What Might your Couer Inspire you to do Today

February 8, 2013
Lynn Medow


by Lynn Medow

On December 1,1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. That courageous act resulted in her arrest, sparked a year-long bus boycott & helped give rise to the Civil Rights Movement. Earlier this week, on February 4th, Parks would have been 100 years old.

Just this week, Rep. John Conyers Jr. and other congressional representatives presented a resolution to designate every Feb. 4 hence forth as a National Day of Courage. He shared that Rosa Parks never sought the limelight, in fact, preferred to avoid it. He stated, "I think the best way for people to honor her is to exemplify her ideas in their own lives, to continue to struggle for justice for all and to resist discrimination of any sort."

What is courage?

The word courage comes from the French word couer, meaning heart. At the heart of the matter, when we are afraid, we hunch our shoulders, protect our hearts and our breath becomes shallow. If you could imagine a posture of courage, it could only be one with an open heart, lifted chest, strong back and full breath.

Yes, I am addressing the outer form, the positioning of our bodies, that reflects courage. And yet, this outer form gives evidence of our inner self.

This is our journey in yoga; the body as a door within as well as a door that lets out, or mirrors, that which is deep inside. At times, we can create courage through a strong yogic posture, like a backbend, that allows us to feel strong and empowered. An accomplishment on this level may stimulate the courage needed to stand more firmly in one's beliefs.

On the other hand, a release of tension in the body through deep and slow stretching, done with mindfulness and patience, may accomplish the same goal.

Psychologist Carl Jung suggested many years ago, "The only way out is through."  In other words, the door can swing in both directions. You can "act" courageously before you truly feel it and be amazed that the feeling comes. Or, you can feel it and then act.

Step on your mat today and explore your courage. Know that what takes a courageous attitude for you is very different than your fellow practitioner on the mat next to you.  Revere their space, share your energy and support each other in honoring the legacy of Rosa Parks, and all those who have performed in a manner that stands for equality and justice.

Explore opening your heart and standing for your beliefs through backbends and balance poses. Honor yourself by coming to child pose when you lose the evenness of your breath and the focus of your mind. Practice in a way that opens you to making your world a better place so that it may have a ripple effect on those around you.

Parks said in her autobiography:

"I have spent over half my life teaching love and brotherhood, and I feel it is better to continue to try and teach or live equality and love than it would be to have hatred or prejudice. Everyone living together in peace and harmony and love...that's the goal we seek, and I think that the more people there are who reach that state of mind, the better we will all be."

What might your couer inspire you to do today?

This blog first appeared at http://www.yogabydesign.us/inspirations/.





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