We all have different ideas of what a warrior means to us.
First we may think of a warrior as a soldier, combatant and fighter, defending themselves, their loved ones, their country or religion and what is important to them. Perhaps a warrior is one who stays strong and calm under the most chaotic situations; a trooper.
My recent partner was a warrior. He served in the military with tours to Afghanistan and around the world—conducting VIP rescues, carrying big guns, jumping out of Hercules airplanes as a paratrooper. He’d be the first one to throw a guy across the bar for calling me a “bitch”. He’ll say what needs to be said, whether it’s “I’m sorry,” “I love you” or calling me on my bullshit-attitude or behavior.
My four kids are warriors. Representing what is right in a world of wrong. Listening to their deepest intuition and standing up for their dreams and what they believe in, being a great friend, having manners—because it’s the correct thing to do. Like handing bags of empties to people in the alley collecting bottles. Not assuming they’re homeless, but just equal as human beings, as no person should have to crawl into a dumpster to eat.
My friends and family are warriors. They permanently have my back, ready to protect me, yet constantly willing to spit the truth when stinging words need to be spoken. When I’m not acting in my best interest, they soothe with soft words or support with strength and well-needed advice.
The impression of commemorating the warrior is a scope and breadth of ideas, thoughts and feelings.
We pin a poppy on the left chest over our heart in Canada. We observe public holidays (pop-your-collar-day with a New Zealand accent) around the world. We build and tear down walls in unity, separation and community in remembrance of whom and what’s important.
As a martial artist, I was taught fighting is the last resort. But when you brawl, knock ‘em dead with skill, precision and speed; which did not land well with peace officers trying to grab hold of my slippery chicken arms when I was an activist.
“Oops! Just doin’ what I was trained to do,” she said with sheepish grin.
In yoga, I practice warrior postures. In first warrior, my focus is up, while my body’s straight and square to what’s before me when my feet are turned in opposite directions.
Second warrior is about softening shoulders, reaching, extending my energy through my fingertips from left to right connecting as they wrap around the planet. All while maintaining a strong core (uddiyana bandha energy locks support my belly, equivalent to the dan tien of tai chi, translating to life-force).
I’m opening in all directions.
Third warrior is a balancing act, floating my second leg to the sky strengthening my other leg supporting me, bringing all intention and energy inward at the same time expanding through my fingers and toes. My arms lengthen in Superman fashion, flying and free.
In goddess, or reverse warrior, I hold a victory squat, my divine weapons in hand to use discriminately.
In peaceful warrior I throw away my sword in triumph.
I am a warrior.
I’ve survived near death experiences, heartbreaks, childbirth, betrayals, debt, bankruptcy, injury, rejection, neglect, abandonment and an endless list of woes.
The flipside is also congruent to the warrior, which is success. I’ve been blessed with abundance, wealth, health, love, life, gifts and talents from the universe which balance out the hard times. To me, honouring the spiritual warrior signifies endurance through anything with fierce determination, steadiness, flexibility, openness and strength.
Softness and surrender in letting go.
A warrior represents ahimsa, not celebrating violence towards others, but thorough our bravest battles, contrary to our ego, illusions (maya) and ignorance (avidya). We practice in truth (satya) and justice.
Balance and equilibrium are not the answer. We swing from one pendulum to the other. This is the ebb and flow of life. Yin and yang. Masculine and feminine. Life and death. And all the honey mustard that lands between. We ride the tide.
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Asst. Ed: Amy Cushing/Ed: Sara Crolick