building courage with yoga trainingBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed.

Can Yoga sessions that you design help your students build courage? As a professional Yoga teacher, there are an endless assortment of ways to creatively sequence a series of asanas, meditation techniques and breathing exercises to facilitate the vibrant good health and overall well being of your Yoga students. Once you master the basic elements of a safe and effective class, you will be able to creatively engage your students in a series of postures that elicit different emotional states, as well as strengthen and tone various parts of the body.

Choosing an accessible and challenging pinnacle asana is one of the most creative and intuitive aspects of being an effective Yoga instructor. Many teachers create a sequence of postures that is intended to culminate in the practice of a challenging pinnacle pose. A challenge pinnacle pose will be different depending on the composition of students in your Yoga class. For instance, on a given day you may have a preponderance of beginning students in your class, which will necessitate choosing a pinnacle pose that is challenging enough for your students, but not so challenging that attempting the posture you have chosen makes them vulnerable to injury.


You also do not want to choose a pinnacle pose that is so difficult for most of your Yoga students that they are not able to do the posture at all and this failure ends up eroding their sense of competency, which leaves them feeling demoralized at the end of class and ready to throw in the proverbial towel. Part of being a successful Yoga teacher is to maintain a high degree of safety in your class. Another important aspect of being a successful teacher is to keep your students enthusiastic about practicing Yoga with you!

Build Courage With Experience

As you gain more experience as a Yoga teacher, you will also learn how to creatively sequence your Yoga class, in order to enhance your students’ experiences of different exalted emotions or uplifting states of being. An example of this is the cultivation of peace and inner well being. By guiding your students through a vigorous series of standing and balancing postures, which winds down into a softer, more introspective series of seated forward folds, your students will feel quiet and peaceful at the end of your Yoga class, if all goes as planned.

Additionally, a state of courage and the tenacity to follow through on one’s goals is spoken of quite highly in many different spiritual texts from a variety of religious traditions. A challenging Yoga class that is accessible to most of your students will provide a framework within which to cultivate a sense of courage, accomplishment and diligence. Challenging standing postures and arm balancing poses often come to mind immediately as poses that easily lend themselves to the development of courage and tenacity.


However, back bending poses and hip openers also help to open up the energetic areas of the body that often become contracted and closed down throughout the course of our lives, when we experience difficult or painful situations. By guiding your Yoga students through a series of expansive back bending postures, you will allow them to release some of the constriction around their heart and throat areas. The resultant state of expansion will increase the flow of energy throughout their entire being, which will uplift their spirit and engender a state of courage in their hearts and minds.

Bow Pose

Bow Pose is one of the most profoundly opening back bending postures that is quite accessible to most Yoga students. This posture is practiced while lying on a Yoga mat in a prone position. Please note: Upward Facing Bow is a more challenging version of Bow Pose and should only be undertaken by those students who have enough flexibility and strength to practice the posture in a safe manner. On the other hand, Bow Pose can be safely practiced by most beginning Yoga students, assuming the students are able to lie on a Yoga mat comfortably and are not contending with a serious neck or back injury, particularly a lower back injury.

Bow Pose expands the entire rib cage area and releases tension throughout the shoulders, neck and throat. This postures also increases flexibility throughout the quadriceps and hip flexors. Bow Pose is usually practiced after a series of Sun Salutations, standing postures and balancing poses. It is often practiced as a connecting pose between the standing asanas and seated postures. After your students have practiced a series of three Bow Poses for three to five breaths each, have them move gently move back into Extended Child’s Pose, in order to release any tension that may have accumulated in their lower back area, before proceeding onto the next Yoga posture.

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she specializes in writing customized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: [email protected].

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