Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens you. I think of it as choosing love over fear. Fear for me feeds any anxieties or insecurities that I have about some of the challenges I face. It shows up in relationships when I avoid difficult conversations. In making bigger decisions about so many things that arise in my life. Fear can be paralyzing at times which just leads to inaction. Sometimes fear is there to protect you from actual danger but in many cases it is your mind causing you undue suffering for no reason at all!

In yoga practice it limits my ability to focus on what my body is capable of. I remember as part of a yoga training many years ago we were encouraged to learn how to do handstands at the wall. My reaction was always to leave the room to go to the restroom just to avoid this challenge. My teacher, Todd Norian noticed and encouraged me to take the steps to achieving it. The day I practiced in my yard by a tree and nailed the handstand is a memory of great joy. It showed me I could face my fear and move through it anyway. Now, I have learned it also takes courage to back away from poses that are no longer safe for my body. Yes, bummer no more handstands for now!

Many new yoga students feel the same fear at trying yoga. Especially if they come to an in center class. With the Covid issues it only increases the anxieties. Will I be judged? What if I can’t do the poses? Or, if I am overweight? The list goes on. Anything new can bring with it a sense of fear and learning to switch it to curiosity is a great way to reframe it. Will I feel better- learn how to breathe more freely- be in my body in a new way? Yes to all of that. The higher purpose of the practice of yoga is to learn to love and accept yourself and to become more aware
of how you show up for yourself and others.

Courage asks you to listen to your body, mind and heart. To respect your own internal guidance system of intuition. To discern between when fear is there to protect you or when it is there to limit you. Choosing love over fear means you will keep your heart open and move forward with curiosity to live your life more fully.

Janie Gunn