Monday, September 26, 2011

Warrior what?

If yoga is all about peace and unions, then what’s with the Warriors? Is it a bad translation? A way to relate to those who do not seek peace? Did we run out of animal names that looked like these poses?

Perhaps. For those interested in the mythology, the great story of Virabhadra talks of a vengeful god, born of rage as lord Shiva tore a lock of hair from his head and threw it into the ground. Up from the ground (warrior one) came a fierce multi-armed-eyed-and-weaponed Virabhadra. He did lots of nasty, merciless things, destroyed a lot of sacred stuff and royally irritated everyone around. To make matters worse, he cut off one particularly important head (warrior two).

Really? Is this the energy I’m manifesting in my yoga classes… this seems like a bad plan.

Yes. However, after his rage burned out (and he had a firm talking to from some other god-friends), Shiva recognized the pain he had caused and replaced Daksha’s missing head with the head of a goat as an act of reconciliation. Peace (warrior three).

Yoga does not prevent us from feeling rage, from making poor decisions, or operating without a perfect plan. Some days I wish that it did. Others I know that I wouldn’t relate well to others if I didn’t experience the same myriad of emotions that they do.

Instead, asana animates this ancient story of confronting one’s rage and making amends. By sensing the power of what is planted beneath us (w1), we redirect it into everything we do (w2), and it takes balance and attention to lower the gaze to the earth, allow the heart and mind to live on the same plane, and restore sanctity to what we have overlooked or chaos we have created (w3). By finding balance, pushing into the earth with just as much force as the earth presses into us, we deliver what we can truly offer, no more, no less.

"Nothing in the Universe survives without mercy..."

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