Explore Your Inner Warrior

“One who can see action within inaction and inaction within action is the wisest among all beings.”  Krishna

“The Warrior” a title given to many brave souls who have battled for nations at war and ideologies in conflict,  feels very out-of-place in the peaceful practice of yoga.  Why, even the name conjures up visions of violence towards innocents or those who are left scarred by the battles they fought.  What place does “The Warrior” have in our practice?  And do we really have to embody the aggressiveness to express our inner warrior?

Virabhadrasana II

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II for all my sanskrit junkies) is indeed a powerful pose that can leave the body trembling and energy expended if one chooses to embody the warrior what transforms its power thru active, sometimes aggressive, energy.  Think of the action of doing.  Or better, DOING!! 

Most of us, myself included, feel we have to shape our world, conquer our day, meet the next deadline, intensify our practice, fix our relationships – all by applying force, our will.  This is a very yang approach to life.  Even us women who fully embrace our femininity are respected more in the workplace and on the streets when we show our masculine attributes.  Our world is on a steroid-induced, my will over your will high.  Where is this going to get us, but closer to our stress-induced, heart-diseased demise.

I believe that if we want to change the world we first have to start with ourselves.  As Gandhi simply stated ” Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  What better place to start the change then with yourself, on your mat?

What if we make the choice during our practice to embrace the yin, our flowing presence of being – the “peaceful warrior”.  Instead of powering thru your vinyasas, allow yourself to be swept up by the ocean waves, pulled under the surface of your mind and dance in the deep currents of your practice.  As you enter your Warrior II, root down thru the feet for stability, open the hips, inhale to straighten the spine and lift the arms, then exhale as you relax the shoulders. Find your dhristi at your fingertips.  Not a hard external focus, but a softer internal focus.   Be receptive to your energy as you allow the breath to move you in your posture.  Inhale – lift and open.  Exhale – soften and expand.  Continue to root thru the feet and rise from the crown.  A beautiful dance of being receptive to your inner state and taking action to keep you balanced.

As you embrace the peaceful warrior in all its spendor and fluidity you will find that elements of your yang warrior will keep you grounded and stable.  For in the end, to have a complete Warrior (to have a complete anything) you must embrace that which is at your essence.  And at your essence you will find the perfect balance of yin and yang.  The dance of do, be, do, be, do.  An ocean of love that invites you to surrender in order to find your strength.

From my open heart to yours,


5 responses to “Explore Your Inner Warrior

  1. Very insightful. Explaining the history and meaning represented by a pose allows me to get even more benefits from a Yoga pose – combining the mental and physical aspect of that pose into a smooth transition to strength, self-discipline, and tranquility. Thanks for taking the time to expand my appreciation of Yoga. You always take the extra step for your students.

  2. Beautiful words, Shanell. Your notion reminds me of a lesson I learned from Andrei Ram Om. He explained the difference between instinct and intuition, and how they connect to the different warriors within each of us. To paraphrase, Andrei said…

    Instinct is the link to the aggressive warrior, as it connects us with our primitive nature to survive. Intuition, on the other hand, is the link to the peaceful warrior, as it connects us to a self that is beyond desires to survive in this world alone. Know the difference between the two, and do your best to follow your intuition, whilst simultaneously respecting and appreciating your instincts. Our instincts have gotten us here. Our intuition will take us to the next level.

    Dominic (Narayan) Foti

    • Dom this is beautiful “Our instincts have gotten us here. Our intuition will take us to the next level.” Thank you both for sharing your beautiful words.

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have to say, that warrior poses are highly difficult for holding for long time and as long as you hold it, your mind become clearer and clearer, concentration power is increasing/ Just try it:)))

    Om. shanti
    Ganapati\ Konstantin , Ukraine

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