I lightheartedly tease some of my yoga students in class when they make faces. Sometimes the faces are because they are struggling in a pose. I remind them to breathe through their nose and tell them if their mouth is open they are working too hard. Other faces are on the new people when I mention what we are going to do during the class (i.e. stand on our hands and let our legs float up into the air while twisting them into various positions). I calm their fears by letting them know we are going to try and see what happens and you just never know. I let them know every pose has many steps to it and they might only take the first step that day and not go any farther and that is ok - so RELAX! The response is entertaining but they appear ready to go. No one bolts for the door. That is always a good sign.
I needed some encouraging words like that when I went to my last horseback riding lesson. I was going to have a lesson with another person - a very little person who seems to me to have no fear. She gets right up on this huge horse and follows the instructor's directions very calmly and precisely and happily. I was very calm and happy myself when I arrived until I found out that because the little person was on the mild horse, I was going to get to ride the Arabian. I call him the wild Arabian. He is in training (so am I). He doesn't like to stand still (which makes it exciting when you are trying to get up on him), he likes to go fast and he likes to dance around. I tend to prefer the mild horse that takes a little more to get her moving. Call me chicken - I don't mind! I am sure the horses do. I wish I could have had a picture of my face when the instructor told me I was going to get to ride the Arabian that day. And I thought my yoga students looked scared when I mentioned their legs floating up in the air.
Well - I did survive and actually did quite well on the Arabian. He was fun and challenging. I followed the instructor's directions very calmly and precisely and happily. I think I am over my fear of the wild Arabian until next time.
It is important to scare yourself a little every day. Get out of that comfort zone and see what you can really do.