A final look at developing your “Warrior Self’ through yoga’s approach to self-mastery.
As we have grown to understand in previous weeks, we are all – in a very real sense – Warriors for something. The Warrior mentality is directly supported by commitment, purposeful action and a dedication to self-mastery in the service of others. This week we will look at the last four limbs to understand how these practices contribute to the Warrior lifestyle.
Pratyahara: Mastering the senses. The practice of mastering the desires of our physical bodies increases our capacity to make (better) decisions for our lives. This could mean controlling our response when we feel the urge to over eat, spend a copious amount of money on items we don’t truly need, or even the desires of lethargy that hinder us from being productive and effective throughout the day. Learning to control the desires of our mind and body is not an easy task. Satisfying the senses only brings temporary pleasure, but a Warrior finds a happiness in freedom in mastering the mind and senses – and that freedom lasts longer than any temporary joy. We effort in Krav Maga towards a higher, stronger self defense capacity (among other things) by working through what we might otherwise desire for our bodies.
Dharana: The binding of the mind to a single place, object or idea. Concentration is the beginning of meditation, and meditation is the culmination of concentration. However, training the mind to concentrate is not reserved exclusively for meditation, mastering concentration allows one to have a single point focus and ignoring the noise of the mind and/or the world. For example, the Kravist works to fasten their mind, with laser focus, on movements of a self-defense technique and the desired outcome, regardless of the noise or stress associated with a training drill. Concentration requires a constant taming of the mind, bringing an awareness back to a single point when it starts to drift of course, allowing for more productive and directed actions.
Dhyana: Meditation. The seventh limb of yoga, meditation, is built on productive practice of all the other limbs. It involves finding a deeper connection to the mind that allows one to let go of active thoughts and be present. Discovering dhyana is by no means an easy feat, it requires a solid foundation from the other limbs. It is something that must be practiced continuously with full attention, with the entire application of the mind and with full faith in the achievement of present awareness. As a Kravist, you may accidently find this type of concentration and full presence in a violent altercation (or highly charged drill), bringing all your senses and attention into each passing micro-second as you function fully “in the moment.” While fighting is not mediation, the skill of mediation can substantially support your performance during violent altercations and/or dangerous events.
Samadhi: Union or integration. Here we have come full circle and discover the culmination of the other seven limbs – remember the Sanskrit definition of Yoga is “unity” – the unity of our physical and witnessing mind and the integration of those facets with the spirit and the body. Ultimately, this unity is experienced when we are living authentically and in line with our life purpose. This is perhaps, related to your WHY for training in Krav Maga. What are you protecting? What’s worth the fight? How does this connect with your purpose?
As Warriors, we must put attention and intention into daily sharpening of the sword. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals, immerse yourself in activities (such as Krav Maga and Warrior Yoga) that support the development of self-mastery and authenticity, never forget what you’re fighting for, and always appreciate and embrace the journey. I look forward to seeing you on the mat – in Krav Maga and Warrior Yoga classes!