Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Every single time I think about a warrior, my mind goes straight to the medieval period when the Greek and Roman empires were fighting for their sovereignty which they eventually lost during the Dark ages ( but that's not the point). The point is the battle, the wars, most important of all-the warrior. In Sparta, a warrior was not merely trained -oh no, on the contrary! From birth he was groomed, trained and moulded into what he was born to do. His entire life would build up to a moment in the battle field when the horses charged towards the enemy, ground shaking, adrenaline pumping, the metallic clash of the swords as they parried one another and blood splattering everywhere! What a paradox their life was, they were born to die. Is it just me who pictured this scene in slow motion with classical music building to a crescendo making it ten times more intense? C'mon, I know I'm not the only one.
This yoga pose right here is called Virabhadrasana, the warrior pose. It may seem very elegant and just any other stretching pose but I get it now. There are three variations to it and this is the first one and according to me-the easiest. So many factors come into play with this one- specifically endurance and patience. To get the perfect form, one foot has to sit at an angle of 90 degrees while the other as straight as an arrow. As you sweep your hands to point up to the sky, you feel your whole body elongate and this, my friends, is where it starts to burn. Usually, I feel my thighs burn like crazy (endurance). Taking deep breathes help distract you from the pain but it quickly goes away once you switch into a different position (patience).
Warrior pose 2. This one is just like the first one, the only difference is your arms are parallel to the ground. For me, this just adds a new sensation to a different part of my body- the arms. It is funny because I tend to forget, or rather, get used to the burn on my thighs when my focus shifts to my arms (resilience). Again, I have to wait it out by taking deep breathes and move on to the next one (patience).
Warrior pose 3 is the one I love to hate but always strive to attempt and maybe nail every single time. From the looks of things, I am far from nailing it and that is fine. What matters here is that I put myself out there and challenge myself. This calls for firm footing; if your standing foot is not grounded you will not pull it out. Finding the balance will not come instantly. You have to gauge it, fix your footing, and tweak your posture here and there before taking the plunge. And still you cannot be guaranteed that you will ace it. Somehow, you find just the right moment and the magic happens for a few seconds.
BrE /ˈiːkəʊ wɒriə(r)
a person who actively tries to prevent damage to the environment
Yoga is one of the few physical exercises that I love to do-probably the only one. When I was thinking about how I would like to explain to people what being an Eco-warrior meant, I knew it had to be using the warrior poses because of the similarities they both had. To me, being an Eco-warrior is not a linear experience with an end-game or one that started at a specific moment. I cannot tell you the exact second it started for me. As Boris Pasternak described it "...like the rustling of the forest, it is begotten God knows where, and it grows and it rolls, arousing the dense wilds of the forest until suddenly...it begins to speak with all the treetops at once..."(Gilbert, 2015). All I can tell you is that when you get this strong urge to do something that scares the living daylights out of you, by all means drop everything you are doing and ran after it, clutch onto it and go with the flow. I am forever learning what this stance really means to me, my community around me, my world etc. I have to endure harsh lessons that I have already encountered on this journey that will mould me. I have to have the patience to take each day at a time, learning curve by learning curve. Resilience is something I must carry along with me, like a torch that will shed light when I get to those dark meandering paths. I must first have firm footing in order to ground myself if I am to find my balance. I acknowledge that I will lose this balance from time to time, but isn't that the whole point?
After all is said and done, I am just like the Spartan warrior. Only difference is I live in the Holocene era. This is where nature's crescendo has built up to, I am dancing with the swords of climate change and I want to make it out alive.
-This post draws inspiration from Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the international bestseller EAT PRAY LOVE)