The Heart of a Champion

With the Olympics rapidly approaching, let's take a moment to delve into the making of a champion. First of all, coming into first place does not define a champion. A champion is one who demonstrates marked superiority in what they pursue. Dependent on what you desire to become a champion of requires relentless exterior work; however, what ultimately determines  becoming a champion starts and ends with the heart.

Physically, the heart is a fascinating organ in and of itself. If a heart averages 72 beats a minute, that translates to 103,060 beats a day. Live a lifetime of 80 years, and the heart would have relentlessly pumped life through you over 3 billion times. The brain does not control it. The heart beats to its own drum of electrical currency and even has its own nervous system that can and will work independently of the brain. The mind is truly a terrible thing to waste; however, not listening to your heart can lead you to even greater losses. It is not held back by any ego. It is empowered by a Source much greater.

The mind has a sensitive ego that lets fear run rampant if allowed. Fear can stop you in your tracks, throw in the towel, and justify quitting. The heart, unlike the brain, is not ego dominated. It is where passion is born. Passion feeds persistence. Persistence breeds excellence. Failures to win the first place position will come and go; however, true champions will keep honing their gifts to give more than before. The accomplishments of a champion will come to fruition and the trophy one may hold is a tangible reminder of a relentless practice to stay on the path of the heart. Just don't forget, they were a champion long before the trophy or medal. A collection of trophies can be displayed with pride; however, the fire of the heart that lit the path to win them is what truly matters.

In the practice of yoga, winning a trophy is not on the agenda. Expanding the awareness of your horizons to pursue and honoring the intricate merge of mind, body and spirit is what makes you a champion yogi. When you breathe, breathe into the heart. When you move any part of the body, move it with awareness of your heart. Notice the subtle, yet powerful, difference when you shift your conscious awareness south of the mind...to the heart. Take a moment to recall a time you "listened" to your heart despite your mind's fear-based contradiction and see the beauty of what manifested for you to grow. Doubt percolates in the mind. Courage grows with every beat of the heart. Make every beat truly count.

Know this...it takes courage to follow the heart. It is no accident that the Latin root of courage, cor, influenced by the French language, cour, means heart. Think about it...when you encourage someone, you give your heart out to help them. If one is discouraged, they are disheartened. We seek champions to support not necessarily because they win, but because they have the heart we seek to support. The energy of the heart is 5000 times stronger than the energy of the brain. The energy of the heart is magical and it is like a magnet that grows stronger with the inner courage of Self and the exterior encouragement of other hearts. Therefore, when  we encourage and observe someone win, we all win...together.

To win is a by-product of intense practice, commitment, and passion. Use your practice of yoga to not only achieve physical fitness, but to strengthen your chief source of courage. A heart of courage is truly a heart of a champion!

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