Over this past weekend I gave a lot of thought about what it means to be a warrior. I went to a panel discussion with Cultivate Union, a local non-profit that aims to grow the impact of yoga and meditation on the community. The discussion was about yoga and money. Anything involving money is a complicated subject.
On the panel sat 4 strong, amazing women that have created their own businesses in the health and wellness community. Despite all of them coming from different backgrounds with a range of experience, they all fell in love with yoga and felt the need to share it with others, much like myself. The entire event was wonderful, full of words of wisdom, but there was one thing that I really needed to hear. And that’s the struggle. Even where they all are now, there are ebbs and flows, some days better than others. I have been teaching full time for about 2 1/2 years now and I admit to having a lot of ups and downs. Most of the time I feel on top of the world at the thought that I make money doing something I love. But sometimes I start freaking out and question if I’ll ever be able to afford to move or, more pressing (but less often), will I be able to get both gas and groceries before my next paycheck.
It was refreshing and comforting knowing that I’m not the only one that experiences moments of joy and fear because of my chosen profession. But I do it because I love it, it’s important, and I feel like I’m actually pretty good at it. And that’s why I kept thinking about warriors. The women that sat in front of me were prime examples. Despite their relationship with money, they continued to do the work because the work needed to be done. When I looked up the definition of “warrior,” I got:
a person engaged in some struggle or conflict
a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness
That is my life some days. I face internal conflict, but I get up, I roll out my mat, and do this thing called yoga. I have never regretted this path and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
How does this fit in with Virabhdrasana III? Well, of course, it is one of the warrior poses in yoga. But specifically, for me, it is a struggle. Iyengar says you attain “harmony, balance, poise, and power” when practicing this pose. I admit that Vira III is one of the poses I desperately want to avoid. But as I previously wrote about, I know I’m not doing any favors to myself by doing so. I won’t say I feel harmony when practicing, but every once in a while, when I fight through the discomfort and keep going, I can feel that inkling of power.
There are multiple ways to get into this pose, including from Vira I, which Iyengar demonstrates in Light on Yoga, but for today, start from Tadasana.
- Stand in Tadasana.
- Reach your arms past your ears. If difficult, keep your arms by your side or out wide.
- Step forward onto your right foot.
- Tone your core. As you reach through your arms, begin to hinge from your hips and lift your left leg up.
- Bring your torso and left leg parallel to the floor. Knit your ribs together and pull your belly and ribs away from the floor.
- Draw your right hip back. Keep your hips square.
- Hold. (Iyengar says 20 to 30 seconds. Bit wishful thinking for me, so I aim for 3 full breaths).
- Lower your left leg down. Lower your arms. Return to Tadasana.
- Repeat on the left side.
If you try this out, please let me know how it goes. As always, if you take a photo and upload it to social media, tag me! I love to see your practices 🙂