Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Warrior 2 - Distinguished Hero
When we do any of Warrior poses, we are attempting to embody the inner qualities of the revered warrior archetype. Some of these warrior qualities are empowerment, courage, clarity, and non-attachment.
Standing Your Ground
Finding our inner power (em-powerment) is an essential yoga aspect cultivated in the warrior poses. We can discover this palpably by learning to “stand our ground” – physically connecting to the earth’s foundation beneath us.
Beyond the physical aspects, standing our ground cultivates presence; being here, present in this moment and in this body and breathing life into all experience. A Warrior must, at all times, be present, ready for anything that may arise. When we are truly grounded, we are in that present moment, at one with whatever is happening. We are honest with what we observe, and make adjustments, whether in the position of the feet in Virabhadrasana II or in how to discuss something emotionally intense with someone.
Own Your Power
Standing our ground with presence leads to “owning” – experiencing and knowing – our power. This is our inner strength and potential. The presence to “own” our power comes from an inner recognition of ourselves, and not from what others say about who we are, nor what we think they believe about us.
Summon Your Courage
Courage, a second quality of the Warrior, helps us to access our inner empowerment. Many poses, including warrior poses, require us to summon some courage and take a leap into unknown territory. When we allow ourselves to step into these new experiences, we expand our inner sense of what is possible in life. Courage helps us to build our empowerment. We realize we’re capable of doing much more than we have previously believed. We learn to trust in ourselves.
To develop that sense of courage, we realize the necessity of clarity, the third quality of the warrior. Clarity combines the practice of presence with focus. Your mind must be both single-pointed and present.
If we allow the mind to become distracted or dismayed by the challenges that life places in our path along the way to our goals, we may find ourselves miles down a road we never intended to travel. Keeping our eyes on the road, following the map, and watching our steps are the equivalent of staying engaged with our breath, remaining peaceful within, and conscious of the muscular actions in the yoga asanas. These are all manifestations of the quality of mental clarity. When we are clear in the mind, we find our center; our place of balance and steadiness.
Our center is our inner nature - our connection to Spirit. It is that part of the self that remains ever-steady through the ups and downs of our life.
When our mind is clear and we remember our true nature, it is easier to stand our ground and not fall prey to what “everyone else is doing” or what appears powerful on the outside, whether in yoga class, at work, or on the street. The knowledge of our true self keeps us in inner balance, centered on what is lasting and ultimately meaningful – “solid” ground – rather than on things that are transient and impermanent.
The final quality of the warrior is non-attachment. When we come to a place of mental clarity, we see that action itself is meaningful and powerful, not results. Non-attachment is freedom. When we don’t have expectations, we are free to enjoy everything for exactly what it is and we can accept ourselves just as we are. Non-attachment allows us to maintain that evenness of mind; our inner steadiness. When we have that, the fluctuations of happiness, sadness, pride, and disappointment completely disappear, and we feel our true unchanging nature.
The Inner Battle
This is where the Warrior is fighting the real battle within ourselves over the distractions of the body, our emotions, and our thoughts. Sometimes we think it’s “out there,” that the world is doing “it” to us, whatever our “it” may be. But the truth is our battle is going on inside of us and is fought in how we choose to respond to the world.
The Warrior “wins” the battle when he/she realizes that it’s not really a battle at all, for when we’re truly in our power - with the courage to open our eyes, sharpen our clarity of mind, and embrace non- attachment - there is nothing left to fight within, there is only understanding.
When we understand ourselves and one another, we have no need to fight. We see that the battle is created by how our minds perceive the world. Wars are fought by people only perceiving differences, unable to see the deeper inner truth of our oneness.
You can recognize a true Warrior. They shine from within. They don’t have to do anything to prove their power or their worth. They simply are.
The next time you practice any of the Warrior poses, reach your arms and legs from your inner power. Feel your courage; the confidence to explore anything. Develop inner clarity and peace, and be unattached to the outcome of all your efforts. Soon, you may find yourself shining from within, as well.