Saturday, 23 May 2015

Guru Mooch VI: Warrior I

Today Guru-Mooch will show us the Warrior I pose. There are three variations of the Warrior, and we'll start with the first one. 
Mooch quite likes the Warrior poses. For him, the name has a real heroic ring to it. He can really identify with the Warrior, especially after a good night, in which he uses his hunting skills to keep the place free of potential cockroach and mice infestations. That's all every well, but what he hasn't realised yet is that the name refers to the 'spiritual warrior', who bravely battles the cockroaches and mice of his/her mind. (1)

  • Start by standing straight, facing a long side of your mat; paws feet together, arms besides your body. Inhale and step, or lightly jump, the legs away from each other until your feet are a metre apart (or 3.5 to 4 feet). Take your arms straight above your head and join the palms together. Lock your elbows. 
  • Turn your left paw foot 45 to 60 degrees in and your right paw 90 degrees out. Exhale and turn your torso and hips 90 degrees to the right as well, so that it is in line with your right paw foot. (Now you are facing a short side of your mat.)
  • Your left leg should be strong with your kneecap lifted and your heel firmly on the floor. Then, on another exhale, bend your right leg to the point where your thigh is parallel with the floor, and the knee makes a nice 90 degree angle. Finally, lift the chest and tilt the head back and look up. Do not strain the throat or constrict the back of the neck though.
  • Stay here for as long as is comfortable, but if possible for at least 20 to 30 seconds and try to breathe evenly.
  • To end: straighten the knee and come up, release your arms and turn hips, chest and paws feet back to the long side of the mat. Exhale and step or lightly jump to bring your feet back together again, with your arms by the side.

(1) The cockroaches of the mind are infestations of things like worry, perceived anger and the identification with ones 'life story'. Some are quite well known, like the 'poor-pityful-me' story, or the equally popular 'look-what-they-did-to-me' story. For teenagers, there is, of  course, the script called: 'nobody-understands-me'. 
This is not being said in order to trivialise emotional pain, far from that, but to point out that the complete identification with it as 'who-you-are', keeps the pain going for much longer than necessary. 

The mice of the mind are the things we chase. Nothing wrong with a chase, as long as you enjoy it. Mooch knows all about that. He loves it, but not all day every day. 
However, it becomes a burden when one believes that as soon as I have achieved this, that and the other, then I'll finally be happy!! In a formula it would look like this: A+B+C = Happy! For example, one thinks that one will be happy as soon as one has achieved a size 8 (preferably 6), a degree, a wonderful job and a house by the ocean. Until then, happiness is not on the cards, or so this person believes.

Disclaimer: Even though I love yoga, I am not a qualified teacher. Neither am I a psychologist. I have however, done my bit of soul searching. As for cats, I don't think one needs a qualification, just a tolerance for cat hair, cat poo, and the ability to go gooey over some feline antics.....