Write with honesty and ‘write what you struggle to know and understand. Everyone in the class struggled with pulling their experiences up and out, putting them to paper and sharing them with others”. Writing is ‘transformative’ therapy for Seattle-area veterans haunted by their experience
About that Yoga thing: those of you who have been reading and attending my classes the past month know that I returned to the Bhagavad-Gita in order to begin again in my practice of offering yoga classes. This is what I struggle to understand: Why another Warrior 2?
The translation I prefer begins with our protagonist, the Warrior Hero Prince Arjuna, desperate to understand, too. In Chapter One: “The Distress of Arjuna”, Arjuna asks Krishna, his friend, mentor, and creator incarnate of the universe, why fight? What good is it going to do? How could Arjuna doing what is expected of him be of benefit? It’s only going to cause everyone a lot of suffering, as he imagines the battle and aftermath.
Every Friday, as I write out my weekly class plans, over and over again I struggle with why are we doing warrior poses? Why do one or two or three? Is it just because Krishnamacharya taught it to Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, Desikachar, Srivatsa Ramaswami, A.G. Mohan and Indra Devi, who then passed it on to us Westerners? Is it my own conscience that tells me, “if there isn’t a ‘yoga pose’, they will think this isn’t a ‘yoga class’ and go somewhere else?” Or, is that the party line politics and marketing of American Postural Yoga messaging me?
“Arjuna contemplates what it means to stand on the field of Dharma and ancestry and his own conscience at the brink of what will most certainly be fight to the death. Arjuna has never shrunk from a battle, has an unquestioning capacity to take the lead. What value will his actions have long after he is gone?” – Douglas Brooks, CC 102, History of Yoga, Lecture Nine
I’ve been teaching yoga for 10 years now, practicing asana for 18. I can say with honesty that my own Virabhadrasana Dwi- Warrior 2 has been very different day to day, year to year. As I have learned more about my own physiology and grown into introspection and interoception, I find Vira 2 sometimes monotonous, sometimes eye-opening. Lately I’ve noticed that if I do six sets of 15 reps or 30 second holds each side, (yes, that’s 90 Virasana 2 repetitions, yes, it’s a bit of a battle), about the 75th, it gets VERY interesting: everything engages. I find out what I wanted from the practice, and the last few are to see what I can do with what I find.
I wrestle with thoughts of leading you through a yoga practice like this. I don’t know if you too would be interested in experiencing the process, in investigating how it becomes a whole being practice, or if you would give me dirty looks, complain and ultimately quit.
The Bhagavad-Gita offers three principal strategies for the practice of yoga- loving devotion (bhakti) knowledge (jnAna) and action (karma).
You will let me know, I'm sure, through your actions whether another Virabhadrasana 2 is devotion to, knowledge of or the action of Yoga for you.