I would hazard to guess that even if you have never stepped foot on a yoga mat, you have heard of the infamous Warrior Pose. Why, when literally hundreds of postures exist in the vocabulary (not to mention different expressions and variations), is this particular one so iconic? Why has it become the poster child for yoga?
Many asana (postures) are named after animals or sages but Virabhadrasana is named for a human entity – the warrior. It is my theory that the reason Warrior Pose is so memorable is because we can immediately identify it with human expression. Depending on which variation of the posture you explore, you can actually “wear it” and try on the qualities you aspire to possess. Depending on how the feet stand or how the limbs and trunk extend into space, this posture can express compassion, peace, calm readiness, brave strength, or even devotion.
Warriors depicted in films and video games often have a tough edge. Hollywood arms their warriors with weapons and roundhouse kicks to battle their enemies. Corporate road warriors, mythological warriors, warrior gangs, or night warriors: we accept that they have a fierce, killer sensibility.
Yoga warriors are equally strong and brave, but they also practice ahimsa (non-harming of the self and others). They take risks and are fearless both on and off the mat. They differ dramatically from their pop-culture counterparts in that they possess compassionate hearts. Warriors practice gentleness and perform acts of loving-kindness along their journeys.
2012 seems to have inspired many of my friends and family to find their warrior selves. Some are going on adventures, moving to new cities, or even rekindling the possibility of achieving childhood dreams. I have personally realized an inner strength and truth about myself I did not know existed but can now clearly see was always there.
Are you in touch with your inner Warrior?
Join me and our Mind Body Dancer® teachers in open classes during the month of May as we encourage our students to explore what it means to be a warrior on and off the yoga mat.