MYndful Musings | 30th November 2020
The Warrior Within.
“The yogi does not do his/her practices to be passive like a monk; a yogi wants to cultivate his/her Siddhi or personal power.. to be a warrior“
For the past 6 weeks I have been deeply immersed in a 10 week teaching Mentorship with the Katonah Yoga school. What I really love about this method is the fact the material can we woven into any style of class; some of you may have even picked up on the little parts I started dropping into my classes in the few weeks before the 2nd lockdown.
It’s a journey
When they first begin, many people when asked ‘why do you practice yoga?’ might at first give you an answer like ‘to become more flexible’, then after a year or 2 of regular practice they might say ‘it makes me feel really good’ or maybe ‘it helps me cope with things better.’
Those of us who practice as a lifestyle and have done for a number of years will recognise that we do these practices in order to become more powerful. Not in an outward way, not with an intention of yielding this power onto others, but to be empowered within our own life.
Toltec wisdom speaks of the Warrior spirit, and the qualities of the warrior are self-awareness and self-control. This is the path of the yogi.
The Katonah Yoga material draws on wisdom from many ancient methods but ultimately gives us a practical yet magical toolkit to navigate your own terrain (terrain meaning body, mind & heart/spirit as this is all interconnected and cannot be separated). Taoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine are utilised to integrate the seasons, nature and the way that we live amongst it. I am a firm believer that we humans need, desperately, to find a way to reconnect and live in harmony with the planet and I find these teachings a great practical way to start to do that.
The magic square is a map, maps are a very practical way to navigate space. To make a journey more efficient. And in this instance you are the space, the terrain to be navigated and the journey is bringing yourself back to a place of lightness or joy. The magic comes in when we are asked to use imagination and metaphor within that map.. and it is my opinion that we could all do with finding a little magic inside us.
(This is a very basic illustration- the magic is in the detail. This will come with the practice)
In our yoga practice we use the breath as a powerful tool to become embodied, that is to unite mind and body and to integrate both in action. So when we work with our body, our mind and our breath in a yoga practice and learn to manipulate it to our advantage at any given time we become more powerful, and more embodied. Sounds pretty good right?
So the magic square is another tool to add to our toolkit, a way to make sure our awareness is ‘going everywhere’ and mediating all the different aspects of ourselves to become more orientated and organised. Just like you would organise a desk so that you can get all your work done efficiently.
Our physical practice is like origami. A way to ‘UP our function’. To make sure we know how to fit and organise ourselves in the body, so that we are more functional and can experience more joy in our body. And ultimately be able to use the body better in this life.
The body is tangible, the breath is subtle.. and the energy (prana, chi, spirit, space dust) is even more subtle, intangible to most. So when we practice we hone these skills & train our warrior (our self awareness and self control) so that we can experience more of these subtle things. As we get better at using our tools, and add more detail to our map, the possibilities expand.
I’m really excited to integrate the magic square as an embodiment meditation/practice and share it with you guys. It’s something which is accessible to absolutely everybody and can be done (with practice) quickly, anytime, anywhere. Many of you ask about meditation, and many of you have also said that you struggle with it. I think that this is such a practical method, it gives you something to ‘do’.. and in an age of overthinking and distraction this is so useful.