I’ve been talking a lot in classes about how the nervous system must be cared for and restored, especially now.
We are stressed, anxious and don’t know what is happening next.
It’s terrifying but also liberating not be able to plan. Who knows what the future will be? Guess what, this is how it always is we just like to feel we have more control. Now we are witnessing reality; the reality of uncertainty.
It’s time to be a warrior. “A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. …We can never avoid uncertainty. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.” Pema Chodron. Pema lists the tools of the warrior as meditation, tonglen, cultivating the four limitless qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.33 mentions the same qualities to combat the obstacles to the yogi’s path. “Through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy, and indifference to pleasure and pain, virtue and vice respectively, the consciousness becomes favorably disposed, serene and benevolent.”
I had a teacher once say that a warrior, a true warrior never goes to battle. They are graceful, diplomatic, courageous, non-reactive and even one might say serene. That really stuck with me.
Now, is the time to cultivate your inner warrior. To face the fear and see the adventure. A practice that might be harder for some than others. But what a wonderful time to work on this. So, by using the tools of a warrior you can forge a new inner world that is serene in the unknown events of the outer world.
Now is the time. The yoga sutras begin with atha yoga anusasanam which translates with prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of sacred art of yoga.
Atha means now. Now, begins the practice of yoga, not tomorrow, now. There is an urgency to this as well as a call for focus and discipline. Now, that you are ready to seek and learn to live a more healthy and peaceful life, the teaching begins. When you have the curiosity, the thirst for answers that come with practice, you are ready.
What are you appreciating about this time in quarantine or isolation? What are you re-discovering or rekindling? Can you be a warrior for that to be your new normal?
Practice support I love this.
“Extension is attention and expansion is awareness. Extension and expansion bring space, and space brings freedom. Freedom is precision and precision is divine. From freedom of the body comes freedom of the mind and then the Ultimate Freedom. The Ultimate Freedom that yoga works toward can be tasted in our own body…” BKS Iyengar
BKS Iyengar says that even if your body is stiff you must bring space. And he also tells us that this extending works on the nerves and releases the tension and stress on the nervous system so it doesn’t accumulate and become disease. This is so important right now.
So, let’s combine these two ideas of being a warrior and creating space.
The following practice asks you to reflect. There are basic instructions on shape. Do the actions that you remember from classes.
Stand in Tadasana
Extend your arms to Urdvha Hastasana
Are your arms creating maximum extension in your trunk?
Tadasana- observe the difference now.
Repeat this 10 times. Quickly.
Tadasana- Observe- the body, the mind, the breath,
Vimanasana- Jump your legs apart, extend your arms, turn to your right, bend your right leg to 90degrees.
Are your arms still extending to their maximum?
Is your chest broad and lifted?
Repeat left side.
Return to Tadasana. Observe.
Urdvha Hastasana. Turn to your right. Bend your right leg. Stay. Breathe. Then re-extend your arms fully to their maximum.
Is your trunk fully extended?
What is the quality of your eyes? Can you soften them? What changes?
Is the work being done evenly by both legs?
What happens you balance the effort in the two legs? to the pelvic, the trunk, the eyes, the brain?
What is the breath like?
Repeat on the left side.
A warrior is meditative, compassionate, kind, courageous. Cultivate these qualities in the pose. Allow the pose to cultivate these qualities in you.
Lift your eyes up. And notice how that changes the pose and your condition.
Look forward and what does the future look like?
Return to tadasana. Observe your pose. Your body, mind and breath