Body of a Warrior, Heart of a Monk


The Origins of Warrior I Pose

We all know Warrior I pose as being the bread and butter of many vinyasa styles and we probably have a fair idea of how to place our body in it, but what are its origins? Knowing the history of the pose will help you embody it more when you practice.

Warrior I Virabhadrasa I pose comes from the Sanskrit work vira. Virameans strong or warrior-like. Another word for strength in Sanskrit is sthira which means strength, stability or steadiness. These qualities will help you feel the power of the pose as you build it from the ground up.

Warrior I was named after Virabhadra the warrior. He was created out of a lock of Shiva’shair in revenge for the death of his loved one Shakti. The story goes like this: The father in law of Shakti, Daksha was so incensed about his daughters marriage to Shiva, he threw a party and didn’t ask Shiva to attend. Shakti was so outraged she threw herself into the fire. Shiva then cut off one of his dreadlocks and threw that onto the fire creating Virabhadra who then promptly stormed the party and cut Daksha’s head off.

Strong men know not despair Arjuna, for this wins them neither heaven nor earth.”

~The Bhagavad Gita

The metaphorical implication is that the pose is about confrontation. In the pose we are called to confront our own bodily, emotional or mental weaknesses. The pose will show you your limitations and you should feel the triumph of your spirit rising against your own limitations.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking to that other people don’t feel insecure around you.”

~Marianne Williamson

The pose calls upon us to exhibit courage and strength. With our arms rising up like swords but our chest open as a symbol of courage as you gaze across your battlefield. Being strong yet open-hearted in the pose will create a balance of will yet surrender, you can feel the strong energy but also embrace the pose without aggression.

Be gentle, yet fearless, next time you are in Warrior I and feel the strength of your body but the heart of a monk.

A Guide for Opening & Connecting

Learn the art of mindfulness and loving kindness — the foundations for living with an open heart — in The Yogi’s Heart, a guide for opening and connecting. For it is only when you approach life from a place of openness can you embody connectedness with all things.


Gabrielle Harris

When I was seven my Grandfather read my palm and said that I had the mark of a teacher on it. For over 15 years I  taught non-native English students from all around the world to speak English.  Teaching has always been part of my life in some form.
During this time I dabbled in yoga like a tourist. Never finding what suited my personality or a teacher that really grabbed my attention. Ever the teacher, I decided what the world needs now is for me to teach yoga and so I launched myself into a teacher training course without really thinking it through. In the first class I asked a question right in the middle of the class. That was the beginning of my ever enquiring thirst for all things yoga.
I think I needed yoga more than it needed me. It felt right on my body to finally connect with a science that encourages gentleness, listening and patience. I became fascinated that there was a whole system that trained the mind and body. Through yoga I learnt not to be so competitive and to enjoy the gift of what I had right here, right now. Yoga made me very present to life. I have become more patient, less judgemental of myself and others and more loving and appreciative of life itself.
I have trained with many wonderful teachers both here and overseas but through a consistent home practice I keep coming back to myself as my own best guide and teacher. I am an avid student and teacher of yoga philosophy which is a set of guidelines to help your live and love your life to the fullest. I enjoy all styles of yoga but in particular I love vinyasa flow and yin.
My philosophy to teaching is this; yoga is the vehicle to help you learn more about who you are. It helps strengthen and heal your body but more importantly it nudges you to wake up to what is important in your life and to gently let go of some of our repetitive thoughts and behaviour patterns that we no longer need. The practice of yoga is the practice of peeling back the layers of your life to reveal your true self.
Follow my writings at: 
Facebook: Halfmoon Yoga: Daily Practices for Inspired Living


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