5 Ways to Cultivate Inner Courage

  • YogaToday
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Our friends at CosmoMuse said it first! Courage is the theme of the month as we find ourselves on paths unknown, bringing excitement and also anxiety about the possibilities that lie ahead for the new year. It takes courage and strength to make a change no matter how big or small your resolutions might be. So how do we grow our courage? When we feed our inner world and believe that we really have everything that we need, we can stay the course and make the shifts that we desire in our lives. Instructor, Adi Amar, reminds us to maintain the practice, look inward, and keep going – with enthusiasm! Remember, strength comes from within. Build up your bravery with these simple tips:

1. Strike a Power Pose

Try a fiery practice where you create space across the chest and strengthen through the core. We recommend doing sets of lunges with "cactus arms" (just like the model featured in the image above). Feel your strength radiate through your fingertips as you reach to the sky, broaden the collarbones, and stay steady through your legs. Then connect to your abdominals through variations of plank pose. We really like this class, Strong and Centered with Mona Godfrey for a quick (20 minute) strong flow. You'll feel more capable and confident in no time!

2. Get Your Beauty Sleep

Nothing saps our power like feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Enter Arianna Huffington, the reigning queen of ZZZ's. If you are feeling overwhelmed and tired, consider Huffington's example and buy her book for some bedtime reading: The Sleep Revolution. Also be sure to check out these breathing exercises, poses and tips to help you sleep better on the YT Blog.

3. Practice Positive Thinking

The human brain naturally focuses more on negative experiences as an evolutionary adaptation to avoid danger. However, as we are only too aware, negativity can get in the way of happiness, add to our stress, and ultimately damage our health. Experts recommend to first accept the negative thoughts and then to challenge their validity. Try speaking to yourself as you would a dear friend and then move to a place of action that counters the negative thought cycle. “The more you dwell on the negative, the more accustomed your brain becomes to dwelling on the negative,” said Dr. Hanson, who recommends asking yourself, “Are my thoughts helping to build me up, or tear me down?” Visit this article to read more about conquering negative thinking.

4. Surround Yourself with Support

Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. That might include family members, your friends, and your partner if you are in a relationship. In short, choose wisely and pick positive, supportive people who elevate your energy. We all know, intuitively, that we are "the company that we keep," but it's a nice reminder to tend to your inner circle with extra care and to weed out the nay-sayers. The bottom line is this – your "top five" are critical to success.

5. Visualize and Embody Strength

When life is in flux, try this meditation to support transformation. It incorporates the "seed sound" (Ram) of the third chakra, the chakra of self-esteem and personal power centered in the solar plexus.