Courage is not the opposite of fear. A more accurate definition of courage is taking right action despite your fear. To do this takes forethought and a lot of practice.
Yoga helps in so many ways.
When we practice yoga asana we are required to move our bodies into shapes and positions that are deep and demanding. Over time we learn to calmly breath through the poses releasing and allowing rather than forcing our way through them. We sit with the sensations and watch the mind without reacting to every thought of “I can’t.” Over time we gain the strength and flexibility we need to face whatever life brings our way.
Asana practice also teaches us to find our equilibrium and balance. Standing poses require virya the Sanskrit word for strength and steadiness. Inversions teach us to let go of fear and preconceived notions of what we can do, trusting that we are safe even when our world is turned “literally” upside down. Excellent training for when life throws us a curve ball!
Meditation teaches us a different kind of courage, the courage to face our own thoughts and internal demons. Sitting in silence we learn to first see and then to accept our deepest fears, shortcomings and neurosis. As thoughts flow through our consciousness we are reminded that all is fleeting and so there is no need to attach to the “story” our minds make up around everything happening in the world around us.
As we sit we learn to see without judging, and in the seeing, we find the courage to surrender to what is.
It takes courage to show up in this life, courage to live a peaceful and loving life in a world that is often far from peaceful and loving. Yoga practice gives us the tools we need.