The spiritual warrior is a “hero” or one who acts with courage. The “vira” in Virabhadrasana, or our warrior class of poses, refers to the heroic strength and power that cuts through fear and delusion. The spiritual hero risks everything to bring light to the unconscious and achieve self-realization.
Peace is a potent tool through which the warrior achieves this goal. As a spiritual warrior, the yogi strives to realize and protect peace within to support and inspire peace beyond oneself. Recognizing the interconnectedness of all things, a peaceful warrior’s capacity for choosing to be peace directly influences his or her capacity for bringing peace and light into the world.
Finding your peaceful warrior is a practice in moving deeply into the center of your being, into the eternal, unwavering light of the Divine. From this place, the peaceful warrior can act in the world according to her dharma, or unique purpose in life and continue to become who she is in the world â€“ a mother or father, a student or teacher, an artist, a computer wizard, an activist, a musician, a chef. Rather than denying the unique gifts and purpose of her life, a spiritual warrior acts in the world from her being deeply established in the eternal Self.
With this connection to our source of energy, we can engage more fully in our worldly lives with courage, strength and compassion. As a spiritual warrior, we can impress a sweet taste of our unique selves on this world, while carrying our mission for peace and light.
In hatha yoga, there are many “Warrior poses”, representing the great acts of courage and steadiness of heroes and heroines. This month’s variation on Warrior I, found in the first prelude of the Shadow Yoga system, is a moving meditation to keep you centered in your Warrior self.
As you move from one side to the other, keep your body and focus both steady and receptive to the subtle shifts in the transition. You’ll turn on the power in your legs, circulate blood flow in your hips and grow a strong core as you increase the potency of energy in your heart.
May your practice give you the internal strength and stability you need to fulfill your highest potential in your unique life, and the unwavering courage to move in the world from a place of peace and love.
Come into Horse Stance. Bring your feet 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet apart, turn your heels in and bend your knees. Keep your knees aligned with your toes. Feel the weight of your body transfer down into your shins and heels. Use this energy flow and a light engagement of your inner thighs to prevent your knees from falling to the inside or outside of your feet.
Place both hands on your thighs. You’ll keep steady contact between your hands and your thighs throughout the practice.
Exhale the breath and fold forward at your hips, lowering your spine down between your legs. Turn your right foot in and your left foot out, drawing your right hip around to face the left side of your mat.
Inhale, root strongly through your bones, and lift your spine up along the thread of that breath. Keep both hands rested on your thighs, stay firm in your right inner knee as you sink your pelvis down and draw up and back through your crown.
You’ll want to avoid collapsing the neck as you take your head back. Keep a hint of Jalandhara Bandha in your neck, drawing the chin in lightly toward your throat.
Exhale and take your torso forward over your left thigh, turn your right foot out and your left foot in and snake your spine back through center and to the right.
As you inhale, lift up through your heart, not pushing, but allowing the grounding of your legs to support that rising energy up into your chest and throat. Exhale, lower your chest to your right thigh, turn your left foot out and your right foot in and release your spine back through center.
Inhale, turn the spine to the left, and lift up. Exhale, lower your spine over your left thigh, and change the position of your feet. Inhale, turn your spine to the right, creating the shape of Virabhadrasana. Exhale, lower your spine, and change the position of your feet. Inhale to the left. Exhale to center. Inhale to the right. Exhale to center.
Inhale, lift your spine up through center and pause in Horse Stance. Bring your hands together at your heart space and stand for a few moments in your center. Internally, bow to the Divine Light within that feeds the fire of your soul and inspires your path in the world.