Warriors come out to play
At first sight you might think that yoga is all about silky softness and infinite kindness. TRUE THAT. But, just as much as that, yoga is about strength, confidence, determination, and FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT. As well as consistency and devotion in what you are doing to be successful.
Besides the physical part, the heart and mind play an important role in succeeding as a fighter. Mental strength and focus of the mind, plus the willpower and passion in your heart, will make the difference between participating or winning. Planting the seed of your goal into your heart is key. Only then you'll start to feel it grow, and ultimately, you will be nothing but LIVING IT yourself. To keep on feeling your goal, you will need to tune into the right energy, and to maintain the focus on it. A yoga practice in which you are doing some actual postures, works like an active meditation. If you consistently do this, it's super powerful, and can shift your energy from being slow or all over the place, into being directed onto the things that need your focus and power. It's that awesome energy of a WARRIOR!!
What yoga postures to practice to tune into this Warrior Energy?
The yoga postures that fall into that category of POWER, STRENGTH and FOCUS are definitely the postures called WARRIORS. In a second I will tell you more about Warrior 1, Warrior 2, and Warrior 3.
What could these postures possibly teach us? Let’s look at all 3 of them, and I’m sure you won't regret adding these to your fighting prep routine!! To be practical, I divided each by its physical and mental benefits.
Physical benefits of Warrior 1:
Inner thigh and quadricep strength, abdominal and back muscle strength, range of motion in the shoulders, stretching of the psoas muscle and groin area for open and flexible hips.
Mental benefits of Warrior 1:
The posture, especially if you hold it for longer, becomes heavy on the body. It requires will power to hold on to it for a set amount of time. You'll be challenged to keep every muscle active, even though the burning starts in your legs and arms. This means you'll be working on mental strength and determination.
To hold on to Warrior 1 you need great concentration and focus. There are many actions going on in the body that even seem to be contradicted at first sight: strong heavy feet and legs vs. lightweight core and arms, outwards rotated back leg vs. hips that face the front. To stay steady in warrior 1, you'll need to pay attention to all of that. External distraction will make it hard for you to maintain in the posture, meaning this pose definitely helps you build better focus/concentration.
Physical benefits of Warrior 2:
Inner thigh and quadricep strength, obliques/abs/back muscle strength, stretching of the psoas muscle and groin area for open and flexible hips, balance, shoulder strength, stimulation of the organs to get rid of toxins.
Mental benefits of Warrior 2:
This pose is the perfect example of a pose that teaches you how to find balance between working with full engagement, while staying totally cool at the same time. Warrior 2 requires the whole body to involve, from crown to fingers and toes. As you can see in the photo, the alignment of the body is kind of complex. In other words: lots of difficulties going on. This pose will teach you the habit of facing problems with consideration and calmness rather than with impatience or negativity.
Also you can see in the photo you are looking forwards. This is a metaphor for clear vision, looking ahead with faith in yourself and the situation.
Physical benefits of Warrior 3:
Leg and foot strength, gluteus strength, training your balance with abdominal control.
Mental benefits of Warrior 3:
Balance. Like in the other postures, also in Warrior 3 there are a lot of actions going on at the same time. The challenge here is to balance them out with patience and find your posture by adding or removing weight and strength. Practicing physical balance is the perfect way to work on mental balance.
Also, Warrior 3 is one of those poses that helps you to get familiar with the power you hold into your own physical body, and the mental power to control that.
Now you know why to do these 3 postures and why the name Warrior fits them! Practicing them is a process by itself, putting pressure on yourself won't do you any good. Just try them out, and make sure to leave some space for improvement. Set realistic goals in terms of how long you want to hold the postures and how often you will practice. Give it a chance to see how it works for you, and I'd love to hear from you how that went!