Warrior I, Warrior II, Revere Warrior, Warrior III. These poses represent some of the most challenging poses of yoga. They make our legs tremble and shake. They make our muscles burn. They try our balance. But I believe that there is more to the difficulty of the Warrior poses. Each of these poses challenges our mental toughness. They test our mental focus. They may even distract us from our breath. But part of the beauty of yoga is that we improve daily. So let us try to understand the difficulties of a good Warrior in order to begin that process of growth.
The Frustrations of my Inner Warrior
There are days that I feel my hips will just never be square in Warrior I. I obsess over my hips in Warrior I. I search for some trick that will finally make it all click. And while I have made HUGE progress in my Warrior I over the past year or so, the frustration the pose causes me is counterproductive to my yoga practice. My critical dialog with myself is serving no one. Not me, because it is distracting me from my mental yoga practice. And not for my fellow yogis, because it takes away from the positive energy that I like to believe all yogis share.
We need to learn to accept the poses that present such challenges and LOVE them! They remind us what yoga is about: growth, acceptance and strength. Every time I rise into Warrior I, I should be grateful that I have a new opportunity to grow. My thoughts should be of joy, rather than frustration. Learning to adjust our perspectives can be a beautiful thing.
Warrior Pose is a Journey, not a Destination
The Warrior pose family is not one known for the “final product” of the pose. My Warrior poses are taking a long time to develop into the Warrior poses that I am aiming for. They are not poses where progress is fast or easy. They require constant focus to remember everything your body should be doing. Working your hips toward the front of the room, tracking your front knee to the pinky-toe side of the foot, and the like.
For me, this presents a great opportunity to practice mental yoga. Focusing on these aspects of the poses forces you to stay in the present moment. To be where you are and really feel the pose. To breathe.
Everyone has a Different Challenge Pose
For me, it’s Warrior I. For you, it might be a different Warrior pose, or Pigeon pose, or Bow pose. It doesn’t matter what the pose is. What matters is that we can learn to embrace the poses that challenge us for the good of our yoga practice.
Which yoga poses challenge you?!?