before there was thought after thought. One conscious breath practiced regularly throughout the day, is an excellent way of bringing space into your life. 
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." ~ Viktor E. Frankl. 
The first time I read the above quote I had an 'aha' moment as it pieced together all my learning so far and confirmed for me that when we pause to find presence, space and clarity we are then able to act (with wisdom) instead of re-act (from fear) and that is the key to our power and transformation.  
Some of us rely heavily on burying our fears or avoiding any discomfort in our lives  rather than confronting them head on. Heck, I have been guilty of this I used to try and avoid driving over the Sydney Harbour Bridge for some time because I was terrified I might get lost over on the dark side... ha ha! At times I had to drive to the other side and I hung on for dear life to the steering wheel white knuckled.
"In the beginning there is not much difference between the coward and the courageous person. The only difference is, the coward listens to his fears and follows them and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears." Osho, Courage - The Joy of Living Dangerously. 
The best way to face your fear is to face it head on. Start taking one-step at a time to beat it. Take a conscious breath to find presence, space and clarity and then choose to move forward courageously. 
Practicing poses that activate the bladder and kidney meridians brings balance to these organs, and may help you to feel more calm, confident and secure. By stimulating the flow of energy along the bladder meridians, we can also relieve any tension and/or pain that may have accumulated from an overactive sympathetic nervous system due to stress and anxiety.
The emotions associated with these meridians and the season of winter are fear and wisdom. We come into this world with innate wisdom, we just need to be reminded to tune back into that. Fear will always be there, that is our human condition, but we have an option as to which one to follow. By choosing wisdom you drive out the space and time for fear and worry.
* Mini class for winter at this link.
Article by Martine Ford