The Yoga of Courage


On each side of my trackpad on my laptop is a sticker, one from our friends at H2Life (a featured brand in our Chakra Abundance box) that says Courage and another of a person in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) pose. These stickers serve as gentle reminders for me to stay focused and not give up, even when fear and discomfort threaten to take over. 

In yoga, we are encouraged daily to not only be our best selves, but to actively participate in bringing a willingness to transform moment by moment. I’ve learned that my worst fears exist in my mind, but the mind is also fertile ground for planting positive thoughts. It is possible to create courageous thoughts and words to live by more mindfully each day. Through yoga and meditation, we can learn to tap into our higher selves, to bring presence and perspective in order to uplift ourselves and others.

The word "courage" is derived from the Latin word cor, meaning heart and originally meant “to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.” Enlightened yoga teachers remind us that the heart chakra is the center from which everything becomes (is) sacred.

Watercolor golden heart

The 8 limbs of yoga, including yoga asana, help us return to our hearts, including the sometimes radical and vulnerable act of speaking our hearts: a journey and a destination for a courageous life. We are taught to pause, notice the breath, and remember the heart. From there, we access courage to be ourselves in all our messiness and imperfection.

Courage is a muscle we must mindfully build. It’s an everyday practice that we get to strengthen by bringing our awareness and vulnerability to it. Learning to notice when we feel fear, by keying into body sensations and the thoughts that whirl in our head to alert us, we can unravel our own unconscious behaviors and begin to make change.

So, the next time you are confronted with a fear, take a moment, breathe and ask yourself, what small step can I take to befriend and conquer this fear? By shining the light of awareness on it, you’ll find what was truly scary for you transmutes and transforms. It could become not only liberating for you, but a gift to offer to others to help them on their life’s journey. Courage builds inside us everytime we practice it.