Warriors, Toads and Poetry

Mallorcan midwife toadMallorcan Midwife Toad (photo credit Wikipedia)

I’m not generally a huge fan of poetry, but love to hear it brought alive by being spoken. One or two reminders about the Wenlock Poetry festival had come to me over the last few days, and as my husband is a lover of poetry, we made a late decision to go along. I was drawn to someone I’d not heard of, David Whyte, with a session advertised as:

Solace: The Art of Asking the Beautiful Question, which went on to say

Each one of us grows into a steadily unfolding story where the horizon gets broader and more mysterious, ………

Intriguing I thought.

We didn’t have tickets, and when we got to the box office were told that the poet my husband wanted to hear (Glyn Maxwell) was sold out, and that they only had one ticket left for David Whyte. Oh no! We could have given up and gone home, but not to be thwarted, we went back to the car to re-group and eat our sandwiches (as you do!). We knew there was another box-office in the town, so walked there to ask. We were told we could get in on the door for Glyn Maxwell, and that the other box office would have the tickets for David Whyte.

So, we were able to enjoy the story behind the ‘Mallorcan Midwife Toad‘ as told by Glyn Maxwell (an award winning British poet and writer) in a tiny Methodist Church, squashed on wooden pews with a scent of lilies in the air.

But what about David Whyte? I didn’t want to give up on the Art of Asking the Beautiful Question, so we walked the half mile back to the first box office, to ask again. (I think my husband was angling for a pint, or at least a cup of tea with a scone). We were hoping to mug someone for their tickets, but didn’t need to as a batch of tickets from the second box office had apparently just been released, and were now available in this box office. As someone who used to work in IT, the idea of juggling paper tickets between two box-offices, (in conjunction with the existence of an online booking system that didn’t appear to come into the equation), seemed quite quaint. Were carrier pigeons used to transport the tickets between box offices, we wondered?

So, was it worth it? Most definitely! An inspiring poet and philosopher with a beautiful voice, leaving you with so many ideas and questions to ponder.

And what has this to do with warriors? As we came home, my husband said that if he’d not been with me, he’d maybe have given up. I’ve been working with warrior postures this week, and am convinced they give me tenacity, determination and perseverance. I also think that through practicing yoga, I’m much more open to and aware of the messages from my intuition leading me to opportunities that enrich and enliven my life.


You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

© David Whyte: Excerpted from SWEET DARKNESS



Transform fear into courage

Warrior yoga posture

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be thinking about the chakras, and working with postures that help to balance each of these energy centres. At the University, where I teach yoga, a stressful few weeks are approaching as students prepare for final assessments, and staff are busy too. Each of the chakras is associated with different qualities, such as confidence, all of which can help to get us through stressful, busy or difficult times in our lives.

We’re beginning with the root chakra, Mooladhara, which is located at the very base of the spine. When in balance, this gives you a sense of security, of being grounded and having the courage to face life’s challenges. The warrior postures (Virabhadrasana) work on this energy centre at the base of the spine, inspiring us to be strong in body and mind. Good postures to practice if you need to boost your confidence before an exam or presentation, and done regularly will make you stronger, more resilient and less fearful.

“Fear would have you never leave the house, or turn on a lamp, or be in love or have a pet, or go for a drive in the country… Fear would seal you away and demand that you listen all the time or something terrible will happen. Fears lie. …. Your fears are not larger than you are…”  ~ SARK – Living Juicy.

F – False

E – Evidence

A – Appearing

R – Real

Flow like a river

Flowing river
The warrior of light sometimes behaves like water, flowing around the obstacles he encounters.Occasionally, resisting might mean being destroyed, and so he adapts to the circumstances. He accepts without complaint that the stones along the path hinder his way across the mountains.Therein lies the strength of water: it cannot be shattered by a hammer or wounded by a knife. The strongest sword in the world cannot scar its surface.

The waters of a river adapt themselves to whatever route proves possible, but the river never forgets its one objective: the sea. So fragile at its source, it gradually gathers the strength of the other rivers it encounters.

And, after a certain point, its power is absolute.

From Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho

Yoga encourages us to go with the flow and be flexible. Sometimes, when you’re stiff you might try and push yourself into a posture, which invariably doesn’t work. If you accept, relax and breathe into the stretch, you’ll find the stiffness starts to melt away, little by little, working gently with your body. And if the tightness in your body remains, accept that, work around it and develop your own inner strength to find the stillness and peace within you.
In Dru yoga, we work with the flowing warrior posture to develop that inner strength and use it so we can help others.

Developing strength

: physical, mental and emotional

Words for yogaIt’s springtime, and we’re harnessing the energy of the season to invigorate and revitalise. We’re working with strengthening poses, such as the warriors, tiger, cobra. All help to develop physical strength, particularly of the core and back muscles. They also help to develop the qualities of courage, determination and endurance.

If you don’t find them easy, they can teach you something about yourself. We often need a challenge in order to recognise and appreciate our strength. “Yoga practice is like an obstacle race: many obstacles are purposely put on the way for us to pass through”.1 This can be true on the yoga mat and in life. That moment when you think ‘I didn’t think I could do that’.  The challenges are presented to us to help us to develop and grow. Often the poses we find most difficult are the ones that teach us most about ourselves. Challenging situations in life are similar.

1 Swami Satchidananda in Georg Feuerstein’s Yoga Gems