Fear has been nipping at my heels the past two weeks. I haven't blogged about it, I thought perhaps if I ignored it that it would go away. It lurks in the room, waiting for me, stale, black, sinewy. I see it in the corner when I lay my mat down. I feel it breathing in my ear as I kneel down, waiting for class to start. I've even delayed going into the room until the last minute, hoping it is not waiting, but to no avail. It's there, sitting on it's haunches at the back of my mat, red eyes mocking me as I stand up for pranayama breathing. It knows it will hit paydirt soon. It rubs it's hands together in glee as I set up for half moon, for it knows it doesn't have to wait much longer to torment me....no not long at all. I have been practicing for over 2 and 1/2 years. I am not all that flexible, nor am I super strong, but one thing I have always been blessed with is a decent backward bending spine. I have never worried about backbends before, they were something I could do "decently". Suddenly I am afraid of them. Suddenly my feet feel precarious in that first backbend. Suddenly I have to "smooth out my breathing" as Adele likes to remind us. Suddenly I see gray spots when I go back. Suddenly I look at the ceiling and panic, not even looking at the back wall yet. I used to look at the floor!! So to stop at the ceiling and panic is insane! Where did this come from? Why do I feel it all along the length of my legs. Why do my feet feel weird? How come I feel like if I lock my arms and look back, fall back, way back that I will in fact topple over to my death? What is wrong with me? And the more I stress and panic about it, the worse I do. So today I said hello to that red eyed creature waiting for me at the back of my mat. I acknowledged he was there. I felt the fear in the backbend and focused on my breath. The fear did not go away, and I could not get back to seeing the floor but I decided doing yoga was worth it. The fear was a small price to pay to do my yoga. So I embraced him, danced with him, accepted him, shitty backbend and all.