Be a warrior not a worrier
Yoga is a proven science of soothing the body and particularly the mind. Almost all studies done on Yoga have one thing in common. The people in the study felt better within themselves for taking up the practice of Yoga.
Yoga helped me deal with anxiety and a deep spell of depression. 10 years ago I went to my first class and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since. I fell in love with how it made me feel. This is how Yoga works. It takes us out of thinking mind and into feeling mind. The head can be full of junk thoughts, non beneficial thoughts or just plain old boring and repetitive thoughts. It can also time travel, dwelling on the past one minute then shooting off into fantasies of the future. Where we are in present time is usually a perfectly safe and pleasant place to be. If only we had our thoughts in awareness of the gifts available to us in this present moment, we’d be less likely to be caught up in the drama the mind can create for us.
Feeling mind is our heart mind. We have around 40 thousand neurons in our heart so you could say we really do have a heart mind. With deep and steady breathing and body awareness within the poses, Yoga brings this glow of presence. If we’ve rolled out our mat and are doing our practice we are in safe space. Whether it’s 5, 10, 60 or 90 minutes of practice. You have bathed yourself in breath, the food of the heart.
To come out of ‘thinking mind’ and enter ‘feeling mind’ here are a couple of poses to channel your inner warrior.
Stand with feet one of your own legs distance apart.
Right foot pointing forward, knee bent and over the ankle not the toes. Left foot out at a comfortable angle and toes slightly facing the front of your mat.
Raise both arms to the heavens. Breathe the deepest breath you’ve ever breathed. Feel space being created in your upper body. Take advantage of the fact the arms are raised and you can breathe freely into the lungs.
Hips face the front of your mat as much as comfortable and slide your right thigh bone back into the hip socket without pulling the hip back.
Feel the strength in your legs carry you. Feel the power in your core and let this core fire glow a little brighter with every exhale. After 5-10 breaths you should be feeling that strong inner warrior. Go straight into warrior 2 or take a little rest and do the other side. Whatever you choose feel great!
Again stand with feet one of your own legs distance apart. Bend the right knee so it’s tracking over the middle toe. Sometimes it tries to creep in. Keep it moving towards the baby toe if this happens to you.
Back leg is straight and out at a slight angle with toes turned in slightly.
Radiate your arms out in line with the legs hips open to the left. My palms are up (receiving warrior) in the picture. You can have them down if you prefer. Maybe try both and see which one your shoulders prefer.
Soften your shoulder blades down the back and simultaneously earth your floating ribs down and in towards the abdomen. Plugging your heart energy (anahata) into the power source at the solar plexus (manipura, see article on chakras for more on this).
Take up some room and own your space! Feel the power within your own body carry you. You are strong. Feel that strength and breathe deeply from a place of inner knowing. Stay here for 5-10 breaths then take Shavasana for at least 2 minutes or continue your practice.
Benefits of warrior 1 and 2
– Strengthens your shoulders, arms, thighs, ankles and the muscles of your back.
– Creates space in your chest, lungs and shoulders.
– Stretches and strengthens your hip flexors, abdomen, and ankles.
– Improves your balance and core awareness.
– Soothing of sciatica and back pain during pregnancy.
Photo Credits: Natalie J Watts