In our super-hero age, I feel like courage and bravery get pigeon holed. You need muscles and danger and probably a truck. To be courageous, you need heroics. Except, is this actually true?! What does courage mean to you? Until I started thinking about it, courage had always implied heroics and life-on-the-line type of stuff. My courage narrative used to be externally driven with an implication of 'saving'. It was narrative of the vulnerable and the actions of the brave (or, the vulnerable becoming brave through physically prowess.) Then, I read this:
"The root of the word courage is cor -- the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Brene Brown
Courage has its roots in the heart not in the heroics. Courage starts with us. Following, to be courageous is to be vulnerable and heartfelt. To be courageous is show up as you. That sounds like yoga!
The Courage Of Yoga
What if our practice wasn't about physical heroics and handstands? What if we remembered that our practice was solely about us -- sweet honesty. Would we feel a bit braver? Can we flow with that?!
Courage in the truest, heartfelt sense says: 'I feel like me', not 'I perform like you'. Courage is an invitation inwards. And, like your practice, courage is not one size fits all! Watch yourself. Every time you unroll your mat ask: "What am I practicing?". Unroll your heart. Practice like you.
"There is an interesting transition that occurs naturally and spontaneously. We begin to find that, to the degree that there is bravery in ourselves--the willingness to look, to point directly at our own hearts--and to the degree that there is kindness toward ourselves, there is confidence that we can actually forget ourselves and open to the world." - Pema Chodron
The practice of courage then is a practice in being who you are. No armor. Just heart.