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The Warrior in Yoga

Most of us who practice Hatha yoga know the warriors in our asana practice; Warrior 1, 2 and 3 are the most common and practiced quite often. Also Flying Warrior and Humble Warrior. Warriors can be an essential element of the practice as we stand with strength, stability, expansion, softness and focus - combined into one meaningful moment in various forms. The warriors are empowering as they are entirely relevant to our innate capacity to be equally steadfast, courageous, determined, open, relaxed, fierce, humble and clear. When practiced on the mat - there is a sense of how much we are capable of and for many of us, it is a reminder of how powerful we can be and yet we do not let ourselves believe it once we leave the mat. In our lives where yoga is experienced rather than practiced, we tend to revert back to our programmed beliefs that we are not strong, courageous, or brave. We might not trust our passions. We sometimes leave behind our courageous expression on the mat. We forget that courage is not about becoming fearless in life but about our willingness to experience it - particularly when there is trepidation, hesitation or fear. And so we save our braver self for the mat in the safety of the studio. Yet, everything that brings forth our courageous warrior self in life is happening. The most meaningful things in life require courage ie: Loving deeply, feeling deeply, being our self, sharing our art, telling the truth, starting something new, trusting the unknown, being a true friend, being a parent and opening to the experience of life. It is also equally valuable to be humble. The humble warrior knows that the only true enemies are impatience, fear, arrogance and frustration. The humble warrior knows that the only battle is the battle within and in order to win we must lay down our sword again and again...while trusting our strong heart and focused mind.

It is said that the "Yogic path is as much about about finding serenity, reducing our stress and rejuvenating our energy as it is about uncovering our inner warrior by discovering our strength and channeling our passions and our we embody our inner strength and truth we tap into an enlightening force that conquers preconceived notions, freeing us from conditioned beliefs, false personal identities and everything else that keeps us from recognizing our true self."- Yoga Journal.

When we allow our truth to be our strength then we stand in life with willingness. Willingness to be firm in love, willingness to face our darkness, willingness to stand up for what is right, willingness stand up for injustices and willingness to accept what we do not know. Our inner warrior responds to life's challenges with deep inner feelings of wholeness, resilience, clarity and well being. When coming from this place we are well guided and can trust our warrior capacities. We do not need to resort to a quick defense, sharp tongue or blind rage and can instead trust our strong heart, clear mind and the solid ground on which we stand. We essentially tune into our true strength which is about embodying our purpose, being strong and capable in the world so that we may be empowered to what we are here to do on this journey...experience life!

By honoring that opening our heart, letting go, being clear and showing up are all warrior qualities we can perhaps own our inner warrior with gratitude. Gratitude for our innate courage that does not need to be invented or sought but that is already within us. We are born with all the courage we need for our life. Sometimes we forget this only because we stay within what we know and what we are comfortable with and no courage is required for that. But in seeing what requires courage and trusting that by channeling our passions, and fierceness into energy that we ultimately set our truth free. This is when our actions are skillful.

We embody our warrior self when we open our heart and when we show up, we show up to our experience and we open our heart to the moment. We connect to our true self because we are ultimately warriors. Warriors of peace, patience, presence, humility and truth. Our truth.

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