Jai!  The Spiritual Warrior                                                                                                                                                  

Gratitude Moving into Grace : Finding and Following Your Bliss

Virabhadrasana , Warrior Pose I, II and III give us a unique and wonderful opportunity to see ourselves , set our intentions and as Krishna told Arjuna in the Bhagdvad Gita ,“Whatever you do, make it an offering to me.”  Karma Yoga is the Yoga of Action and that is the path of a warrior. 

In Virabhadrasana I , forward facing warrior pose we turn to face whatever it is that we must face in order to live our lives fully and completely.  Once again remember that asana means to be seated in Self. We stand our ground but we are neither held by the past not projecting into the future.  Instead look inside and let the fire in your belly illuminate your heart and your mind reflect the glow .

"You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.” (Teilhard de Chardin)

As we move into Virabhadrasana II, we take aim. Our focus is to see the enemy for what it is, ignorance and therefore the “spiritual warrior” bravely does battle with avidya  which is the ultimate source of all our suffering not only with a sword but by letting the light shine, being both the source and the reflection.  It takes guts to open your heart and so we continue to build  strength and openness.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” (Confucius)

And remember that courage takes fear by the hand and says "Come, don't be afraid of the darkness I will light the way."   I want to once again remind us that the pose is not the point of yoga.  As we strengthen the core and calm our nervous system we create the 'ground for meditation', sitting in the deep inner silence of being where we are both the seer and the seen and from there  we aspire to be all that we can be...  Aspirations are the wings of the soul. Or as Rumi said, "The wings of a man are his aspiration and aim."  The spiritual warrior takes aim carefully and trusts saying, "Come, don't be afraid of the darkness I will light the way."




I want to once again remind us that the pose is not the point of yoga.   As we strengthen the core and calm our nervous system we create the 'ground for meditation', sitting in the deep inner silence of being  where we are both the seer and the seen and from there we aspire to be all that we can be...  Aspirations are the wings of the soul, or as Rumi said, "The wings of a man are his aspiration and aim."  The spiritual warrior takes aim carefully and lets his/her arrow fly straight from and to the heart. It takes strength and flexibility to live with an open heart, there is so much that seems to impinge and yet , Anahata is where the silent unstruck sound rests and sings a song of love eternal.  But one has to learn to  listen to hear it. Nowadays there is a lot of noise and a great emphasis on appearance so asana has become the focus of yoga. It is important but t he Pose is not the point  but rather a point of departure for the journey to self awareness .   The literal translation of Asana is to be seated.  Whatever 'pose' you are in, whatever situation your life presents you, when you are seated in Self there is gratitude.  Yet more thanjust sitting still but seated within so action moves towards grace with vision, intention and commitment we realize that the point is not where we arrive, but that our hearts sing with joy as well as easing the pain that is part of change.  Hatha yoga in addition to being a union of sun and moon is called the yoga of force.  Karma yoga is the yoga of action. Throughout it all we bow to the spirit within and celebrate life.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna was standing on a hill looking down at a valley full of enemy troops. He remained firm, focused on his objective with heart open to reveal his course and the enemy dissolved. He still had to fight the battle but there was no anger, no enemy,  only Dharma. The spiritual warrior does not wish to do battle yet stands ready should that be what is required. Strength is not a fist but as an open hand, yet sometimes a sword is necessary to cut through the veils of illusion so that we can have the courage to look and see; To sever the attachment and allow the connection to the inner guru to choose direction and then we are directed and supported in our action. With clear vision we align ourselves with spirit and in the light, the enemy dissolves.  Through our actions we are transformed time and again, living many lives in one body.  We are always connected to the eternal source but unless we realize this connection, there is a sense of separation.

“The world is an ocean of bliss, my body is  but an island.”    (Shankara)


Once again we return to the reflection, "Life is not perfect but it can be  perfectly wonderful." The more present I am with the waves of breath, the calmer the waves of the mind, the more I experience my connection then I trust and embrace all parts of the whole. Then I am never separate and apart but more then ever unique ,individual, one of a kind.  is union and in union we are touched by grace. When we listen to our breath and let it guide and sustain us, it is the soul whispering.  We have to get quiet and pay attention to hear it.  When we do, we experience grace and the events of our lives are a string of pearls on a strand of breath, every breath a prayer, an acknowledgement of the truth, Om So Ham...I AM                                                             

Finally, Virabhadrasana III is a pose which challenges us to find new balance and new perspective as to what strength is, the more we let go and stretch out , the more ease we experience in the pose.  There may come a point when firmly grounded on the fulcrum of the standing leg, we feel ourselves take flight.

I've heard it said, "we are the stories we tell ourselves."  It is certain that our life unfolds in a series of actions.  How does that relate to "Be Yoga Now"?  Recently in two private sessions ( one yoga and one singing lesson) I heard stories of limitation, "I can't , I never could, I always..." these kind of stories we tell ourselves become self- fulfilling or maybe better say, not fulfilling.  Director Shekhar Kapur in  a talk at TED suggested, "In this universe, and this existence, where we live with this duality of whether we exist or not and who are we, the stories we tell ourselves are the stories that define the potentialities of our existence... A story is the relationship that you develop between who you are, or who you potentially are, and the infinite world, and that's our mythology."  

In Yoga apparent limitations can be new margins of awareness if we can see things from a new perspective.  I once heard that very thing, that we rise up in

consciousness so that we see more of the picture so I think it is perfect that we now look at Virabhadrasana III - Warrior Balance Pose as it can also be a moment to reflect and see ourselves differently.  I've heard it called Superman (Superwoman) and it certainly has a sense of flight.

Sometimes I like to use the variation of "airplane" arms with the image of looking into a lake and seeing your reflection.  Not to get caught like Narcissus but to look deep into that reflection and in fact to see if  the story you tell about yourself is still true or was a once upon a time.

Challenge yourself.  Create a new story, a story of a hero, the warrior who accepts their limitation as a margin from which to see a new way of taking flight or whatever it is that your heart's desire is.  Remember, aspirations are the wings of the soul.  As we saw before, the importance is not always achieving what you set out to do.  I have to add that while there is strength in saying yes, there is also strength in saying no.  John Friend has a wonderful video called "The Dance of Yes and No."  He may at some times seem a bit like a motivational speaker inviting us all to a big yoga party but his principles are founded in Tantric Philosophy.  It is important to say "Yes" to life, to open to something bigger"  and to say "No" to whatever it is that tells you that you are not good enough, smart enough, perfect enough.  Enough!  It's not important that you achieve the perfect pose, you may or may not be perpendicular with your body parallel to the ground.  So what!  It's your pose, find your own balance stretching out and reaching back.  Some days, when you do it you may have a moment of perfect balance only to find that another day, it's lost.   That's life.  Our past does not necessarily have to be  a prediction of our future even as it may provide a foundation.  We can learn and change but it takes practice, will and willingness.   If it's a rough time you can tell yourself the story of how you know you have the resources and that this too shall change.

Tell yourself a new story, one full of joy and fulfillment.  Be the hero or the heroine in your own life.  Celebrate in joy, finding your bliss in the moment, in everyday, in everything you do by sharing all of you.

“There is an inmost centre in us all where truth abides in fullness;   to know  consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape."     (Robert Browning)

Om Namaste, I bow to the light in the centre of your being that light that illuminates the world.  JAI!

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