Hi there! It's beetee. The winter persists here in the northern region of Japan where I am writing to you, though in some other parts, spring is slowly creeping into the air. The season is changing again as March approaches, but February this year is remarkable by not only its palindrome on 22-02-2022 at 20:22:20 (when the date reads the same from left to right and from right to left), but also its ambigram on the same date (when it reads the same downside up and upside down)!
Enough confusion. This week's quick dive: Warrior 2, Satya (Truthfulness) and What We Think, We Become. Hopefully what follows won't be as much confusing😵💫
Yoga Pose of The Week: Virabhadrasana Warrior 2
We remain warriors this week, and always!
Last week we talked about Warrior 1 and the concept of 'Square the Hips', which implies a hip internal rotation. If you forgot what hip internal rotation means, feel free to go back to Yoga Quick Dive #4 on the body's six anatomical positions.
In contrast to Warrior 1, in Warrior 2, we actively 'open the hips' into an external rotation. This position gives a juicy stretch of the groins and hips, especially the front leg's inner thighs. The arms are extended parallel to the floor, effectively opening your chest and lungs.
I personally think Warrior 2 is quite a challenging pose that I wouldn’t teach on your first five yoga classes. It requires a good amount of body awareness and engagement to come to a full expression of the pose without creating injuries to your hips and back knee, which is easily twisted if your hips are not open enough. Before trying Warrior 2, I would take time warm up the hips with knee circling either in a standing position or on all fours, chair pose for activation of the quads, butterfly pose for hip external rotation, and lunges for glute activation. We can also ease into the pose with modifications, by reducing the distance between the legs, placing a chair under the front thigh, or lowering the back knee on the floor. Not sure how to do exactly? Practice with me!
Now, why is it called Warrior again? If you don't believe me that this pose embodies a warrior's spirit, try holding it for 5 minutes. You'll definitely understand what I mean.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga - Satya
The Eight Limbs of Yoga continues this week with Satya - Truthfulness - one of the Yama. The yogi in his or her life conduct should think thoughts of truth, speak words of truth and carry actions of truth. When such a person speaks he will be heard with respect and attention. His words will be remembered, for they will be good and true. After all, honest communication and living a life of integrity are the foundations for all of our relationships: with ourselves, with others, and with society as a whole.
We all say untrue things at some point in our life, whether it is with good or bad intention. Do you remember the last time you had to pretend or give an excuse that is different from reality? Then how you have to carry on with it, pretending that it was true, trying to remember every details of it, every time you talk about it with the person you're lying to, in order to keep it consistent and avoid revelation? It's tiring, isn't it? Owning up to the truth could mean great freedom and heavy weight off your shoulders. The truth sets us free (except for when you play the Bullshit card game). The Yoga Sutras also advise that if being honest in a particular moment is likely to cause harm to another, then it is best not to say or do anything at all….
Sanskrit is a vibrational language and so each word is so much more than a label – it literally holds the very essence of the word. The word ‘sat’ literally translates as ‘true essence’ or ‘true nature’. But 'sat’ also holds the meanings of ‘unchangeable’, ‘that which has no distortion’, ‘that which exists', 'that which is beyond distinctions of time, space and person’, and ‘reality’. There is a truth in each of us that holds constant regardless of our mental fluctuations. And that means there's a big difference between who we think we are sometimes (the ego), and who we really are (the atman).
Read more on the Yama of the Eight Limbs of Yoga:
Anything above the Earth and below the Sun is Life. Hopefully something useful to you, or at least something that will bring a smile to your face. 😊
What We Think, We Become
As we learn about Satya and the truthfulness that originates inside our mind, I thought I recite the saying below by Margaret Thatcher, impersonated by Meryl Streep in the film "The Iron Lady", about what your thoughts lead to. (Margaret Thatcher was probably not the author of this saying, it could have been the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu or the Indian hero Mahatma Gandhi, but the first time I heard it was in The Iron Lady movie - watch it here).
If you practice any form of mental mindfulness or meditation where you sit still to observe your thoughts, I invite you to reflect on this and how true it is for you. Observe each thought that comes to your mind, let them come, take note, let them go. Awareness is the starting point of all healing processes. Overtime, you'll get a sense of control, allowing which thoughts to happen inside your beautiful mind, and which thoughts to let go of.
Thanks for reading! But don't leave just yet!
Ask me TWO questions or leave me TWO comments below. I'd love to hear from you.
Until then, take a deep breath and keep your worries away!
Yoga Quick Dive is a series of bimonthly newsletters that should take no more than 5 minutes of your reading time. Let's deep dive quickly into 3 topics: Body, Mind and Life.